January 23, 2015

The country I come from is called The Midwest The North.

The Wall Street Journal has an article titled "Minnesota’s New Cool Image as ‘the North’/Proponents Embrace Region’s Frigid Weather, Rugged Character; ‘Heritage’ Brands Thrive":
“North” has a special meaning in Minnesota these days, and it is gradually gaining a stronger following. Though most Americans consider the state part of the Midwest, a number of local influencers are proposing to redefine Minnesota as a region that the U.S., officially at least, currently lacks: the North. They want their region to be recognized for its innovative, sturdy character, honed by long, cold winters.

Supporters of “North” say that being lumped in with the Midwest causes people to lose sight of their region’s special nature. “We don’t behave like the rest of the Midwest,” says Andrew Blauvelt, senior curator of design, research and publishing at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, which recently hosted a standing-room-only symposium on Minnesota’s regional identity. 
I like the idea of North, but it can't just be one state. Surely, Wisconsin belongs to this cool/cold place:
The “North” movement dovetails with national trends of late: buying locally made goods, eating local farm products and wearing “heritage” products with a long pedigree. Well-made utilitarian items—long an important part of Minnesotan culture—are fashionable all over these days....
There are Duluth Packs in Barneys, we're told, and bags made from the fabric of the Minneapolis Metrodome are sold nationally. Red Wing shoes, made in Minnesota, are big, not to mention Faribault woolens. I'm sure Wisconsin's list of sturdy products is cooler than Minnesota's. I mean: Harley-Davidson motorcycles, OshKosh overalls, Trek bikes, Wigwam socks, Sub-Zero refrigerators.
[I]n the true low-drama style of the region, “North” isn't exactly a campaign. There is no marketing budget or organizing committee. There are other names proposed, such as “North Coast” and “Upper Midwest”—though “North” seems to be taking the lead. Most people agree that parts of other states, such as the Dakotas, part of Wisconsin and Michigan’s upper peninsula, also belong in the North. 
Part of Wisconsin! Not the part gets close to Chicago, I take it. Not Milwaukee. Not Madison?
“I think it’s important that it not feel like a top-down orchestrated campaign,” says Mr. Dayton. “It’s important that it bubble up.”
Well, then, let's get bubbling. We're not The Midwest, we're The North.

Notes:

1. The post's title "The country I come from is called the Midwest" is a line from the Bob Dylan song "With God on Our Side." ("I’s taught and brought up there/The laws to abide/And that the land that I live in/Has God on its side.") There's good Dylan authority, however, for renaming the region The North: "If you’re travelin’ in the north country fair/Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline/Remember me to one who lives there/She once was a true love of mine."

2. "The Idea of North" — in boldface above — is the title of Part 01 of Glenn Gould’s "Solitude Trilogy." (I love the scene in "32 Short Films About Glenn Gould" — one of my all-time favorite movies — where Gould gets the idea for "The Idea of North.")

117 comments:

Original Mike said...

I've always consider us The North. I wouldn't live anywhere else.

chickelit said...

The Beach Boys distinguished The Midwest from The North when they sang:

The Midwest farmer's daughters really make you feel alright
And the Northern girls with the way they kiss
They keep their boyfriends warm at night...


That was 50 years ago

Original Mike said...

Though Madison is a bit south of north. The best gauge of Northness (to my mind) is the Tension Zone which defines the southern boundary of the North Woods.

Kevin said...



Yeah, well...

Good luck competing with NORTH Dakota.

MathMom said...

We have a North. It is Alaska. And it is often warmer than Minnesota...

Mr. Colby said...

The NFL breaks each of its two conferences into geographical divisions: East, West, North, and South.

Locations that have teams in "North" divisions: Minnesota, Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and ... Baltimore?

http://www.nfl.com/standings?sort=DIVISION_WIN_PCT&order=desc

Also see map #4 here: http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2014/8/28/6074397/24-maps-that-explain-the-nfl

Original Mike said...

The Duluth Pack is the traditional pack for long-distance canoe travel. I own two.

Jane the Actuary said...

There'd have to be a boundary. And, really, is the identity really just about Cold? Is this basically, "we're Canadians at heart?"

Is The North really meant to be this small sliver of border with Canada? Where you watch CBC and play hockey?

