History, politics, people of Oly WA

Stop Josh Feit before he ruins Oly

I’ve been quiet throughout most of the legislative session about the cruel metonymy of Olympia.

While I’ll probably never be able to stop reporters, bloggers, pundits and conservative politicians from using the term “Olympia” to signify “state government” or rather “everything I hate about state government,” Feit of the Stranger has gone too far.

In recent posts on Slog, Feit has started to use the shortened “Oly” when talking about state capital campus goings-ons:

Oly Update: Take Heart Carless in Seattle
Oly Action
Oly Inaction

I’m sure you’d say: sure, Feit writes for the Stranger, so it could be assumed that he’d use the hipper, shorter “Oly” when writing about state politics.

Hell no!

Olympia is not Oly.

Olympia is the capital of the state of Washington, identifiable on maps in classrooms and travel lodges nationwide. It is a city that every elementary school kid memorizes (do they still do that?) as a state capital of a state near the end of the list of states. It was the first state capital and through a hard fight with Yakima and Ellensburg, stayed the state capital. Now we have fancy greek type buildings on a hill. It is home to state agencies, even the ones that are in Tacoma. And, for a couple months or so every winter, we’re home to folks like Josh Feit, though we actually try hard to ignore them.

Oly is a hometown, its where a lot of us are from. Though, tons of us are not from here (I’m from here, btw), the transplants will defend Oly with the fervor of a converted Catholic. Oly’s connection to Olympia is that we have some activists and many of us feed at the public trough. But, Oly as Oly has more to do with Evergreen, Lakefair, the house that Kurt Cobain lived in, and the Spaghetti Bowl. And the wood bat tournament. Oly is Oly in relation to Tumwater (Scumwater) and Lacey Sucks.

While I’d rather people use terms like “state government” or “the state legislature” when they’d rather be lazy and say “Olympia,” using the term “Oly” is entirely unacceptable. Please stop.


  1. Ken Camp

    Oly is beer.

  2. JC

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Emmett

    Argggg… Its not Oly I have a problem with. Its the Oly=state government I have a problem with.

    Say Oly until your blue in the face. OlyOlyOlyOlyOly.

    Just don’t let it become like Olympia=state government.

  4. artistdogboy

    “It’s the water” When I was a teenager in the early sixties we it was popular to drink Olympia Beer.

    On the back of the label on the bottles there existed a series of black dots. One dot up to four dots.(In real life they apparently indicated the vat the contents of the bottle came from or at least that was the mythology)

    To us hormonally challenged teens they represented different levels of sexual activity. One dot was heavy petting two getting your girlfriends bra off and so on.

    So a “four dotter”, as it was called, was the ultimate prize. The idea was to get your girl to sign the label which would indicate how far she’d be willing to “go”.

    Rather dumb sounding now but it was a widespread thing then with teens.

    The use of the term “Oly” conjured this up, sorry.

  5. Anonymous

    The Oly four dot was the holy grail of adolescence when growing up in the NW. I was given one of these precious gems as a sixth grade boy and a girl signed it! I still have my un redeemed

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