Thursday, April 2, 2009

Brits Get Uptight Over Oregon Comparison

The Brits - some of them, anyway - have their panties in a bunch over a comparison between their tight little island and Oregon.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 9:54 AM

The Brits - some of them, anyway - have their panties in a bunch over a comparison between their tight little island and Oregon.

It seems a press briefing kit handed out to reporters accompanying President and First Lady Obama on their trip to Great Britain described it as "slightly smaller than Oregon." Which it is - about 93,000 square miles to Oregon's 98,000.

But when Toby Harnden of The Telegraph pointed this out in a blog post, some of his readers got snippy.

The press kit was "probably written by a couple of Googling twits in a back room of the WH who have never travelled further than Tijuana for the benefit of a press corps that has almost certainly travelled extensively in the course of their work. Priceless," wrote one under the handle of "Expat in the USA."

"Would that be the Oregon basically grabbed from the British in 1846 by a bunch of sabre-rattling Yanks during their big 'Land Grab' known as Manifest Destiny?" sneered "Nick R."

Harnden seemed to think a comparison on the basis of population - roughly 3.7 million people in Oregon vs. 61 million in the UK - would have been more valid. Anyway, it would have made Britain look more impressive.

But Harnden and his readers should be grateful that the White House didn't hire The Wandering Eye to write the briefing book. If it had, it probably would have said something like: "Great Britain is an island off the west coast of Europe known for its soggy climate, excellent beer, inedible cuisine and poor dental hygiene."

Speaking of soggy climates, not just one but two bloggers at The Oregonian - Katy Muldoon and Jeff Mapes - took note of the dust-up over the Oregon/Britain comparison and commented that both places were famous for their cloudy, drizzly weather.

Which, of course, is bogus: Only the western third of Oregon "enjoys" a British climate. Just one more bit of evidence that to Portlanders, "Oregon" stops at the crest of the Cascades.

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