Grew up in the Detroit area, Mom & Dad and my sister still live there. My brother ended up in Petoskey with his family, until they were exiled to Oklahoma two years ago, but now he's got a job offer for suburban Milwaukee, which is close enough to a homecoming for them. (And their close friends moved there not long ago.)

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I thought the north already had a name:

Canada

Big Mike said...

Minnesota couldn't be part of the Midwest. Too far left for that.

mccullough said...

I prefer North to Upper Midwest.

I think Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas are the North of the U.S.

Original Mike said...

"Part of Wisconsin! Not the part gets close to Chicago, I take it. Not Milwaukee. Not Madison?"

Yes, Althouse, Madison is not North. I'm tired of living in the tropics. When my wife retires we may move Up North, where it actually is cold and it actually snows.

campy said...

"I thought the north already had a name: Canada"

That's the True North (strong and free*).

(*) As long as you don't offend anybody.

Bobber Fleck said...

There are actually three Minnesotas: The south and west (2/3 of the state) are part of the great plains and have much in common with Iowa and the Dakotas. The northeast (including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area) is similar to northern Wisconsin, but a little bit wilder. And then there is the narrow strip from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Duluth that defines Minnesota's left wing politics.

One could argue the hill and bluff country from Red Wing to New Albin, IA is a fourth area.

NE Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and the UP would make a fairly homogeneous state.

I'm happy to report that I still have not become a robot.

Toby said...

Clearly inspired by Game of Thrones, where The North is a distinct place that produces sturdy men of character.

Anonymous said...

The idea of a Heritage image for Minnesota as North is racist and clearly exemplifies Scandi privilege. What about the large Hmong and Somali communities? They definitely do not have a "Northern" heritage.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Of course Minnesota and Wisconsin are in The North, any Southerner could tell you that. I would accept a definition of the Midwest that ends at the northern border of Iowa. The southern border of North Dakota might be a better line.

rhhardin said...

A business trip by car between Saskatoon and Prince Albert was uninspiring. Maybe it's more interesting south of the border in the north.

Anonymous said...

So the distinctive thing about the North is that it's infested with hipsters, unlike the rest of the country which is... infested with hipsters?

TosaGuy said...

I grew up in SW Minnesota, which is more South Dakota than Minnesota. I always referred to our area regionally as the Great Plains. The Twin Cities were Not Minnesota and north of the Twin Cities was Up North.

Curious George said...

Most OshKosh overalls and Trek bikes are not made in Wisconsin.

RonF said...

I've been to the North. Madison is definitely NOT "the North".

Curious George said...

"TosaGuy said...
I grew up in SW Minnesota, which is more South Dakota than Minnesota. I always referred to our area regionally as the Great Plains. The Twin Cities were Not Minnesota and north of the Twin Cities was Up North."

Milwaukeeans refer to any other part of WI as "up north". As in "I'm heading up north to the Dells.

Chicagoans refer to anything south of Chicago as "southern Illinois"

Shanna said...

Of course Minnesota and Wisconsin are in The North, any Southerner could tell you that.

I'm southern and when I think of the 'north' I think the northeast, not minnesota. Yankees. That's 'the north'.

They should go with 'the place that's really really cold' because that's what they actually mean.

BarrySanders20 said...

"I thought the north already had a name: Canada"

That's the Great White North, according to those two hosers.

Yes, North should take hold.

The Normans, conquerers of now Western Europe and Great Britain, were so named because they came from the North. Normandy is named after them. From Wiki:

The English name "Normans" comes from the French words Normans/Normanz, plural of Normant,[3] modern French normand, which is itself borrowed from Old Low Franconian Nortmann "Northman"[4] or directly from Old Norse Norðmaðr, Latinized as Nortmannus (recorded in Medieval Latin, 9th century) to mean "Norseman, Viking".[5] Also the ethnonym for Norwegian in modern Norwegian language is "nordmann".

The Normans (French: Normands; Latin: Nortmanni) were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Viking conquerors of the territory and the native Merovingian culture formed from Germanic Franks[1] and the Roman Gauls (see Gallo-Roman culture).[2] Their distinct identity emerged initially in the first half of the 10th century, and gradually evolved over succeeding centuries.

They were not robots.

TosaGuy said...

