A lighter moment

Or is it? This is a midwest horror film.

22 years ago, I moved here from Philadelphia — which is kind of the antithesis of Minnesota. It was scary how nice everyone was when we moved in.

There are regional differences, though. That video is clearly from a Wisconsinite perspective. Minnesotans don’t talk about brats and the Packers, it’s all hot dish and the Vikings, and more purples than greens. We’re also a little less nasal and a bit more sing-songy.


  1. dorght says

    Last year I met a couple backpacking to the west coast from the east coast. We were in Missouri on the Katy Trail. Their impression was people kept getting nicer the further from the coast they got. My input was, yep, and in KS you’ll meet even friendlier people. People that will say hi, chat a bit and see if there was anything they needed. Friendlier, nicer, but with really fucked up politics.

  2. PaulBC says

    I am much more coastal in outlook. I don’t think I’m unfriendly, but I also believe in the virtue of minding your own business. What I find about the SF Bay Area, where I have lived for over 20 years compared to the east coast (specifically Philadelphia) is that people aren’t actually nicer, they’re just more passive aggressive about their hostility. I was thinking about this some years back when I had young kids with me at a free outdoor movie, and I guess we were blocking someone’s view, a point that was made clear to me in most condescending, chiding voice possible. Geez, sorry. I’ll be more careful next time. I’m more comfortable with something like “You’re blocking my view, asshole!” because in a way it gives me a face-saving point: I may have made a faux pas, but you’re being a jerk about it. I know that’s immature of me, but it’s kind of more what I’m comfortable with.

    When I’m on the other side of this, it’s pretty rare that I’m rude. I like to think it’s possible to be polite without sounding condescending. I also confess that sometimes I’m way too non-confrontational and may just move to a different spot in a situation like that.

  3. PaulBC says

    davidc1@6 Well here is the first dictionary definition that comes up.

    of or denoting a type of behavior or personality characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation, as in procrastinating, pouting, or misplacing important materials.

    This is clear enough, though that case, I misused the term.

    What I was referring to in @2 is different. I’m referring to the use of a feigned civility to deflect accusations. If someone is annoyed at me, I’d prefer they show it instead of acting like they’re above the fray but just offering some helpful advice. Maybe what I’m complaining about here is smugness. Actually I like the SF Bay Area and fit in pretty well. It’s also a diverse place with a lot of global influences that can’t really be explained as American coastal or interior culture. But I think that when Bay Area natives are annoyed at you, they’re more likely to be smug about it than overtly hostile.

    Actually, I’ve found strangers to be entirely friendly in New York in the right context.