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:
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.
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.