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On Being Midwestern: The Burden of Normality

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posted on Nov, 16 2017 @ 11:32 PM
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i wasn't sure what would be an appropriate forum for this, so if a mod thinks there's a better place please go ahead and move it...

read an interesting article about what it means to be from the midwest, regional identity, normalcy, america, and so forth... using as a starting point the typical vagueness with which people describe the midwest and its inhabitants. being a native illinoisian myself, i'm fascinated by the psychology of the so-called 'flyover country' and how its people see themselves in relation to the rest of the country.

a few highlights:


“What is the Midwest like?” she asked. “Midwestern history, Midwestern customs, Midwestern cuisine?” I struggled to answer with anything more than clichés: bad weather, hard work, humble people. I knew these were inadequate. Connecticut winters and Arizona summers are also “bad”; the vast majority of humans have worked hard, or been worked hard, for all of recorded history; and humility is one of those words, like authenticity or (lately) resistance, that serves mainly to advertise the absence of the thing named.



More important, however, is the intensity of local attachment: “But it is less regional rootlessness than local rootedness that makes the construction of a regional identity so difficult in the Midwest.… Localism, this pride in family, town, and state, leaves little room for interest in a coherent regional identity. In general, Midwesterners want to be left alone in worlds of their own making.”



What does it do to people to see themselves as normal? On the one hand, one might adopt a posture of vigilant defense, both internal and external, against anything that might detract from such a fully, finally achieved humanness. On the other hand, a person might feel intense alienation and disgust, which one might project inward—What is wrong with me?—or outward, in a kind of bomb-the-suburbs reflex. A third possibility—a simple, contented being normal—arises often in our culture’s fictions about the Midwest, both the stupid versions (the contented families of old sitcoms) and the more sophisticated ones (Fargo’s Marge Gunderson, that living argument for the value of banal goodness).


it's a long read, but i found it quite interesting. i hope you do, as well


On Being Midwestern: The Burden of Normality




posted on Nov, 16 2017 @ 11:57 PM
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a reply to: fiverx313

When I think of the midwest, i think of fairly stress-free, good, hard working people. That article mentions that many of them want to be left alone in the worlds of their own making, and I fully agree. Something that feels lost where im from.

One of my best friends is from St. Louis and his girlfriend is Texan. They have a calm and cool that is amazingly refreshing. My other friend has a Georgian girlfriend and she is a friggin sweetheart.

I wouldnt really know though, just kind of a thought ive always had about that area, coming from a coastal, hustle and bustle guy.



posted on Nov, 17 2017 @ 04:24 AM
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a reply to: CreationBro




When I think of the midwest, i think of fairly stress-free, good, hard working people. That article mentions that many of them want to be left alone in the worlds of their own making, and I fully agree. Something that feels lost where im from.


I've lived in small towns most of my life, except for a bit in a large city. You can have'em. GoGoGo, rushrushrush, just got off work? well hurry up and change we're meeting friends for dinner, then going to a loud bar, with loud music and loud people. And go through long lines of loud traffic to get there.

I prefer our way. Backyard BBQ, a few friends, quiet music as the late afternoon turns into night, the stars come out, everyone has had a good meal and now just sitting around talking, enjoying a cold beer. And if you have one too many, no problem, it's a nice night to walk.
Maybe go down to the local VFW on the weekend to listen to the live band, dance, have a drink, talk to the folks you know....and the ones you don't. Always time to say Hi, stop and chat just for a minute, ask about the wife or kids, even when you have someplace to be.
Folks don't freak out and run away if you smile and say Hi There! to their newborn or little ones because you remember when your kids were that age and it brings back fond memories. I have huge Maple tree 40 ft out my backdoor, a garden, peach trees, an outbuilding for a small shop and there's still plenty of grass. At 9 PM on a Summer night, I can sit in my backyard and instead of sirens, traffic and people, I hear a dog bark half way across town.

Cities.....No Thank You.

We have our own stress and worries, but we're not stacked on top of each other making it worse.



posted on Nov, 17 2017 @ 06:25 AM
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My grandparents were from st.louis and a "village" in Illinois called Millstadt. After WWII, my grandpa returned to his village and attended university. My grandma also went to university there. They met, got married and had my father. They picked up and moved to California right after to get teaching jobs. Lived here until they passed away.

My grandma , from st Louis, never really cared that she left, she wanted a better life than she had. But my grandpa, from millstadt, missed being there so much, that every year in September he would go back for a month to visit, and be with family. I went with him one time and it was alot of food, "visiting", card playing for hours, daily, everyone literally knew everyone, with familes with multiple generations living down the street from eachother, church every Sunday, etc..... it literally was a village like atmosphere. It was all weird but nice and homely to me, even as a child. Especially being from Los Angeles,I was used to way different.

My grandparents were really good, nice, caring, giving people.....i think it has alot to do with being from the "Midwest", different values so to speak, but i also like to think that it is of course because that's just how you should be towards others...golden rule type deal.... life is definately at a slower pace back there compared to LA and I think that is wonderful.......



posted on Nov, 17 2017 @ 07:09 AM
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Being from the Midwest, yeah. We want to be left alone.

We take care of our own. We go our own way. Most of my family lives in the state. We get together often. We do play cards and games to all hours, BBQ, that sort of thing. Grandparents go all the grandkids' activities whenever possible.

We're all going to be at my aunt's house the Saturday after Thanksgiving and we'll all like it. The family angst doesn't appear.

There are still big parades and carnivals and other events most people think of as things gone by if you live in a large city (unless we're talking Macy's parade or other huge events like it).



posted on Nov, 17 2017 @ 11:34 AM
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i was born and raised in rural illinois, went to college there as well... then i lived in st. louis for ten years. since then, i've lived in small towns on the east coast and the suburb of a large city on the west coast.

i do enjoy the peace of small-town life, but i also enjoy the diversity and progressiveness of the city. and a lot of what are made out to be the virtues of the small-town midwestern life, i've found in the cities as well... and i've found more progressive people in small towns than i would have thought, after the one i grew up in.

there are parts of st. louis where you really get the best of both worlds, so to me it's not an either-or situation. i tend to think the way people in one area 'other' the people in another contributes to some of the division we see these days.



posted on Nov, 17 2017 @ 12:16 PM
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a reply to: fiverx313

Interesting. Good post!



"In general, Midwesterners want to be left alone in worlds of their own making.”


I suspect that quality is the one thing the Progressives/Leftists Democrats hate the most about residents of Fly-over-country.



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