The James G. Blaine Society


Memory is a tricky thing. As you get older, you become increasingly suspicious of your recollections. But in the video tape recorder in WC’s mind, the last news item on CBS one night in 1970 or 1971 went something like this:

Scene: Reporter and Interviewee huddled under umbrellas in furious rain storm, standing ankle-deep in water. It’s coming down so hard the umbrellas are threatening to collapse.

Reporter: “Does it always rain like this in Oregon?”

Interviewee: “Is it raining? Yeah, I guess there’s a drizzle.”

Reporter: “Does it rain like this all the time?”

Interviewee: “We had a good summer last year. It came on a Sunday so lots of people got to enjoy it.”

Reporter: “I’m speaking with Ron Abell, the spokesman for the James G. Blaine Society. Can you tell me what the James G. Blaine Society does, Ron?”

Camera begins to slowly pull back, showing more of the scene.

Abell: “The Society thinks that folks wanting to move to Oregon need to know what it’s really like. They see a pretty photo on a rare sunny day and they think that’s normal.”

Reporter: “Why the James G. Blaine Society?

Abell: “We’re named after James G. Blaine, a U.S. representative and senator from Maine. He ran for president several times, but he never visited Oregon. In fact, during his 1884 presidential campaign, Blaine visited every state in the union except Oregon. We named the Society in Blaine’s honor to encourage others to follow his example of avoiding Oregon.”

Reporter: “What’s the purpose of your Society?”

Abell: “We try to discourage people from immigrating to Oregon.”

Reporter: “Is it true that your Society distributes bumperstickers saying, ‘Don’t Claifornicate Oregon'”?

Camera continues to slowly pull back, showing more the scene. It now shows there is a low wall around the interview.

Abell: “That’s not an official Society bumpersticker. That’s something Ralph Friedman did on his own.”

Reporter: “And the Oregon Un-greeting Cards?”

Abell: “The Society licenses those. A guy in Eugene makes them. The Society gets a royalty.”

Reporter: “Is Governor Tom McCall a member of your Society? He’s said he doesn’t want folks moving to Oregon.”

Abell: “Nah. We wanted to make him an honorary member but he won’t return our telephone calls.”

Reporter: “How long is it going to rain like this?

Abell: “Don’t worry; it will switch to snow in a week or two.”

The camera has pulled back enough to reveal the interview has been conducted in a large fountain in downtown Portland. It’s a beautiful day, under brilliant, cloudless skies.

Reporter: “Reporting from Portland, Oregon, this is . . .”

On the videotape in WC’s mind, it was all brilliantly done. Maybe a reader saw the featurette also? Or maybe the video player of recollection is just making stuff up?



3 thoughts on “The James G. Blaine Society

  1. This reminds me of some acquaintances in Homer AK, who some years back formed a group called Folks Against Rampant Tourism (FART). They purchased an old motor home and would park it at various summer events and festivals. Then they would sell tickets for $10 which allowed the ticket holder to hit the motor home with a sledge hammer. Needless to say, the City of Homer didn’t find it amusing.

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