By Art Hyland
Oregon Magazine’s Editor Emeritus (LL) –aka Larry Leonard–knew early on the New Media, meaning online publishing, was going to be powerful. Old Media just never saw it coming, but he did. In the mid 70s, IBM agreed to a request from a young Bill Gates for an exclusive IBM licensing arrangement for his experimental operating system to work with insignificant little computers. According to IBM’s executives, everything other than IBM’s ideas were little in those days, and therefore inconsequential; so why not let the kid have his fun. IBM, which owned the U.S. information industry at the time, was in the same position then as the Old Media turned out to be in the 90s: satisfied to lord over their powerful domain because nothing could upset their position of control without their knowing it.
Having worked for decades as a professional in the advertising business, LL had trained himself to be aware of markets, aware of how people think, & how they are motivated by images, as well as by words(one of his more famous creations was the Alaska Airlines image on its plane tails). But just as he was retiring from his profession to do what he really wanted to spend more time doing–fly fishing–along came the internet to interfere. What could be more inviting than to be able to canvass the world’s writings, cigar in hand, from one’s own home office, but even more crazy, to be able to publish to that world from the same chair? Fly fishing was work compared to the ease of shooting fish in the barrel of internet ink.
Oregon Magazine used to be a printed affair, replete with interviews and stories about unique Oregonians who were doing important stuff because they had the opportunities to do so; the pieces were varied and eclectic, “human interest” in character, very personal. And, given the publication’s name, there were articles about Oregon’s natural beauty as told by those experiencing these wonders. It was loving life because they could. And Larry Leonard was an integral part of the publication’s success.
But when its early creators weren’t able to keep it going, Leonard and a few friends decided it was worth claiming the name, and set about using the New Media to keep the flame going. Oregon Magazine went online. But something happened.
Oregon, and the nation began embracing big government. And the freedom to live and breathe as one wished began to be squeezed into smaller and smaller segments. To any “Biker” like LL, the introduction of the helmet law was the beginning of the end of freedom of movement. How can one experience wind in your hair when it’s covered by plastic? It was one of many, many freedoms that individuals were to lose to big government and the masters of control.
We can’t have that. Don’t want that. Can’t let it happen without fighting to the (virtual) death. And so we take many politicians and bureaucrats to task. We throw verbal darts, arrows and grenades at the liberal, progressive, commie, socialist, pinko, Leftist, political leaders of Oregon and the nation, and will continue to do so until they are defeated in their efforts to control every aspect of our lives, because we desperately want to return to an Oregon Magazine of primarily a mixture of adventure, characters, wine, random thoughts and humor. In other words, a time where men and women were still the only sexes, the Constitution was a document every citizen learned before he graduated from high school, when moral standards meant something worthwhile, when we were all conservationists but happy with full-blown, reasonably-regulated capitalism, and when it was generally accepted that not everyone in the world was willing to get along with each other, and we didn’t care because our borders were secure and its confines (and currency) were the envy of the world. These descriptions define most of what we wish for, and will fight with all the verbal acuity we can muster to return to those halcyon conditions.
So we’ve changed our page look as a means to an end. You probably never noticed, and that is just fine. It will change several times until we hit upon the one that reflects who we really are. The available “themes” or formats are squares into which one inserts circles, so resistance seems futile, but resist we will continue until OregonMag is on every NW computer screen, for the content is what we’re selling after all. To the extent the combined efforts of the visible and invisible editors of this publication are successful in persuading masses of Oregon readers to appreciate our perfect wisdom, we will bask in the glory of knowing we contributed just a little toward bringing sanity back into vogue.