October 1st, 2007 5:33 pm | by Paige Richmond Music | Posted In: Columns, Columns, Columns

Dear You: More like "Wack-ipedia"

wkipdia01 This is the first installment of brand new LocalCutter Paige Richmond's open-letter column Dear You, which will run every Monday on LocalCut.

Wikipedia, you know nothing about Portland's music scene. I mean, I understand you are not the expert source on pop culture that I like to believe you are, since pretty much anyone can edit you and pay no consequences for falsifying information. But something needs to be done about your understanding of Portland music.

Let's just start with what you know about Oregon's music in general. Here are the first two sentences from your article about the “Music of Oregon,” since you clearly have not read them yourself:

Oregon's music scene is most active in Portland, Roseburg, and the college town of Eugene. Popular music genres in Oregon range from hardcore punk to disco music.

Even if I overlook your mention of Roseburg and disco as “active” and “popular” in Oregon's music scene, I cannot overlook you overlooking independent music in the article. You don't even mention Portland's scene, instead focusing on Salem (!!) and Eugene.

And what do I find when I search you for “Portland Music?” Nothing. You don't even have an article about Portland's music scene. And in your article about Portland itself, you don't even have a section about music. But you offer this as consolation:

Portland is also considered a haven for punk, hardcore, and anarchist movements and subgenres, including the self-reliant DIY culture movement that has been part of the aforementioned subcultures.

It has produced many artists of significant impact within their respective fields, including musicians and musical groups Poison Idea, The Dandy Warhols, Everclear, Pink Martini, The Shins, Viva Voce, Elliott Smith, Lifesavas, and The Decemberists; animator Matt Groening; filmmaker Gus Van Sant; and authors Beverly Cleary, Katherine Dunn, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Chuck Palahniuk.

Shame on you, Wikipedia, for lumping Portland's musicians in with our authors and filmmakers. Yes, our arts scene is burgeoning and diverse, but our music scene deserves some recognition separate from all other art. We've got some of the best new songwriters in the country, like Laura Gibson—wait, what's that? Laura Gibson doesn't have a Wikipedia page? And the article on the Gossip's Beth Ditto doesn't even mention she lives here? And the article on Kyle Field's band Little Wings—who just released an album on Marriage Records imprint Rad Records—is only one line long?

Maybe I am being to hard on you, Wikipedia. Your page on The Decemberists' Colin Meloy seems accurate, albeit brief. So, maybe you are not to blame. Maybe Portland music fans are resting on their laurels, hoping that some other indie-rocker will update the article on husband-and-wife team Viva Voce (which currently has no references and is one long, rambling paragraph).

So, I have decided to do you a favor, Wikipedia. I am asking anyone proud of the Portland scene (myself and all other Portland music critics included) to create an article about us. Even Denver, Colo. has one; why don't we? I'm urging those same people to update the articles about their favorite bands, or create new articles for the local bands that deserve but don't have them yet.

We'll show you, Wikipedia: Portland is a musical force to be reckoned with. Just you wait and see.

Links (to Wikipedia pages in need of improvement):
Music of Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Beth Ditto
Little Wings
Viva Voce
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