A Public Conversation is taking place about whether our metro area and greater minnesota are part of The Midwest, or if MSP is in fact the seat of a conceptual Northern region unto itself, i.e. the “North.” Mark Dayton’s son has gone as far as selling hats to spur debate on this issue.
It’s hypothesized that if we successfully rebrand our region and metro by seceding from the Midwest in the popular imagination, it will result in a Floridian Influx of Creative Class innovators, who will sprinkle down on our economic turf like Nitrogen pellets.
One of the lynchpins of the “North” rebranding effort is the self-evident idea that Northern climates foster innovation through adversity. This is a particularly adept argument if we are trying to attract intelligent young people. I recently encountered the same line of thinking in a 1950’s-era Texas elementary school textbook I happened to be leafing through, in a chapter about why the USA is so superior to other nations. I assume it’s still widely accepted.
Some people may subscribe to the Jared Diamond rationale that Northern Europe (the implicit “North” in the rebranding effort and the climate theory) was able to wring the most resources from the earth and achieve dominance out of sheer propinquity and dumb luck, while some party-poopers tend to believe that it was more a matter of the grim economics of malice and exploitation. But in Minnesota we have a unique cultural disposition to discussing the weather, and the “Northern Climate –> Innovation Throughout History” idea just rings true.
So let’s apply the unreflective arrogance of Red Scare era patriotism to our regional identity crisis! Are Google Glass wearing code wizards going to flock to East Phillips because of some outdated white supremacist junk science? I assume and pray they will.
The regional rebranding effort is a great idea and this ad is a great start:
After all, in what other state or discrete region of this country can you do any of the following things?
We need to get behind this effort. It’s not going to be easy. The regional identities of other parts of the United States are already firmly established, but we now live in an era of increasing cultural and economic homogeneity. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!
For example, Minnesota and Nebraska may have approximately the same number of McDonald’s, but Nebraska has a higher number of McDonald’s per capita! #OnlyinMN
If you can think of other differences between Minnesota and Nebraska, say them in the comments. And don’t forget to buy those hats!