#KeepPortlandWeird right guys?
Oh my gosh, you’re going to Portland? I love that place! It’s so cool and quirky. Have you seen Saturday’s Market? Have you been to Powell’s? What about that little tiny park or the Crystal Ballroom or Multnomah Falls or Alberta Street! Timbers! Coffee! GAAA! OMG YOU HAVE TO GO TO VOODOO DOUGHNUTS!!!!
Ugh. First of all, it’s not very good. I know a half dozen places in Los Angeles and a few in San Francisco that have much better donuts. Second of all, it’s not the mainstay that people think it is. Idiots act like Portland didn’t exist before Voodoo or at least Portland culture didn’t exist before this place. It is very often the first thing out of people’s mouths when they visit Portland. It’s like how Californians are with In-N-Out. Except In-N-Out is awesome.
Voodoo was started in 2003, guys. It’s not exactly a Portland institution. In fact, its market (until the granolas/hipsters/idiots moved in and showed how fucking desperate they were for uniqueness) was providing drunk food for the club goers and bar hoppers in the area. It was a tiny, hole-in-the-wall bakery that few people who didn’t frequent the immediate area even knew about. The atmosphere was dark and seedy and the employees were surly, tatted, pierced, and perhaps drunk or high. Now moronic families from the suburbs take the MAX downtown just so they can Instagram a picture of these stupid donuts.
For those who lack reading comprehension, I prepared a chart to illustrate Voodoo’s history.
(don’t be surprised at the 2008 point. i can blame obama for anything.)
I think that’s what bothers me the most. I hit on it earlier. It’s that Voodoo has become much more than it should be for no other reason than people are desperate for some form of identity, no matter how contrived or inauthentic. It’s like the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. It’s not actually a cultural icon because real cultural icons are created organically. The Hollywood sign was created with the purpose of being an icon. I’m not saying Voodoo was created for that purpose, but I am saying this new breed of Portlander hijacked it for that purpose.
There is one thing, though, that I actually like about the Voodoo Doughnuts craze. It’s an instant way to tell how long someone has lived in Portland and how big of sucker they are for groupthink. If someone tells you how awesome Voodoo Donuts is, they either A) have lived in Portland under 5 years or B) are a tourist who got their information from person A. *
Now this whole rant comes with a caveat: I do not fault the owners one bit for cashing in. Sure, your shop lost its soul and once had the potential to grow into something special, but you know what? Screw that. You know what’s cooler than owning a tiny little quirky shop? Money. Straight cash, homie. If hipsters are so desperate for nostalgia and meaningful experiences that they’ll take any goofy shop and elevate it to the status of local icon, why on earth should you not cash in on their childish fantasies? HAHAHA, that whole city has turned into a playpen for grown-ups.
* And by the way, HuffPo writer who has “lived in Portland for about a year now,” real Portlanders do not use umbrellas. Only idiots from California who move up and declare themselves Oregonians use umbrellas. Cripes, you guys couldn’t find a writer who’s lived there for more than a fucking year?