CG,

I grew in the part of Minnesota without hockey and too far south to head up north very much. Twin City folks all head Up North to their lake cabin on weekends.

kjbe said...

Part of Wisconsin! Not the part gets close to Chicago, I take it. Not Milwaukee. Not Madison?

No, even our colloquial "Up North" doesn't include Madison or Milwaukee. Also, of your WI brand suggestions, only the Wigwam socks says, "North".

JRoberts said...

"Big Mike said...
Minnesota couldn't be part of the Midwest. Too far left for that."

Maybe they should call Minnesota "Portlandia East"

Chris said...

I'd have a hard time calling anything "the North" that's south of so much Canada.

Titus said...

I like the North name.

The twin cities is a cute little northern city too. And even Duluth is cute...on the other side is Superior, which is a complete dump. "Northern Wisconsin" doesn't have those fab cities in the north though.

I did read in Harvard alumni mag that a grad actually opened a restaurant in Spooner, Wisconsin though-fascinating! Spooner is northern Wisconsin!

You need a fab city to work on the marketing!

Rubbing Tom Brady's balls.

Titus said...

I like East Coast and Northeast equally. I love New England-probably my fave.

But East Coast could mean South Carolina and Georgia and then the name sounds gross.

Jay Vogt said...

Having grown up in the TC's, it was always referred to by the Strib and 'CCO as the "Upper Midwest" and it included Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas.

The local Grain Belt beer (a good and current hipster brew) touted itself as "the brew that grew with the great northwest". Which seems dated now.

God love Minnesotans, but they are the most self conscious people in America - obsessing about their perceived identity constantly.

For a while they pushed the "Minni-Apple". Get it? A take on the "Big Apple". When the local horse track opened they had a contest to name it. The winner: "Canterbury Downs". A lame attempt to present as "old school horsey" and vaugely Brittish in a completely made up kind of way - ANYTHING but Midwestern. Pathetic.

Dylan, is there any curve he's not ahead of?

TosaGuy said...

Modern Progs have had a field day in Minnesota because of the area's Scandinavian roots and generally homogeneous nature of the state. The Twin Cities' economy has always been is based on finance, services and processing, not heavy industrial manufacturing, and was set up to weather the recession better than many other parts of the country.

Curious George said...

"TosaGuy said...
CG,

I grew in the part of Minnesota without hockey and too far south to head up north very much. Twin City folks all head Up North to their lake cabin on weekends."

I have a place near Minocqua, and it's always been "up north".

Michael said...

Some of this is a scheme to make the Twin Cities a regional capital, so you have to slice off Chicago and Milwaukee. Actually, a good working definition of the North is anywhere people naturally assume "the Cities" means St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Chris said...

Most of Minnesota is southeast of the geographic center of North America (Rugby, ND). They're more of a Middle North. Or maybe Northmiddle. Or heck, I'd say they're close enough to just go with "The Middle". Or, Middleish.

TosaGuy said...

"Having grown up in the TC's, it was always referred to by the Strib and 'CCO as the "Upper Midwest" and it included Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas."

We had South Dakota TV stations but WCCO on the radio -- entirely different perspectives on the area where I grew up. SW MN didn't exist on WCCO except for winter school closings.

Known Unknown said...

Provincialism is sooo coool.

Ann Althouse said...

Some consideration needs to be given to the fact that North is the name of Kim Kardashian's baby.

SteveR said...

Beyond the Kim Kardashian baby name problem it seems those people are just going to have to secede from the Union and fight a war.

Michael said...

Or you could go with west of Lake Michigan and east of the Missouri River, cutting off in the middle of Iowa (aka Baja Minnesota.)

Jay Vogt said...

"Some consideration needs to be given to the fact that North is the name of Kim Kardashian's baby."

. . . Please No.

1/23/15, 10:41 AM

Original Mike said...

"Some consideration needs to be given to the fact that North is the name of Kim Kardashian's baby."

We're talking Norsemen and Voyageurs and you bring us Kardashian???

Titus said...

There is a great song, that I loved in high school, called Life In A Northern Town, by Dream Academy.

TosaGuy said...

Minnesota is also a state where one cannot buy packaged beer or liquor on Sundays, which is entirely UNLIKE Wisconsin.

Original Mike said...

"Only a Northern Song"

Jay Vogt said...

