What is it with our obsession with the "elusive Minnesota connection" news filter?
"Minnesota's Night to Shine" blares the Star Tribune from its doorstep position today. Inside, there was plenty of documentation of how people who knew natives Joel and Ethan Coen were considered "kind of creepy" by some people who knew them growing up.
The obsession with Diablo Cody as a Minnesotan is harder to understand, beyond the overreaching attempts to make the Oscars seem relevant to you, presuming that unless a "Minnesotan" is involved, you couldn't possibly be interested in -- let alone understand -- the event.
Perhaps tomorrow's headline will carry this bulletin: Diablo Cody is not from Minnesota. She moved here in 2003 to live with a guy she met on the Internet, wrote a little for City Pages, did some stripping, and then got the heck out of here. This has now earned her the distinction of being referred to as "former Twin Citian." People have spent more time here waiting for a connection out at the airport. And as anyone knows who has ever moved to Minnesota and tried to fit in among the natives, it takes more than a few years to be a Minnesotan.
For the record, MPR is just as guilty. Witness this collection of stories in the last few days:
Meanwhile, down at the Chicago Tribune, Cody's hometown newspaper, the headline is: "'Old Men' the big winner," and "Coens take four statues." Why? Because that's the story and Chicagoans apparently are interested in the story. A mention of Cody does not mention her place of birth.
This is not a new phenomenon, of course. We claim Judy Garland as one of us. She -- then known as Frances Ethel Gumm -- left when she was 3 and not filled with memories of the Gopher State.
And, of course, we still treat Mary Tyler Moore as "one of us" because her fictional character on a fictional show about a fictional news station was set -- but not filmed -- in Minneapolis. We even put a statue up in the middle of our real downtown.
The newsies think you won't care about a story if it doesn't involve a Minnesotan. Are they right?
It's not a uniquely MN issue. We North Dakotans are exactly the same. The media strives to find the North Dakota connection with any major feel-good story. ("Bismarck native races in Iditarod" - I don't remember our papers reporting any front page news about the Iditarod unless someone from North Dakota was participating) However, our population base is much smaller than Minnesota's; so we have to stretch the limits a bit sometimes. Also, could it be that the Chicago Tribune is more widely distributed than the Minneapolis Tribune?
It could be that. I wonder if there was a lot of coverage of James Arness back in the Gunsmoke days.
The other thing that would be interesting to figure out is what percentage of Minnesotans who read the Strib (or listen to MPR or other places) aren't from Minnesota originally, either?
All I know is that the situation has gotten so ridiculous, I was rooting for Norbitt! (g)
Bob, nice rant. I have long wondered at the bizarre practice of constantly seeking out the "elusive Minnesota connection." Frankly, it drives me nuts, particularly when the media ignores important national or international stories in favor of some tenuously MN-connected story.
In the "old" days, these angles used to be sidebars to the story. Now, they're the story.
The insecurity and neediness of this kind of thing has always embarrassed me for our state.
Indeed, anyone who has waited at the airport for a connecting flight longer that Cody Diablo lived here, and was "FAMOUS", probably would be hailed as one of us.
It would at least be an entire incomprehensible CJ gossip column in the Star Tribune!
"Indeed, anyone who has waited at the airport for a connecting flight longer that Cody Diablo lived here, and was "FAMOUS", probably would be hailed as one of us."
That would be Larry Craig and the Minnesota Connection (puns intended).
About Mary Tyler Moore: I don't think "we" put up a statue of her--I believe that was a "gift" from a network that runs re-runs of her shows. (TV Land, maybe?)
I do wish "we" had had the willpower to resist the gift, though.
I felt the same thing this morning on the bus! Two women had newspapers; one had the Pioneer Press and one the New York Times. I've got hometown pride that runs deep and strong, but I was really embarrassed when I caught a glimpse of the front page of the Pioneer Press in direct contrast with the NYTimes. The St. Paul paper was awash with how big a night "Minnesota" had at the Oscars. The Times was full of um, real news.
This is the kind of thing that gives MN a bad name outside the state.
Way to go, Bob. This whole "MN sweeps the Oscars" is a stretch and kind of embarassing for us. A few weeks ago my sister emailed me a photo of Josh Duhamel (hunky actor from Minot, ND) wearing a U of M hat. Whoop-de-doo.
(Though I do have to admit I take liberties when making Hollywood/MN connections, but how else can I explain what going to Edina schools was like without referencing Banks from the Mighty Ducks??)
Just looked a the Web site traffic stats through Noon today. "Big night for Minnesotans at the Oscars" has more page views than News Cut.
Sigh. Maybe I shoulda been a stripper.
It actually kind of comes off in a Manchurian Candidate sort of way. How far could our Minnesota Nice possibly infiltrate the impervious studios streaming along the endless streets of NoHo?!
I don't really think it's all that offensive that local media is wigging out about Javier Bardem somehow helping MN get another award, as it doesn't happen that often. I personally think that it's more that we don't get a lot of those "Cinderella stories" (bleh) of folks like Josh Hartnett or Diablo Cody becoming A-List talent after leaving. Who doesn't like a hometown hero? Joe Mauer, anybody? Or do we all love him cause he actually came back?
That said, why aren't people depressed that these winners had to LEAVE this wonderful little state of ours to earn their great fortunes and following? That's what saddens me.
Maybe the MN stripping clientèle is what drove Diablo out? Maybe not the change of occupation then, Bob?
Right, but I would ask "what makes a hometown hero."
Diablo Cody? So all you have to do is work here for a couple of years?
I think Minnesota should embrace that which is truly Minnesota's. Joe Mauer? Sure, he qualifies for obvious reasons.
Here's a story where I think the parochialism of news editors gets in the way. In 1993, when the World Trade Center was bombed, it wasn't THAT big of a story via the local news UNTIL they found out some Minnesota school children were inside. Then it became worthy.
That's, ummm, nuts.
You guys are funny.
Perhaps the story of "Juno" really came from Minnesota, maybe it was a more true life story than anyone ever realizes? Diablo girl writes the story in a Target in Minnesota while living in Minnesota, the story about real Minnesotans. So what? So someone wants to connect the award to Minnesota. Who cares?....Let them.
Juno was the BEST movie I have watched in ages-I went to see it with my son this last Friday. i will problable buy it when it comes out on DVD. I think we should be proud that while living in this state this Diablo Cody was somehow inspired to write this story.
oh and Katy, sounds like you need to learn a little humility.
Were any of the dresses on the red carpet made in Minnesota? Boy, talk about your undercovered story. If not, why not? Is our chiffon-like-dresses-you'd-never-wear-to-Target industry that bad?
Why don't great fashion designers come from Minnesota?
great fashion designers come from europe...thats where they breed them....europe
(Collins snarks: Isn't there where most Minnesotans come from? (g))