Gosh darnit, having Kim around woulda put us on map

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 10, 2011 - 7:52 PM

Kim Kardashian lives in a gilded bubble whose passage through the world is lubricated with the tears of servants and PR agents. She is a very important person who had a glancing, tangential relationship with our state for 72 days, and when she issues a critique of our place in the world, we need to listen.

She called us "Yee Haw, Minnesota," which was one of those devastating remarks that cut to the pith of our character: When you think of reticent Northern European farmer stock, you imagine them slappin' their 10-gallon hats on their chaps and shouting YEE HAW, don't you? I mean, what's the cliché phrase? Yee haw, you betcha! Nailed us.

It reminds you of the stark, sad fact: Between LA and NYC it's an endless expanse of barley and tin shacks inhabited by drooling hicks who believe it is perfectly acceptable to sleep on sheets with a thread count under 600. It makes you scratch just thinking about them. And they're probably scratching just thinking about themselves.

So, yes. Shame. The sort of shame everyone in the great vacant middle of the country feels when they think about how we all let the Kardashians down just by being us. But at least Wisconsota or West Dakota didn't get called out by name.

Will this hurt us? KSTP.com had a story about her comments' effects on our tourism and travel industries. The president of the city's convention bureau said her comments could reinforce the idea that we're dumb and freezing. Great point!

Let's ask some folks if they're worried. (Note: Names have been changed, personalities invented, quotes fabricated. Otherwise, yes, they're real.)

Gary Svedson, commercial property broker: "Well, I'm a commercial property broker. We've seen a downturn in the market since the economy clutched its chest and fell on its face, and while it's managed to struggle to its knees, it's still confused and covered with blood, which is hard to get out unless you pre-treat it with Shout. That's what my wife says.

"Anyhoo, we got a lot of empty stores, and we were counting on an influx of hip, fashion-forward young people to move from Los Angeles and demand $400 jeans that look like someone backed over them with some oily tires. Mind you, that's $400 for the pair, but that still breaks out to $200 a leg. So it's pretty much bankruptcy for me, bottom line. Thanks, Kim."

Harold Baetelgeus, quantum physicist: "We had hoped that a visit from the lady to our lab in the Iron Range might raise the public awareness of our work on theoretical particles. As you may know, a lab in Chicago fires a beam of pure protons towards our underground receptors near Brainerd, and by judging the rate of decay and charge of the particle we can infer the possibility of a collision with other particles whose existence we cannot yet prove.

"Several of us in the lab believe in something called a dashon, which has the smallest amount of mass possible and decays so fast it evaporates before it can be detected. Personally, I would have a hard time giving a dashon for her opinion of Minnesota. Is there such a thing as a half-dashon? Tell me something else she said and see if I can give a [bleeping] dashon about that." [The phone was slammed down at this point.]

Mort Laignappe, funeral director: "I was really hoping she'd put us on the map, which would do something about that strange Minnesota-shaped void you find on current maps."

Benjamin Johnson, tour bus operator: "It's really a disappointment. We were planning on a tour for people who wanted to avoid her. The route started at the library, stopped at Orchestra Hall, went to the Walker, swung by the Minneapolis Institute of Art and so on."

It seems to be unanimous: We're all hurting. Maybe the ache will fade with time. Maybe there won't come a day when a fella in a Pipestone bar pounds the table and says, "I can't take it anymore. I'm going out to LA to give that woman a piece of my mind," and his friends have to hold him back. Let it go, Jerry! Just let it go.

For now, let's just think what we can do to repair the damage we've brought on ourselves.

For starters, could you people just stop saying "Yee Haw"?

Much obliged, y'all.

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858 More daily at www.startribune.com/popcrush.-

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