At some point during Mayor Betsy Hodges’ philosophically full-bodied State of the City address, I began to think that it sounded familiar. Not the platitudes that every elected official pulls out to appease factions, but rather the tone and cadence of the oration.
Then it came to me. The speech she titled “The Deep Truths of Minneapolis” sounded a lot like “Deep Thoughts.” Those were the random laugh lines by writer Jack Handey on Saturday Night Live.
See if you can tell whether the words are from the mayor, or the comedian.
A) “The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.”
B) “The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.”
A) “The negation of that truth is also true: We must be fully dedicated to the fullness of our own humanity in order for us to achieve our full success. …”
B) “I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate, and I can picture us attacking that world, because they’d never expect it.”
A) “We are awesome and we are challenged, that we come together for the common good and strain to come together through our divisions. … Are we not of interest to each other? I submit that fundamentally, we are.”
B) “Instead of having ‘answers’ on a math test, they should just call them ‘impressions,’ and if you got a different ‘impression,’ so what, can’t we all be brothers?”
A) “We instinctively already talk and sing to babies and small children, all of them.”
B) “If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is ‘God is crying.’ And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is, ‘Probably because of something you did.’ ”
A) “I’m pretty sure your very own jukebox is in the phone in your pocket right now.”
B) “I’d like to see a nude opera, because when they hit those high notes, I bet you can really see it in those genitals.”
A) “For me personally, experience of the arts is a daily flow and habit in my life. I read poetry every morning and every evening. I listen to music throughout the day. I read novels, mostly written for young adults; for that matter, I have written a young adult novel.”
B) “Whenever you read a good book, it’s like the author is right there in the room talking to you, which is why I don’t like to read good books.”
A) “I will say, though, that the best part about comedy is that it is funny … laughing is a requirement for happiness.”
B) “If you’re robbing a bank and your pants fall down, I think it’s OK to laugh, and let your hostages laugh too, because come on — life is funny.”
A) “It is true that light is a particle. It is also true that light is a wave.”
B) “If you ever reach total enlightenment while you’re drinking a beer, I bet it makes beer shoot out your nose.”
A) “The Promise Zone is designed to be a marathon, not a sprint.”
B) “If I ever get real rich, I hope I’m not real mean to poor people, like I am now.”
A) “We have everything and we are everyone that we need. That is our profound truth … It is true that we have done and are doing much. It is also true that there is much, much more to be done.”
B) “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away and you have their shoes.”
And the correct answer …
If you guessed that option A, the first quote in each example, was a real, honest-to-God phrase from the mayor’s speech, you probably follow her on Twitter. You are awesome and the city is awesome, totally.
If you got them all wrong, you and your city are challenged, and there is much doing to be done. At any rate, are we not of interest to each other?
Sure. Sure we are.
Follow Jon on Twitter: @jontevlin