"We had South Dakota TV stations but WCCO on the radio -- entirely different perspectives on the area where I grew up. SW MN didn't exist on WCCO except for winter school closings."

Let me guess: Luverne?

Philosophic Entrepreneur said...

Milwaukee and Chicago cold isn't brutal enough to qualify as the North. And I can't believe nobody has mentioned Montanta.

The North would be Montana, the Dakotas, and Minnesota.

Unknown said...

definitely piggybacking off of game of thrones.

Anonymous said...

Titus -

If you were listening to Dream Academy in high school, you are too old for the sassy gay friend role on Althouse.

chickelit said...

Titus said...I like East Coast and Northeast equally. I love New England-probably my fave.

But East Coast could mean South Carolina and Georgia and then the name sounds gross.


Again, The Beach Boys made the correct distinction, separating "east coast girls" from "southern girls."

Really, is there anything that Brian Wilson didn't get write the first time?

Anonymous said...

I don't really like "Mid Atlantic" because it lumps Pennsylvania and New Jersey with the psychologically distinct Virginia and North Carolina. I think "Mid Atlantic" was coined specifically to deal with the problem of Washington, D.C. and its environs. Washington is regionally part of the South, but it is now psychologically part of the Northeast.

Jay Vogt said...

"Really, is there anything that Brian Wilson didn't get write the first time?"

If you put Bob Dylan and Brian Wilson together, they could write ;) and be right all the time.

psychosmoker said...

As a boy from Waukesha I was always reminded that Minocqua and Woodruff were "Up North".

richardsson said...

I'm originally from Northern Minnesota very close to the Canadian border and Bob Dylan's hometown. My parents and I left for Southern California when I was school age. But, I never completely lost my sense of being from Minnesota. Being of Swedish descent and having spent my earliest years in a mostly Finnish community were what gave me a sense of uniqueness. I also think Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, which I listened to in the 1980's revived memories of my early childhood, although the influences in my speech and accent were not of the Palin "you betcha" variety but of a more directly Swedish accent. I was surprised that it was still alive and well in the 1990's "up there.": I think it was the Scandinavian element that set Minnesota apart in the past from the rest of the Midwest.

Ipso Fatso said...

Wasn't Cleveland, The North Coast?

Scott M said...

So the gays displaced the hipster straights and they're dying for a new land to colonize?

Original Mike said...

"Cleveland, city of light, city of magic"

MadisonMan said...

I'm tired of living in the tropics. When my wife retires we may move Up North, where it actually is cold and it actually snows.

North in Wisconsin is north of WI Hwy 29. That's what I've heard.

Original Mike said...

Highway 29 is about right.

MayBee said...

Michigan might be north in the US, but in Michigan we have our own beloved "Up North".

Quaestor said...

Minnesotans share a collective delusion that a chilly winter bestows some kind of moral rectitude on those who experience it. By declaring itself the North Minnesota wants to billboard its paranoia, Let them, I say, then Alaska can proclaim itself the Northerly North, thus booting Minnesota into Second Place in the Glutenous Self-Approbation Derby.

Drago said...

t-man: "Titus - If you were listening to Dream Academy in high school, you are too old for the sassy gay friend role on Althouse"

That and his "Harvard alumni mag" and Lena Dunham references simply expose him as a sad old queen who is really trying much too hard.

Original Mike said...

"Michigan might be north in the US, but in Michigan we have our own beloved "Up North"."

This is an excellent field guide to The North Woods in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Southern Ontario. My copy is falling apart.

Unknown said...

Ann, also would like to point out i'm one of the 30 somethings who read the blog everyday and never post. Been a loyal reader since 2009. This is the second post. Please keep it up.

Chris said...

North, Midwest, Great Plains... I am large, I contain multitudes.

TosaGuy said...

"Minnesotans share a collective delusion that a chilly winter bestows some kind of moral rectitude on those who experience it."

The father of the two dudes pushing this is Gov. Mark Dayton -- inheritor of family money of what would become Target. His administration has made it extremely hard for people who have had enough winter rectitude in their elderly years to move their money out of Minnesota without it getting taxed to the max.

Like any good Prog, Gov. Dayton's money was already held outside of the state before such laws were implemented.

Unknown said...

