Fierce loyalty, initial aloofness.

This article reminded me of several posts on PDD over the years about newcomers having a difficult time establishing social circles in Duluth…

Minnesota Nice, explained

A lot of it hit close to home for me (even though I grew up & live across the border in Wisconsin, so I guess I’m not technically “Minnesota nice”), like the following:

In a nutshell, the state’s settlers from northern or central Europe — primarily Germany and Scandinavia — had a profound impact on how the social culture here developed, McKnight contends.

“The traditional culture of Norway/Sweden was for centuries based on the concept of One People, One Language, One Religion,” McKnight writes. “Swedes’ lifelong friends were chosen from among people they went to school with and their kinship group. An individual made friends slowly, but they were friends for life — in the true sense of the term ‘for life.'”

Anyone who has lived in Scandinavia, as McKnight did for years, knows that “it’s somewhat hard to get an ‘in’ there,” he said. But once the friendship is established, “all barriers to communication break down and there results a torrent of friendship, expressions of sincerity, and even personal confidences.”

The article’s part of an MPR series which you can read over here.

To be fair, I think some of the descriptions in the series could apply to a lot of small towns and rural areas, regardless of their heritage or location, but it gave me some food for thought.  And this excerpt made me feel like I should be inviting a lot more people over:

A lifelong Minnesotan of German heritage, Klingel said most locals probably don’t know they have a welcoming problem.

“I think there are many people who are where I was a few years ago, thinking what a great place we are, and we’re all so friendly,” Klingel said. “And we are friendly. But we need to take that next step of really welcoming.”

Among the observations of newcomers Klingel has heard:

“Minnesotans are friendly. They just don’t want any more friends.”

“I’ve been here four years, and I’ve yet to be in someone’s home.”

Such perceptions were sobering to Klingel. “Those of us, if we think about that, ‘In the last year, who have I invited into my house that I didn’t know five years ago?’ I think we go, ‘Ooh, that’s a small number,'” he said. ” ‘Who cares?’ Well, the people who aren’t getting invited care.”

55 Comments

Skazi19

about 10 years ago

Oh my gosh. I'm so glad you posted this. A friend of mine moved here in August to work at a local college and has already put in his notice to leave at the end of the semester because he has been miserable here. People are friendly to him in general, but more on a superficial level. I was born and raised here so I have never realized this was such a problem until recently. I personally enjoy getting to know people and making new friends but I know that I tend to be the minority in that department.

secretseasons

about 10 years ago

I thought the more interesting article was this one... "nice but not warm"

[email protected]

about 10 years ago

The trick is to befriend other transplants, of course.  Anyone who moved here after 1950 should still be alienated enough to be friendly.

emilymoesewco

about 10 years ago

I am a born and raised Minnesotan, first from southern Minnesota and then about a decade in Grand Marais. From thence, we moved to Chicago for about a decade. Now we're here. 

And I haven't seen such unbelievably nastiness from everyday passersby in my life. I don't know if it's always been this way, but wow. Children on the street taunt us. College students throw firecrackers out their windows. And today, from a totally random teenager's bedroom, I was called a prostitute while walking my dog-- wearing a pair of yoga pants and a baggy leather jacket. And I have a cute dog. My dog is so cute, gang-bangers in Chicago would make kissy-faces at her. 

Where is this nice? I've got friends here from twenty years ago. I have roots. Several generations in the cemetery in southern MN, and my husband's got grandparents in the ground in GM.

Fuku-soncho

about 10 years ago

"Minnesotans are friendly. They just don't want any more friends."

This has been my experience so far. Everyone is kind to me and will make small talk, but I just know I'm never going to be in anybody's inner circle. I feel like when I'm out of sight I'm also out of mind, and I'm out of sight a lot given the structure of my office. I've lived in several places in the past few years, and I've started to learn what makes a city a home. I believe it's whether or not you can honestly say you have good friends or family living close to you. I have neither of these, so I have started making plans to move back home. I'll miss lots of things about Duluth, but I won't miss spending 90% of my time alone.

Barrett Chase

about 10 years ago

Rhetoricguy nailed it. I say this every time this subject comes up. If this city is brimming with transplants all complaining about the same thing, why don't they make friends with each other?

TimK

about 10 years ago

The heading is hopeful- initially aloof (a.k.a., we're not interested in your opinion about what is wrong with us) and THEN, fiercely loyal (once we accept our wrongness on our own terms).

Mr. Nied

about 10 years ago

A transplant of 1 decade in Duluth. I moved here knowing one other person in the city who I was not close with. The vast majority of close friends I have made are transplants from the St. Cloud, MN area. They are great people. Most native Duluthians I have gotten close to eventually fade into some sea of Northlandness I'll never grasp completely. I am a native West Central Wisconsinite. We have no accent. We don't inhibit the standard geo-locational "nice"ness. Something happens at the Mississippi divide that will never be explained. North of that River beyond the divide exists another mentality of which Duluthians may be the perfect transect audience. The Duluthian isn't your standard Minnesotan, but one of inherited Great Lake livelihood. Six-pack culture may be the best definition for us. Tonight I enjoyed Surly Abrasive and New Belgium's Dig Ale.

DaVe

about 10 years ago

I'm sure there's some truth to the stereotypes, and it's hard to be objective,  having been steeped in the local culture, but there are so many factors involved in this. One's age, interests, occupation and a lot more affect one's social life. A solid sense of community requires staying put, and life is so transient for so many people. One can't just parachute in and expect community here, or in New England, for that matter. When I've read past posts on PDD about transplant singles seeking dates, I thought they should form flash mobs around town to find each other.

