This week, I would like to take this space so generously allotted to me to speak to those readers who are not, as we say, "One Of Us." As a Minnesotan of long standing, I feel qualified to speak for the people of this fine state, and so when I see an article like this, it pains me. In the past few years, the idea of "Minnesota Nice" has been challenged by a competing idea: the idea that Minnesotans are "nice, but not friendly." According to the writers who talk to transplants to our state, they feel that Minnesotans are unfailingly polite and kind, but also slow to warm up to newcomers, and so I'm afraid that we Minnesotans are developing a reputation for being passive-aggressive, cold-hearted, and two-faced.
I want to explain what's going on here, for those of you who are new to our state: It's not that we don't like you. We actually think you're pretty great. You're from interesting places, places that we have never been. Your cuisine extends beyond hotdish. You can think of things to talk about besides the weather and the Vikings. In fact, now that we mention it, I'll bet we were boring you, weren't we? We just rambled on about any silly thing we could think of, and while we were taking about the new Target that's going in over by the mall, we thought we saw your attention wander for a second -- you just glanced over our shoulder, a little bit like you were wishing that there was somebody else you could talk to, maybe somebody that wasn't talking about a high school hockey tournament.
We'd love for you to come over for dinner, we really would, but what would we talk about? You were asking about the theater scene here, and we haven't been to the Guthrie for years now. You don't have an opinion on Joe Mauer yet. You seemed bored when we were talking about the winter of 1997 when we got all that snow. And what would we make for dinner? Something tells me that mushroom soup and tuna-based foods do not pass for acceptable dinner in your house. You seem classy and with it. We feel like you can do better. We wish we had Craig Finn's phone number, or somebody like that -- they would interest you. They would make you like it here, not boring old us.
So we're sorry, newcomers. It's not that we're not warming up to you. It's just that we figure you wouldn't like us very much, and that you would rather be left alone until you can find some people that are more your speed. (We were also raised to believe that politeness involves turning down any offer at least twice before accepting, just to make sure that you really mean it, so you'll have to keep on us for awhile if you're really interested in being friends.)
On with the links:
*Suhrith Parthasarathay, writing for the great Run of Play, has an interesting look at some of the latest research in psychology and sociology regarding the function of fandom in today's society -- especially regarding those of us who are fans of overseas teams that effectively do not exist in our own worlds. Key quote: "Merely because fans today choose their teams due to marketing via newer media, as opposed to supporting a team that is from their locality or that their family supported, doesn’t necessarily make fandom inherently less pure than it was earlier."
*Over at Twinkie Town, Brandon Warne has a chat from last fall with Twins prospect Joe Benson, who gives an interesting interview despite being quoted as saying, "I'm not that interesting of a guy."
*You may have missed Clark Kellogg's interview with President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron, but I think the key takeaway from the whole thing is that the President is interested in learning about cricket.
*And finally, I like to save something slightly less weighty for the last link of the week. But it's been so nice out that everything seems airy, right now, so let's just unload a ton of feathers:
*As a reminder that pretty much anyone could have been an NFL kicker 40 years ago, here's a photo taken from the goalpost of Vikings kicker Fred Cox trying a field goal.
Here's Ricky Rubio trying to smile us all the way through the pain of losing him.
Ilya Bryzgalov is just, like, a citizen of this crazy universe, man.
Man, all that money has turned wheelchair curlers into doped-up monsters with no regard for the rules.