I’ve been burning annual leave for the last week, so in addition to Christmas, I’ve been thinking longer about things that I usually spare just a bit of time for.

One if the phrase “hippest town in the West,” which has cursed Olympia since it was written by Benjamin Nugent almost eight years ago.

A few facts:

1. Ben wasn’t compiling a list of hip western towns, on which list Olympia came first. This wasn’t like the most livable cities list or the most reading cities. This was almost a throw-away article about Sleater Kinney and the indi-rock scene in Olympia. This isn’t a scene that I know much about, by the way.

2. Also, Olympia took this label seriously. So much so that God sent an earthquake seven months later, destroying many a hip thing in Olympia. That’s not actually true, though God does disprove of Olympia taking itself too seriously.

But, that’s the point, isn’t it? We take this label too damn seriously today. And, as soon as you start taking a label of hip seriously, does it now make you unhip?

Some various links of people taking the label seriously:
I use it here.
Bad Nazis can’t come to the hippest town in the West, can they?

The most extreme example I can think of this is The Sitting Duck, the local version of an alternative newspaper, which from my memory came around about the time Ben made his proclamation. They feature a tag line at the top of each paper, which today is “featuring the bubbliest writers in the West.” I’m not sure if they’re sinning by taking the hippest label to seriously or not seriously enough, therefore taking it seriously.

Basically, what I’m saying is that by the summer of 2010 I’d like to see Olympia forget about being the hippest town in the West. Ten years is enough and over a year and a half is enough time for us to prepare to stop using the phrase.

Also, by now, eight years after the fact, I’m sure some other town has usurped us in hipness.