As a 5th-generation Minnesotan, I think this idea is silly. It has no popular support in Minnesota beyond the young Dayton brothers and their circle. I’m amazed by the attention it has received in the national media.

“The North” already has a well-established meaning in American English. I think most Americans understand that term to refer to most, if not all, of the northern half of the U.S. Certainly, it refers to the parts of the country that formed the core of the Union during the Civil War (New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Midwest), and it may also, in some contexts, include the Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana). If “the North” was appropriated as the term for Minneapolis-St. Paul and its hinterland (Minnesota, western Wisconsin, northern Iowa, the Dakotas, and possibly Montana), what would we call the northern half of the U.S.?

Names of regions do change over time. During the 19th century and well into the 20th, Minnesotans commonly referred to themselves as being in “the Northwest,” and that identification was reflected in the names of many Minnesota businesses and institutions (e.g., Northwest Airlines, Northwestern National Bank, Northwestern National Life Insurance Co.). Even into the 60’s, I remember ads on radio and TV in the Twin Cities referring to “the Great Northwest.” That term gradually fell out of favor in Minnesota as it became identified exclusively with Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, and it was replaced by “the Upper Midwest.” It seems to me that “the Upper Midwest” is a perfectly serviceable name for this part of the country, and I don’t see why it would need to be replaced.

TosaGuy said...

"Let me guess: Luverne?"

Close, north of Worthington.

Original Mike said...

I wonder how garage's plan to move to Minnesota is going.

pfennig said...

Blogger Original Mike said...
Though Madison is a bit south of north. The best gauge of Northness (to my mind) is the Tension Zone which defines the southern boundary of the North Woods.

Interesting- I always heard that the Tension Zone was Hwy 29, separating the tense South from the laid back North.

TosaGuy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

" It seems to me that “the Upper Midwest” is a perfectly serviceable name for this part of the country, "

Where's the romance in that?

TosaGuy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TosaGuy said...

"I wonder how garage's plan to move to Minnesota is going."

Minnesota already has Garage Logic and our friend Garage probably wouldn't fit in.

Original Mike said...

@pfennig, The Tension Zone, defined by the limits of northern and southern planet species, came out of the work of John Curtis.

Anonymous said...

definitely piggybacking off of game of thrones.

Which side of the state line you were born on determines whether your bastard name is Jon Cheese or Jon Lutefisk.

SteveOrr said...

To most Twin Cities residents, "North" refers to North Minneapolis. It used to be the low-rent Jewish ghetto but has since become more black. It's easy to see how young black kids, wrapped up in hip-hop culture, would flaunt the label as a symbol of defiant neighborhood pride.

traditionalguy said...

The Progressives are the new name used by collectivists; and that does define the culture from Boston to Portland and its direct fly over country. That is the North. Midwest would be Nebraska, Kansas, Indiana half south of Indianapolis and southern half of Illinois.

Rusty said...

North is where Brook Trout live. Anyplace else is South.
Stocked Brook Trout don't count.

Fritz said...

We could conquer Canada and put Wisconsin safely back into the Midwest.

tim in vermont said...

I think Northwest in those contexts, like Northwestern University refer to the former Northwest Territory. A name that shouldn't have died as dead as it did.

Carter Wood said...

I believe Mark E. Smith said it best:

I'm Joe Totale
The yet unborn son
The North will rise again
The North will rise again
Not in 10,000 years
Too many people cower to criminals
And government crap
The estates stick up like stacks
The North will rise again X4
Look where you are
Look where you are
The future death of my father

Sam L. said...

In the service, we called all the northern border states "the northern tier" and sometimes spelling tier as tear for what we cried when sent there. There were four missile bases in Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas; they were referred to as "the banana belt".

Quaestor said...

Some consideration needs to be given to the fact that North is the name of Kim Kardashian's baby.

North, as in southbound mule.

Roughcoat said...

I prefer to call it "The Land of Sky-Blue Waters."

(echo: Whaaa-aa-ters").

Bumm-bumm-bumm-bumm, bumm-bumm-bummm-bumm ...

Hamms, the beer refreshing ... HAMMS!

BUMMA-BA-BUMM!

Roughcoat said...

Oh come on. Minnesota and Wisconsin are the Upper Midwest. Always have been.

Minnesotans are masters of the Humble Brag. They love to tell you, repeatedly, about how polite Minnesotans are. They tell tell amusing little stories about their amusing, charming politeness.

