Thursday, November 06, 2008


Spent the weekend in Worthington, my hometown in southwest Minnesota. It reminded me how hilarious regional stereotypes are. Wherever you grew up, you were probably indoctrinated with the local stereotypes. There was some class of "others" who were clueless, obtuse, the butt of your jokes. It could have been the people from the next town or from across the state line. You knew it was an exaggeration, the kind of stereotype that your sixth grade teacher taught you to recognize as the root of prejudice; but everyone seemed to acknowledge the same set of stereotypes.

If you moved away from home, you discovered that in your new location, they told the same jokes, but with different people as the punchline. Thus it was that I discovered that people in the Twin Cities didn't think Iowans were stupid.

They thought Wisconsinites were stupid.

A sample of the regional bigotry I heard over the weekend:

Upon hearing that a new roundabout was planned for the junction of US-59 and MN-60, a family member remarked, "That's a horrible idea. That intersection is already clogged up with people from Iowa trying to figure out where to turn. There's no way they'll be able to figure out a roundabout."

There was no hint of irony in his assessment.

So who did people make fun of where you grew up?

(By the way, the realization hit me a few years ago that the widespread negative opinion of New Jersey probably has little to do with what it's like to actually live in New Jersey and more to do with New Yorkers broadcasting their own local bigotry from their positions of media influence.)


beau said...

Let's be fair. The Wisconsinites have it coming . . .

Pirate Jimmy said...

I'm not a 'sconnie, but I hate those FIBs.

(that's a fecetious remark, btw).

Mrs. Chaka said...

Everyone knows that Wisconsin is on the good side of the lake.

It should also be noted that Milwaukee is a Great Place by a Great Lake .... and Kenosha is a pit.