This is one of the essays I delivered to my patrons last month. If you want to support more work like this, and see it earlier, you can sign up here.
Minnesota Nice is a thing. It’s a real social phenomenon that happens here in Minnesota and in other places with similar climates. Exactly what it is, however, is up for debate.
On the one side, you have the people who celebrate Minnesota Nice. Look at all those lovely Minnesotans! You’ll never hear a bad word said about a soul. Minnesotans are polite and ready to smile at anyone. There’s no better place in the world to need the help of a stranger, whether it’s directions or a jump start for your car in sub-zero weather.
On the other side, there are the people who insist Minnesota Nice isn’t nice at all. It’s just a euphemism for passive-aggression. Minnesotans look friendly, but they’re as cold as their winters. They already have all the friends they want, thank you very much, and they have since high school. If you don’t, well, you’re on your own. Newbies beware.
Oh, the arguments that happen over which of these is the “real” Minnesota Nice. Are we Minnesotans underrated angels or overhyped demons?
We’re neither, of course, or both, depending on how much you like your hyperbole. But the simple truth of the matter is that Minnesota Nice is all of those things, and they’re not particularly separable from each other. How could they be? They all come from the same place. [Read more…]