Humble Bragging. Which is very un-Midwestern. Like asking for a bigger slice of pie than the one your host gave you.

Original Mike said...

Some of my earliest memories are of the Hamms ads. And I always have loved those motion bar signs.

Quaestor said...

That winter rectitude thing came to Minnesota by way of Scandinavia. It seems a 10th-century monk called Adam of Bremen made his way to Uppsala with the intent of converting the heathen. While making the case for Christianity Adam explained many doctrines and dogmata to which the hoary vikings listened politely. Then he came to the doctrine of penance and purgation, which visibly agitated the heretofore phlegmatic northmen.

"So to show our contrition we need to suffer, is that right?" asked the Norse chieftains.

"Yes, that's correct," replied the venerable monk.

"Such as..."

"Well, there's the wearing of hair shirts, that's very popular. And there's self-flagellation, always a good choice. Some people walk naked to Jerusalem, others crawl. And you can maroon yourself on a tiny island and eat gull's eggs for the rest of your life..."

"Look, we're from fucking Sweden; isn't that suffering enough?"

Roughcoat said...

@OriginalMike: "Where's the romance in that?"

We're Midwesterners. We don't do "romance." Pass the potatoes, please.

Roughcoat said...

@traditionalguy:

Can't agree with your definition of the North. In that scheme northern Illinois would be in the North, and that ain't right--we're Midwesterners, through and through, at least until you get down to Little Egypt. Which is more southern than Midwestern.

The "North" is traditionally defined as the coalition of Union states in the Civil War. Which is as it should be.

Roughcoat said...

If, in 1859, you were a Negro slave on the run, and you crossed into a state where slavery was outlawed and you were legally a free man ... you were in the North.

Original Mike said...

"We're Midwesterners. We don't do "romance." Pass the potatoes, please."

Sumus quod sumus (We are what we are).

Roughcoat said...

You know those big round balls of gluten that your grandma serves up in a basket for Sunday supper? If you call them "rolls" not biscuits, you're in the North.

Anthony said...

Idaho, Montana, and Washington are all as far north as Minnesota. They're just trying to cash in on their left-liberal cachet and attempting to distinguish themselves from the rest of flyover country.

"We're different! Look, we use the words "local" and "sustainable" a lot!!!!"

LuAnn Zieman said...

I was born and raised just south of the Canadian border--east of Grand Forks, N.D. and slightly south of Roseau and International Falls in NW Minnesota. I student taught in Coleraine on the Iron Range where the snow is pink from the iron ore in the winter. The Rangers are a tough people, mostly Finnish. And we all spoke hockey in the north half of Minnesota. The northern teams of the 50s and 60s beat the snot out of the Twin Cities teams. Coleraine, small as it was, was state champion for years until the Minnesota High School Athletics people-in-charge decided schools should only play against other schools of equal population. Heh.

Original Mike said...

"You know those big round balls of gluten that your grandma serves up in a basket for Sunday supper? If you call them "rolls" not biscuits, you're in the North."

Yep, rolls.

mikeski said...

We're Midwesterners. We don't do "romance."

"When we got married I told you I loved you. If I ever change my mind I'll let you know."

As a transplanted Minneapolitan, I've noticed there are two places north of us. There's "Up North" and there's "Outstate". They seem to be the same place, but if it's a town or a farm, it's "Outstate". If it's a park or campground or lake cabin, it's "Up North".

Balfegor said...

Minnesota can't be the North. That's Canada. Minnesota has The Twins. Well, one of them anyhow.

mikeski said...

"Yep, rolls."
But if I don't wanna make them myself, the bag of pre-fab ones at the grocery store says "dinner rolls" on it.

If I do the same thing in Kansas, does the bag say "dinner biscuits"?

Roughcoat said...



Now yer talkin'! They tasted like cardboard but if you put enough butter on them (and by "enough" I mean a doorknob-size hunk) they made you forget the tastelessness of the dry, leathery, over-cooked roast beef that my German and Irish grandmothers served.

I don't know what they had, or called them, in Kansas, but that state is typically regarded as Midwestern and in the late 19th century both my Irish and German families drifted back and forth between Kansas and Illinois. In fact, eastern Colorado is virtually though not wholly Midwestern as well. The "West" doesn't start until you're almost to Denver.

