Monday, February 28, 2005

Minnesota: Cultural Intersections in a Post-Modern-Conflict Perspective.

In honor of the Minnesota History class I'm sitting in right now, I thought I'd give a little shout out to my adopted home state. Even now, at the end of February, when I forgot to wear my long underwear and it's windy and 18 degrees outside, I can appreciate the good things the land of 10,000 lakes has to offer:

1. May. It's been said a thousand different times but May in Minnesota can't be beat anywhere. Delayed gratification is the name of the game here, but the payoff has to be at least as good as living in Palo Alto the whole year. How boring must it be to walk outside everyday to 70 degrees, birds and happy blondes? The correct answer is VERY boring, even though you may have hesitated.

2. Political Centrality. Would you like to start a progressive political movement on either side of the political continuum? Why not try out your radical ideas on open-minded but skeptical Northerners? We enjoy a legacy of political independence rivaled only by Texas, California, and, generously, Oregon. AIM, the Democratic Farmer and Labor party, Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone, Jesse Ventura? Huge names in American politics, all. Even the Right gets to join in. The vanguard of areligious conservative ideology is being trained in the suburbs of the Twin Cities even as we speak. Republicans have claimed the South by evangelism, and will attempt to claim the North by libertarian tax-reform. If this doesn't sound so hot, remember that it's because of the wonderful reputation of Minnesotan progressivism that we are the first target of the Right. If they can do it here, they can do it anywhere. Neat!

3. The Mississippi River. This river is fucking huge. I never really considered this to be very cool until I was made to realize that Minnesota is located right at the intersection between the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Mississippi. If you're a 19th-century syphillitic merchant and you'd like to sell your whale parts or French wine to the fine people of Arkansas, you'd better be prepared to hang out in Minnesota for a couple of days. Wicked awesome.

4. The Minnesota Twins. I lived in Texas when the Twins won their World Series rings in 1987 and 1991 and I was rooting for the Atlanta Braves in '91. I'm sorry I did that. The Twins are awesome. Go Gardi.

5. St. Paul. Fuck Minneapolis. I keep meeting people from Minneapolis who refuse to go to St. Paul on principle! That's crazy, man. We've got the DAV, a huge and awesome Cathedral, the Turf Club, Sunday Baseball. How about the Winter Carnival? Grand Old Day? What does Mpls have? The CC Club, Lake Street and Light Rail. Ok, those are all cool, but not enough to compete.

6. Boundary Waters/Voyageurs. I hear this is cool but I am a pussy and have never been. Mosquitos and bears live there.

7. The Minnesota Vikings. Again, I lived in Texas in the '80's and '90's. I had this friend, Bo Crawford, who was a big Vikings fan. I had no idea where Minnesota was so I thought it was hilarious when they traded their whole team for Hershel Walker, who had no knees. This isn't so funny anymore. Go Oilers!

8. St. Paul Central High School. This was my third high school, but it was by far the most mediocre. I liked the Quest Program alot even though there were about four black people in it, the recording studio in the basement was a hotbed of future stars, and our football team had Craig Schultz on it, but overall the level of education and infrastructural sophistication left something to be desired. Class of '97.

9. Mankato. I went to Mankato in 1996 or something to see the Promise Ring and the Get Up Kids. This was at a skate park.

10. Rock. From Bob Dylan to the Replacements to Prince to Har Mar Superstar, Minnesota has been at the forefront of overrated rock stardom since the beginning of time. At the same time, these shitty acts have allowed a burgeoning underground music scene to do just that: burgeon. From alot of '80's bands I've never heard nor heard of to the Amphetamine Reptile bands of the early-mid '90's to the high-school-level experimentation of the Eclipse Records heyday, blah blah blah. Rock is awesome.


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