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Paul Turner: Game of Thrones, Bloomsday and Hoopfest share similarities

April 16, 2019

Long before there were people who resented HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” there were those right here in River City who held a grudge against Bloomsday and Hoopfest.

Why? And what does one have to do with the other? Well, I have a theory.

It has to do with people seemingly assuming their interests and enthusiasms are universally shared. They aren’t, of course. But sometimes hearing more than you care to about others’ passions can get on your nerves.

It’s sort of like being constantly reminded that there’s this big club out there and, oh, by the way, you aren’t a member.

Now you might think it would be easy enough to simply ignore other people’s leisure obsessions. You know, live and let live. But we are a society of individuals who like to rise up and be counted. And sometimes that impulse expresses itself by loudly proclaiming that you stand apart from the herd.

In the case of “Game of Thrones,” which began its final season Sunday night, this was abundantly apparent as all sorts of anti-GOT sentiment could be found online over the weekend. Moreover, it wasn’t enough for bashers of the show to merely declare their pointed lack of interest. They also, in some instances, felt it necessary to claim – not so subtly – personal superiority for having made that choice.

As in a dismissive, “I have better things to do with my time.”

(Insert indignant sniff here.)

Longtime Spokane residents have seen this before.

For decades, I have been hearing from grumblers who wanted it known that they found Bloomsday or Hoopfest utterly resistible. And those outdoor annuals don’t usually involve murder or dragons.

I’m not sure that it’s the events themselves that prompt a backlash, but rather the tendency on the part of certain participants imbued with evangelical zeal to engage in a bit of off-putting self-glorification.

But really, anything that achieves a degree of popularity is going to have its critics. It’s just the nature of things. Isn’t it?

If the object of your spare-time devotion does not have naysayers, it’s probably not really a success.

Accidental tourist

Do you ever find yourself in parts of the Spokane area that you seldom visit and feel like you are in a different city?

One of my favorite contexts for experiencing this sensation involves stopping in grocery stores I’ve not been in.

Now, I know what you are thinking. Aren’t all grocery stores pretty much the same? Maybe. But the little differences make them distinct.

I recently ducked into a store just north of the river, across from downtown. I was impressed. I liked the way it looked and smelled.

At first, it felt like I was on vacation in another state. But I’ve already been back again and now my mental pictures from inside that store are part of my “seen in Spokane” file.

Yelling at bicyclists

I offer this as a public service.

If you are a motorist who occasionally shouts at Spokane cyclists on the road, you probably ought to be aware of something.

There is a good chance the bike rider cannot understand what you are saying. So please speak slowly and enunciate your words carefully.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a driver yell at me and found myself frustrated by my inability to understand what was said.

Was it some sort of encouragement as I was lumbering up the South Hill?

An expression of admiration for my shoes?

Was it loud praise for my active support of transportation diversity?

I would like to know. But I can’t tell because things yelled from a car or truck often just sound like “Hey Podnar, ragamuffin try our corned bleen!”

Anyway, thanks for the thoughts.

End note

This summer marks 50 years since the release of “Easy Rider.”

That was a long time ago. You can’t really assume someone will get references to that landmark movie in 2019. But I can’t help wondering:

Ever watched “Easy Rider” and tried to count the number of times the characters say “man”?

Do motorcyclists in the Inland Northwest worry about real-life incidents along the lines of the ending of that movie?

When you moved to Spokane, were you surprised to find that some of those with pretensions of counterculture cred played golf?

Besides the prevalence of guns, what’s the difference between communal living as depicted in “Easy Rider” and off-the-grid backcountry co-housing of today?

Would your life be cooler if the “Easy Rider” soundtrack was playing in the background?

Columnist Paul Turner can be reached at srpaulturner@gmail.com.

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