Monday, March 26, 2007


This post isn't about cheese. I lured you here under false pretenses. I'm tricksy like that.

I'll post some pictures of our little jaunt to Hood River anon. Anon means later. So don't expect them right away. I have a lot of work to catch up on.

Oregon is an interesting place. A lot of equally eclectic and soulless businesses have sprung from our moist earth like Nike, Norm Thompson, Harry and David, MercyCorp, etc. We've housed Will Vinton Studios which used to be a mecca for claymation (see The California Raisins). Goonies was filmed here, as was Stand By Me, Kindergarten Cop (I KNOW!) and My Own Private Idaho. Speaking of which...Oregon is the reason the world is graced with Gus Van Sant and WAS graced with the glorious face of River Phoenix (bro Joaquin is just as hot but in an uglier way).

It is also...and most importantly...the birthplace of The Simpsons (in the form of its creator). Elliot Smith (sigh) lived here and wrote songs about the Rose Parade...Chuck Palahniuk gave us Fight Club and the fucked up house on Clinton St. with mannequin arms sticking out the windows. We have more breweries and wineries than you can shake a stick at...and I can shake a lot of sticks.

We also have salmon...salmon falling out of the sky and landing...grilled...upon our hungry little laps.

And if you have can smoke pot.

And if you don't have cancer...I'm still relatively certain you can find pot.

And if you're gonna die anyway, you can choose to euthanize your sick self...which is have the option.

And Portland is a geographical marvel in that you travel a couple hours in any direction and you can be on a beach, a volcano, in the high desert, in a green valley filled with vineyards, or in a forest with fairyland waterfalls filled with the awe-inspired laughter and flash clicks of little Japanese tourists.

It sounds like a pretty neat place, right? So why don't I like it here?

This is why.

Companies like Nau.

Nau is a clothing company that has started here in Portland that is trying to...well, let me just quote the site, "blend beauty, performance and sustainability and a business that blends philanthropy and commerce". Yep. I couldn't have said it better myself.

So I hear about it here and work...and then I hear about it on the radio and I think...hmmm, I bet they're full of shit. So I go to the website. Yep. Full of shit. And I'll tell you why; it's a valiant goal...but none of those things go together. They just don't. It's like turducken, you know? They're taking altruism and environmentalism and turning it for a profit to rich...and colorblind people.

Take this dress. This is a nice, simple dress. But $138??? And it only comes in one color? Now, I like the environment as much as the next gal...and this dress has some very cute qualities. But give me a fucking break. No one is going to
pay this. Well, let me rephrase one is going to pay this and then go do roundhouse kicks in it. AND by titling it as such...this enviro-friendly garment is promoting violence. Tisk tisk.

And look at this shirt. Magic door or no, $55 is ridiculous. For $55, this thing better be hand-sewn by wood nymphs. Look at it! It's like somebody spilled coffee on it and then when they couldn't wash out the stain, they were all...'hey, this shit looks cool. I could charge a lot for I'm going to go knife the homeless'.

This woman just discovered how much this "base layer meets light sweater" costs. She's stunned. But it's better as it has THREE colors to choose from...charcoal, olive and sea. That's right...the three well-known shades of depression. What better shades to sell in the Pacific Northwest where grey paints the skies from October to June. Reeeeeal smart. And the seams are "curved to reflect the organic nature of your human form". So according to Nau, there's "literally" organic and there's "figuratively" organic. Both succeed in enhancing moral superiority.

You might be wondering where I'm going with all of this. Well, I'm wondering too. But I think I'm trying to point out that while this state has a lot of progressive things going for it...there's a veneer of hypocrisy that I find hard to stomach. We rave about our recycling as we toss paper cup after paper cup from Starbucks into the trash cans. We have "organic clothing" stores in the most exclusive (and I mean that in the most non-inclusive way) and expensive section of town, and we have more earth-loving hippies driving gas-guzzling, fume seeping Volkswagen buses of anywhere I've ever seen.

This clothing company Nau is the perfect example for why this city doesn't sit well with me on a regular basis. That being time I go to Starbucks, I'll probably still throw away my cup. But at least I won't be doing it in a $140 roundhouse, charcoal dress made by wood nymphs. All hail hypocrisy.

24 keep(s) me blogging:

Jen said...

But what about the cheese?

apterix55 said...

Tillamook... Yup, OREGON cheeze. That, and "Death with Dignity"; those two alone make it worth living here (well, one of them, anyway).

thethinker said...

Kindergarten Cop? Really?! I LOVE that movie! Stand By Me was pretty good too.

So, what's this I hear about cheese?

Devon said...

We have that stuff too. In fact we've got nothing BUT pseudo-environmentalist-yuppie-fuckers here.

At least in Portland it was a little easier to walk down the street and run into someone who you didn't immediately want to punch in the neck. Here it's nothing but neck punching, all day long. I grow weary from it.

Kellie said...

Two comments in less than a week! I think I try not to read your blog so that when I see you I won't already know your latest stories. But here I am reading it. I fear that we'll one day all have blogs and eliminate the need for personal contact altogether.

But, I had to respond b/c this weekend I read an article in the Mercury about this company and checked out their web site. The corporate hippie that I am, I have to admit, I thought one of their jackets was pretty cute. But when I saw that shirt (the same one that you posted), I thought they were ripping off spraygraphic's t-shirts...which are similar, but much cheaper.

The Future said...

Obviously you can't call something cheese and then not talk about left all of us feeling incomplete. Unless you were referring to cheesy clothes, cheesy weather, cheesy Starbucks, CHEESE PUHLEEZ!

