Mother Jones’ Portlandia Cameo

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When I was growing up in the Portland suburbs, the city was pretty much like it is now: a bunch of hyperliterate nerds wearing flannel and Doc Martens, riding their bicycles to go read in coffeeshops because it was too freaking cold/rainy/depressing to do anything else. The city is still largely the same: when I visited for Christmas, I ate lunch in a cafe across from the city’s public library, and there were more people there than at Macy’s. After that I went to Powell’s, the city’s Jurassic Park-sized independent bookstore, which had a checkout line an hour-long. So yeah, it would be fair to say Portlanders like to read.

The new IFC television series Portlandia gets the city’s reading addiction right, and a recent promo even mentioned Mother Jones. In the clip below, two Portlanders start checking each other’s literary chops. It starts off easy, with the softball question: “Did you read that thing in the New Yorker last month about golf being an analogy for marriage?” Then it starts to get tougher, name-dropping McSweeney’s and Mother Jones. “Did you read that thing in Mother Jones about eco-chairs and eco-ways to sit?”

I’m glad the show’s writers associate Mother Jones with environmental coverage, because we do make it a priority. But eco-ways to sit? Okay, okay, we get it, you think we’re a bunch of hippies. Well, I’ll have you know I went to Starbucks this morning, and I felt only the briefest flash of guilt when I realized I’d forgotten my reusable ceramic travel cup. But then again, I am typing this blog post on a biodegradable corn-plastic computer powered by the sun during the day and gases from organic compost at night.

After the Mother Jones mention, the “did you read?” questions fly fast and heavy. SpinWall Street Journal? BoingBoing? Oh yeah? What about Willamette WeekSF Weekly? The Seattle Stranger? It’s well worth 113 seconds. Portlandia starts January 21, but I don’t know if I’ll have time to watch it. I might be busy reading.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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