|"I'm not completely sure, but I think St. Paul is over there someplace."|
But a typical European has rough idea of where Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City is located, but is utterly mystified by the idea of Minneapolis. I've run into an occasional well-read Londoner who knows of the "Twin Cities," but when I've explained that we're located a full 8-hour car ride north of Chicago, they get wide-eyed and are convinced that this must very nearly be the North Pole. Once a native Londoner, upon learning where I hailed from, congratulated me on getting away from the snow and ice. This was in early August, and when I told him that the temperature back home was currently 35 degrees C, he would not immediately believe me.
The lack of geographic awareness of Minnesota is so pronounced that I have practiced a standard answer with foreigners: "Right in the center of the country, up against Canada, and just to the left of the Big Lakes." Then there's a nod of recognition. I have had people know where Green Bay, Wisconsin is located, but are entirely baffled by Minneapolis. The only place more anonymous: Nebraska.
Here's the notion most world citizens have of Minnesota, if they know of us at all.
|Yes, this is a Minnesota|
thing. Don't ask.
• It's cold.
• It's a wilderness.
• It's home to the largest shopping mall in the world.
• It's a cultural backwater, the place where Fargo was filmed.
These are all only partial truths. It is bitterly cold in the winter, but the summers are in fact unpleasantly hot and humid. The wilderness areas are confined, really, to the top 25% of the state, though a rare wolf or black bear may roam down here occasionally. The Mall of America is no longer the largest in the world, though it's damn big, as evidenced by the travel junkets that fly here from Japan, China, etc. just to shop there.
And its not nearly as rough-hewn culturally as most people think. There are fine museums and restaurants here; very good dramatic theater. When a sales director, a snooty French woman, visited us in Minneapolis, she was frankly amazed. She expected to find us motoring around in snowmobiles and pickup trucks, going to bingo tournaments for entertainment—not creating highly acclaimed productions of The Tempest at the Guthrie Theater. (Actually, for the pickup trucks and bingo tournaments, you have to cross the river to St. Paul. )
|Oh yeah, I know these people.|
Fargo did a much better job in coaching the actors to accurately mimic the Minnesooohhtta accent. We do squeeze our vowels with great ferocity, especially as you go further north. When I travel abroad, people very often suspect I'm Canadian.
|Right. Hit the road, Mitt.|
But the Republicans, they have no clue who we are. When Mitt Romney visited, he invariably wore preppy loafers and crisp oxford shirts starched severely, and designer jeans pressed so hard the creases could cut flesh.
|Cruz and Trump, caught just a moment before they kissed.|
You see, if there's one thing that Minnesota can't stand, it's Texas. We don't even like the idea of Texas. While Minnesota has its share of feisty individualists, our brand is understated, almost mute, and we have no time at all for the kind of silly bragging that Texans practice routinely. You betcha, he's kinda a goofy fella, he is, ya see.
Mostly, though, it's because Texas is home to the Dallas Cowboys football team, who, along with the New England Patriots, are the most hated sports franchises in all of Minnesota. For us, Jimmy Jones is the anti-christ. Ted Cruz has no chance here.