Kara said...

Jen - Oregon has good cheese, too. There.

apterix - i wholheartedly agree AND disagree with you.

thinker - you get excited about Kindergarten Cop and NOT about Goonies??? Oh my are of a different generation all together.

devina - i know it's hard for you to restrain yourself at times, but i believe you do so admirably. that's why you're my hero. that's why.

kellie - i LOVE that you comment! you should do it more often on account a you rock! and yeah...part of me actually wants that roundhouse dress. stupid expensive dress.

future - the cheese is implied!

Jill said...

Their website is a pain in the ass too, if you were to want to buy (or even look at) one of their $140 roundhouse charcoal dresses. The graphics to merchandise ratio is way too big. Maybe that's why everything is over-priced. Web designers don't work cheap.

Trust me, Nau people. Online shoppers are not interested in how clever your web designer is. Calm it down a little.

Niall said...

I would never date the "roundhouse dress" and "magic door t" model - they're the same person, but more than that she has two different types of smiles with which she clearly feels completely comfortable! And look how her body falls - in the the dress picture she's kind of leaning to her left, but in the other one she's sloughing to the right. You simply couldn't trust her. I mean I bet she's the "base3 long sleeve zip" model too! That's how good she is. However, she does have a shoulder thing going on. Left shoulder up and right down. She's weird. I don't think we'd get on anyway. It's best that we will never meet.

Meh. They've gotta make a living somehow. I just hope they feel bad by doing it. I wonder if they survive my making this new generation of clothing. I just hope it's as exciting as the next generation in phones, television, computers and internet in one comfortable, trendy experience.

froelica said...

That was truly cruel of you. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the title of this post.

Sarah said...

Genius. That is all. You just described all of the NW 23rd shops.

Kara said...

Jill - if only they'd listen. the bastards.

niall - well...prospective dates of Ireland and beyond beware, right? you tiger, you.

fro - i was originally going to write about cheese...and then a whole day passed and i forgot what i was even going to there you have it. it's all title-changing laziness.

sarah - yep. and kansas lives up there so i have to actually GO there occasionally. shudder.

AxAtlas said...

Do ya know if they're hiring? Not for a job as a model...although I did do some JC Penny's modeling when I was 6 (my collar was never popped in those pics btw).

Niall said...

Why yes, I am a tiger!

Kara said...

ax - Well, you could pop on over to their easy-to-use site and search for jobs there. Good luck with that.

niall - you forgot to roar.

Niall, the tiger said...


Bet you're regretting it now!!!

AxAtlas said...

You SO know that was a joke! I'm not backpedalling.

Laura said...

I don't care how many wood nymphs were involved in its creation, I'm not paying $140 for a dress that looks like it was made from recycled umbrella material. Although I'm sure it repels rain quite nicely.

And I agree also with my fellow commenters that you now owe us a blog post that's actually about cheese... Grommit. (I had to.)

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Ojai is the same place just a few hundred miles south. The difference is people do actually pay Monopoly money prices for their worsted hemp casual-wear with humanely shaved yak-hair accessories. They're all over, and are any of them driving a Prius? No they're in these cuhyootsie wee VW buses and I have to sit behind them at traffic lights, barely able to read their "Mother Earth Is Crying!" car stickers for their belching black exhaust smoke. But that's OK because they have a daisy painted on the side of thehir bewheel-ed sin bin.

Bah! Makes my liver quiver in rage, so it does.

Jolly good post, by the way. I'm all angry now though. Who can i write a stiffly worded letter to, about something or another?

slaghammer said...

The girl in the Base3 Long Sleeve, I recognize that facial expression. It is exactly what I do when I’m…relieving myself, not the good kind either but the other kind. Do they sell space diapers too? That would explain it.

Kara said...

laura - that's just what we need in this wear grey umbrella dresses

sam - i suggest you try to navigate that highly user-friendly site for contact info and write away...only DON'T reference this could get me fired...that's all i'm going to say.

slag - if they do, they'll only come in one color.

by the by...i read your other was like 'slag day' in my gmail inbox. boy were YOU behind on things. and no...Kansas is most assuredly NOT my relation. i have NO connections to Kansas (state) whatsoever.

slaghammer said...

So then you noticed that my comment in your “Doin’ it For the D” was twenty eight words and not twenty seven.

Annoyed Cynic said...

I am in LOVE! You nailed what it is I am feeling towards this city lately, the undefined hostility I have for the posturing and garbage masquerading as social consciousness! I stumbled upon this blog in searching for info on the new obnoxious, green-washing, We're-not-like-the-other-greedy-capitalists Portland businesses. I had just read the story about them in the Oregonian. I loved the "corporate sustainability" hack who was tap dancing with the doubletalk when trying to justify paying their Chinese slave laborers shit wages.

What C-R-A-P. Not only is their website a pretensious MESS, their whole story is so blatantly pandering. Click on "who we are" and you get "We're a small group of people committed to the power of business as a force of change..." Oh PUHLEEZE! A small group of people with 24 million bucks selling over-priced clothing produced by children chained to tables. Or perhaps by Chinese inmates before their organs are harvested for the rich.

Will they make it? NAU.

Kara said...

slag - i don't have that kind of time. i'll reserve it for the ocd portion of your personality that appears to be rearing it's ugly head. well, maybe it's a nice looking head. maybe it's not even a head...maybe it's just an arm...unless the arm was taken in Nam, in which case it's now just a nubbin. Yes, I've been drinking.

annoyed cynic - welcome to my den of loathing! good to know that when the nau people google their company, this posting shows up...i'll start looking for jobs immediately. damnit.