Defending Bremerton’s Honor

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When a stranger insults your mom, there might be a fight.
When it’s your brother insulting your mother, you give leeway.

In this case, the insults came from a stranger, so that means there is a going to be a fight.

Keep that in mind, and bite your lip, Bremerton Beat, hike up your highwaters and brush your tooth, because we are taking a condescending tour of how our betters see us.

This comes from a blog, “A Vivid and Continuous Dream,” which seems to focus on pets. You know, animals that you’re not supposed to eat unless real hungry?

Our Tocqueville has made Bremerton the hometown of a “main character” of hers. She’s writing a novel, or an opera. I’m not sure, really. Maybe it’s an operatic novel.

Bremerton was much like I imagined it to be, at least his neighborhood; very drab and filled with bleak, nondescript ramblers with overgrown lawns and old faded curtains in the windows and peeling paint. Almost exactly the way I pictured it, in fact.

Initially I was tempted to write a blog post that began:

“A Vivid and Continuous Dream was much like I imagined it to be, very drab and and filled with bleak, nondescript ramblings with an overgrown ego.” I would make several references to misplaced priorities and our society’s increasing dependence on psychiatric medications. But no, I thought, that would be immature. And fun.

But wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. At least this person made the effort to confirm what she already believed to be true.

Instead, I tried to put myself in the blogger’s shoes: what’s the use of getting to know a place that doesn’t have a yoga studio, or where people work for a living and spend their money on food, clothing, grape Swishers and 40 ouncers instead of IKEA drapes and custom Martha Stewart colors? Isn’t it easier to imagine the world outside Wallingford (I don’t know if she lives in Seattle, or even in Washington state) as a vague yet continuous sprawl of unwashed masses who don’t know what “vegetarian alternative” means? What an earthy, authentic place for a “main character’s” hometown.

What we’re talking about is class. Money. And on its route to that goal of “revitalization,” Bremerton will likely confront more of this kind of prejudice. In fact, guessing from the slogan out of the mayor’s office, “It’s not about out past. It’s about our future – don’t miss it,” the powers that be are more than aware.

It’s a two-headed hydra, however. Consider this story, in Washington CEO, previously commented upon in these pages, which takes a purist (shall we say?) position and compares Bremerton to Oakland, Harlem and Compton. I guess because if you are poor, you must be black.

Our town wants the bucks and the energy of a wealthier population. However, many of those people, and their followers, have already made up their minds about us. Not because we are Bremerton, but because we aren’t Fremont.

7 thoughts on “Defending Bremerton’s Honor

  1. “11:02 pm May 15th, 2008


    I live in a town that has a VIKING FEST.”

    Poulsbo, our little authoress is from Poulsbo!
    So much classier than Bremerton.

  2. Sorry Andrew, before I read the rest of your post, I went to her site and unfortunately did the immature but fun thing. It went something like this…

    Your blog was much like I imagined it to be, at least this post; very drab and filled with bleak, nondescript ramblings about dogs with overgrown ears, and old faded cliches and unappealing pets. Almost exactly the way I pictured it, in fact.

    Funny how a need for parody cried out so strongly, isn’t it?

    Seems our little authoress can dish it out, but not take it as my post was almost immediately erased.

  3. Binion here:

    And that’s how we roll at the Bremerton Beat. We’re pugnacious.

    However, in the blogger’s defense, and I should have said this in the main entry, she’s right.

    Her description is dead on. For at least my street.

    I guess what ruffles feathers is the whole ‘she got what she expected.’ She imagined a dreary, wretched place, and that’s what she found. And she didn’t show any love or curiosity. If she had wondered how growing up in this place with unstylish curtains and peeling paint would affect a person, her novel’s character, it wouldn’t have come off as so condescending.

    It was a little like the author of “Twilight,” the teeny-bopper vampire book, who wanted to set her story in a rainy, depressing town, so she picked Forks. Sure, Forks is rainy and depressing, but like Bremerton, it’s a lot more than that. The lack of curiosity really comes across as condescending.

    Oh, and again, in the blogger’s defense, she probably keeps the blog for friends and family. Gardner pointed that out to me, and I felt guilty. She sounds like a nice, good, smart person. I hope she has a sense of humor and will drop us a line.

  4. I guess I am a little defensive. I remember the first time a friend from Seattle visited here, his reaction when he got off the ferry is “you live in hell!”. At the time He was sharing a single bedroom apt on Madison Ave with a curtain for the kitchen wall at $700.00 a month, while I rented my own house with big fenced yard and dog for only $250.00. I Guess it really does depend on your definition of hell and what you want from life.

    That said, I do think she deserved the little bit of parody I threw at her. Not everyone thinks Poulsbo is so wonderful, (I grew up there and am a proud recipient of a K-12 North Kitsap education.) There are plenty of faded curtains and peeling paint there as well. I think as you pointed out it just depends on what you want to find. She wanted Bremerton to be depressing so it is. It fits her story. She wants Poulsbo or San Francisco or whever she is living to be wonderful ( I did read more of her blog) and so it is. It fits her story. Something we are all probably guilty of to some degree. However, when you put it out there on paper, or in the blogospere as the case may be, you should be able to take the criticism. I maintain it was cowardly of her to remove my post.

  5. Yes, those of us that work here in Poulsbo everyday fondly call it the “pretend town”. With its pretend main street (Front Street) with its pretend store front exteriors, filled with people who pretend to eat or shop at businesses that are pretending to be trendy. Where everyone crosses the street wherever they feel like it regardless of the fact that a marked crosswalk is just feet from their current location. Many of us here at the office feel that it is not bad judgment on the part of the individual but the evil pastry or donut boxes fault for this. The pastry or donut box that everyone on Front Street carries when walking is blocking their view of the ground so they have to pretend they know where they are going. While I pretend not to see their comical actions.

  6. Well … I’m not sure about the ‘pretend town’ of Poulsbo …

    I am sure about the people living there…people that can be described as the flip side of ‘pretend’…about as real as people can get.

    “…very drab and filled with bleak, nondescript ramblers with overgrown lawns and old faded curtains in the windows and peeling paint. Almost exactly the way I pictured it, in fact….”

    ‘filled with ramblers’ …?
    not the Bremerton I know and love. Most are the wonderful old two story homes or one story and basement.
    Its too bad she never saw the bustling, vibrant town and vital people… as I still see it.

    And I’ve not seen curtains at the windows. Not old and faded. Not new and unfaded either…

    If beauty is in the eye of the beholder …pity the Bremerton person she meets and describes. 🙂
    Sharon O’Hara

  7. If Bremerton is supposedly full of thriving businesses, why are there so many empty buildings and homeless people here? Thinking a lot of my fellow Bremerton residents are in serious denial.

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