Readers Write: (July 20): Campaign ad, Minnesota Nice, polarization

  • Updated: July 18, 2014 - 6:05 PM

Mike McFadden’s football ad makes for a dubious “life lesson.”

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A screen grab from a key moment in a recent Mike McFadden ad.

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I’ve watched Mike McFadden’s campaign spot for U.S. Senate on TV — the one with the football theme. It’s designed to be cute, and in some ways it is. But there is one moment in the ad that keeps haunting me: when “Coach” McFadden tells the boys, “Now let’s get out there and hit somebody!” Then, one of his players socks him in the gut, and he recoils in comic pain. We are supposed to find this amusing.

Even though I played football — well, at least through eighth grade — it disturbs me to celebrate such a mentality. Although I understand that football is built around a kind of controlled aggression, I don’t see encouraging people to hit others as any sort of “life lesson.” Frankly, the last thing we need in this world are people who think that smacking other people builds character. I’ll leave it to others to discuss the coach’s stand on political issues, but I think McFadden may want to “sack” this spot.

David Lapakko, Richfield

MINNESOTA NICE

Like ice, or worse, except when it isn’t

It irks me whenever I see the idea of “Minnesota Nice” perpetuated in the press. I think we all know that there are all kinds of people who reside here. Why generalize? However, I have often commented to friends about my frustration with the unfriendliness and rudeness of so many Twin Citians (“Minnesota Nice? Like ice,” July 13). For example, just recently I casually asked a guy standing next to me at the checkout counter at a grocery store, “How are you today?” He stared at me for about five seconds and then answered, “I don’t know you, why do you ask?” I responded, “Because you are a fellow human being and we’re sharing the same space.” Would this happen in Georgia, Oregon or North Dakota?

Minnesotans are often described as unfriendly, nonverbal and passive-aggressive by newcomers. But only here in the Twin Cities do you find the arrogance of “Minnesota Nice” perpetuated by the media.

It’s just not true!

Don Haugo, Minneapolis

• • •

I was beginning to think it was me.

When moving here last November from Michigan, I was not expecting to meet anyone with the holidays approaching and winter about to arrive. However, since I live in a townhouse development I thought that this spring and summer I would find people out and about enjoying their patios and would have a chance to meet my neighbors. Not so. I met the young couple living next to me, who are also newcomers from South Dakota, and I see the children next door when they’re out on their scooters and skateboards. But has anyone knocked on my door or stopped to say hi when I’m sitting outside? No. And, strangely enough, folks don’t seem to want to be out soaking up the sun before another winter descends upon us.

If it were not for my children and the very friendly church I joined, I would find it very difficult to live here. Don’t know why you Minnesotans are so staid. If you would just give us newcomers a chance, you might be surprised at how we could add interest to your life.

You do so many things so well in this state, but welcoming newcomers is not one of them.

Esther Hansen, White Bear Lake

• • •

Oh, fer cryin’ out loud! Minnesota is nice. On Jan. 1, I marked my 20th anniversary of living in this fine state, having been born and raised in Southern California. I followed my heart to my beloved’s door in Minnesota and never looked back. While it took a while to wrap my head around the concept of a mixed marriage being one between a Wisconsin Synod and Missouri Synod Lutheran, or seeing marshmallow whip in a salad bar, or fully appreciating the all-encompassing use of the phrase “oh ,for cute!”, I can’t imagine ever wanting to live anywhere else than Minnesota. Minnesotans have welcomed and invited me in with open arms; have celebrated with me in good times and consoled me in bad; have supported and championed my professional endeavors, and have guided, embraced and shored up my personal ones as well.

Even my children know what a special place this is. On one family visit to California, my then-6-year-old twins and I were walking along a busy beach boardwalk when one said, “Why isn’t anyone smiling at us?” Before I could answer, the other one replied: “ ’Cuz we’re not in Minnesota.”

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