Clyde said...

For those of us in Florida, Up North begins at the Florida-Georgia border.

And I'm sure that Alaska probably looks at Minnesota's self-proclaimed Northern-ness and smirks.

Roughcoat said...

Alaskans are mostly, and usually, too drunk or stoned to notice.

Anonymous said...

I spent 30 years in Iowa. Here is an observation from traveling around several prairie states.

Everyone thinks the people who live north of where they do is stupid for putting up with the severe winter weather. And everyone living south of them is just plain stupid, period.

Known Unknown said...

If you call them "rolls" not biscuits, you're in the North.

While colloquially true, there are distinct differences between the two breadstuffs.

Biscuits are mostly flaky and layered pieces of dough, while rolls tend to be lighter singular balls of dough.

RecChief said...

That's what Minnesotans need is more hipsters who want to live "ruggedly".

I'll just point out that a few years ago, Grain Belt began marketing a variation of its beer called NordEast. It was named that because of the scandinavian immigrants who lived in the northeast sections of the cities and how they pronounced 'North' in Scandi-English. Grain Belt was embracing the heritage of the Twin Cities. The Prog/lefty/hipsters threw a snit fit about how it was denigrating and stereotyping and blah blah fucking blah.

Fuck em all.

Michael K said...

I skimmed some of the comments and wondered why New Hampshire and Vermont are not included in "The North." The year I spent in NW began with Thanksgiving morning at 26 below zero. Vermont can be the lefties in Minn-StPaul.

Bruce Hayden said...

Oh come on. Minnesota and Wisconsin are the Upper Midwest. Always have been.

I always had a problem with that, but not as bad as with Ohio. How can you call something "midwest" when it is so far east of the geographical center of the country (even ignoring Alaska)?

I somewhat like "north", but wouldn't include Montana there, at least the western half of the state, which I still consider part of the "west", more for culture than anything else. The problem for me though is that I know a number of people who live/lived in the "north country" of upstate New York, just south of the Canadian border, and north of Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc. Farther north, cold, but maybe not as cold.

My kid was offered a fellowship at a couple of schools, including Minnesota, but ended up coming back to Colorado for graduate school. They were back there in the Twin Cities this last weekend with their adviser, and was, again, thankful that they picked as they did. Cold and flat, the latter esp. noticeable if you are, like they are, from Colorado. Still not sure why anyone would want to live there, except that I still have friends from college who went back there, went to grad school, and have happily stayed.

Did find my Buck Hill ski patrol t-shirt recently, celebrating some 12,000 or so avalanche free days (which I got for hosting a friend who was working as a volunteer Doc for the Olympics in Salt Lake City). The joke there is that the ski area has 310 feet of vertical drop, which is typically much to short to actually avalanche, even ignoring that it has "more snowmaking horsepower per acre than any other area in the Midwest".

Scott said...

What a nothing article.

Guildofcannonballs said...

An admirable attempt to wishcast away seasonal affective disorder, which hits hardest in February.

The North sounds way better than Colorado, so stay away from here unless you intend vote libertarian or GOP. Remember, as Hitler knew well, repetition works.

The North is hip and cool!

The North is hip and Cool!

We are North Face cool!

Smilin' Jack said...

How about "American Siberia"? I think that succinctly expresses the essential characteristics of the place.

Tarrou said...

So I assume all this "North" business comes from the south of the "North"?Specifically the rich white enclaves of the high-low alliance of big cities against the rural (and usually more northern) countryside. In Michigan it's the Ann Arbor-Lansing corridor of all the wealthy whites who fled Detroit teamed politically with the blacks they left behind to corral the other 90% of the state. In more direct parlance, it's shithead college kids emulating their upstate uncles to attempt to inject some masculinity into their hyper-effeminate lives.

PWS said...

Couldn't help notice that in Dylan's AARP interview, when asked about what type of music he listens to, he remembers as a kid that "up north, at night" you could find different radio stations.

ken in tx said...

There are many places in the US that are only inhabited because people were going someplace else but got just that far and just gave up.

ken in tx said...

BTW, the University of the Midwest is located in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Tim said...

Spam- Austin MN

ganderson said...

Jay Vogt: Schmidt's was "the brew that grew with the great northwest."