HipCast

about 10 years ago

I don't think Barrett meant it this way, but that argument always sounds like Jr. High to me.  You aren't cool enough to be our friend, so go hang out with the other outcasts.

One of the problems is that I don't think the city is actually brimming with transplants.  There are some transplants, but many seem to leave after a short time.  If you happen to meet a few transplants in your everyday life, great!  You initially bond over the fact that you're new here and haven't been welcomed.  But let's say you get together for a coffee or drink to get to know each other.  You better pray that you have enough shared interests, a similar sense of humor, or whatever combination of attributes it takes to make a friendship, because your possible pool of friends is limited to the few people you run into who aren't from here.

There's also a certain sense of being welcomed that is needed for someone to feel at home.  If most of the people you encounter don't want to interact with you beyond basic civility, it's really hard to develop a sense of home.

I love it here because of the natural beauty and some of the things that Duluth has to offer, but I doubt whether I will settle here long-term, specifically because of this issue.  I've met a few people who have been willing to get to know me and have started developing a few friendships, but it's very lonely when there is an overall sense of being an unwelcome outsider.

DaVe

about 10 years ago

Does anyone really avoid befriending someone because he/she is not from here? I don't think so. Stay put, get involved in something you love. A handful of close friends and a broader community are precious things which require both time and luck to acquire.

Barrett Chase

about 10 years ago

HipCast, I did not mean it that way at all. Not even close.

emmadogs

about 10 years ago

DaVe and Barrett, with respect, I think you are both simply not getting it.  This issue keeps coming up on this blog, and so many people who have lived here for ages, but not for forever, chime in and agree that it is almost impossible for a 'newcomer' (such as myself, now a 20 year resident of Duluth) to befriend locals.  How many homes have I been invited to since I moved here?  Two.  One of whom is a coworker.  And I don't think I smell or anything.

Barrett Chase

about 10 years ago

But emmadogs, if the issue keeps coming up then obviously there are a lot of people in Duluth lookin for friends, right? How do we bring those people together? This is my point.

Claire

about 10 years ago

The week Mr. Claire and I moved here in '94, we went to a meeting of the "Newcomers club," which turned out to be a group of people who'd lived here for years and got together every month to complain about Duluth and how unfriendly the natives were. 

We were taken aback and wondering if we'd made a mistake to move here -- and that first year was hard. Thanksgiving by ourselves because no one invited us to spend it with them, not knowing anyone to hang out with, compounded by the problem of living in Superior the first six months we were here -- which in my opinion was/is much more insular than Duluth. 

But Mr. Claire got involved in local politics, I took a job at the Depot where I met all the artists in town, and we started to make friends with people who shared our interests. And we moved across the bridge to Duluth. 

I've lived in towns and cities on both coasts and making friends here to me isn't any different than elsewhere I've lived, it's been actually easier in some ways. In Philly, all my friends were from college or from my job, it was impossible to make friends there with the locals. 

Like DaVe, it takes time and effort to build friendships. If you aren't being invited to hang out, well, you might want to make the effort to invite someone to hang out with you! Get out of the house! We're all so busy with kids, jobs, life, as we get older -- I know there doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to get everything done that I need to do -- and that might be part of it. It's interesting that many times, the people I make dates with to do something are the parents of my kid's friends, b/c our busy schedules dovetail more often -- esp. when the kids are involved in extracurriculars which involve drop-offs and pick-ups and waiting.

Claire

about 10 years ago

P.S. I remember once a friend of mine in Chapel Hill complaining that he hated making friends with graduate students because they always ended up leaving town. If we were a city with a huge transient population like Chapel Hill has, we'd all be making the same complaint.

Claire

about 10 years ago

But emmadogs, how many times have you invited people over to your house?

Skazi19

about 10 years ago

Now that I think of it, I don't think Duluthians invite anyone into their home very often. A very good friend and I have been friends for nearly 15 years and I have literally been in her home twice (we are both native to Duluth). I don't particularly love entertaining in my home either so I have never taken offense to it. Besides, there are always so many things to get out and do.

secretseasons

about 10 years ago

I think future prospective transplants would appreciate it if you would add a sentence or two to any job ads you post: "Be aware that we will call you moving and settling here 'parachuting in' and that will set the tone for your interactions here. Good luck!"

Carla

about 10 years ago

I lived in Duluth for 15 years and made some good friends there - some who are other transplants and some who are lifers.
It was hard in the beginning - but I did find that if I filled up with resentment about how hard it was - well that just made it harder.
I think friendships are available.  You do have to work at it though.  Just keep having your own parties and inviting people to them and don't obsess if they never invite you.  It's more fun having the party yourself because then you can control the food, the liquor and the agenda.
But I will say - if you were not born here and it's power or influence you are after, forget it.

emmadogs

about 10 years ago

Barrett, good point.  And really good points by everyone.  I agree with Claire that it seems easier for people with kids to befriend their kids' friends' parents.  And I came to Duluth straight out of law school, so maybe it's simply difficult to meet new people when you're not in school, same dorms, same experiences, etc.  

All I know is that, as reflected by the other posts on this issue, it's terribly difficult to meet others here.  As to how to address that dilemna--Barrett, good question, but I'm clueless.

Karasu

about 10 years ago

All this "I can't make friends here" stuff just sounds needy to me. Do you have any kind of inner life? I just don't understand NEEDING friends, like this. Is it not because I'm an introvert, but because I'm a 3rd generation Duluthian?

Some of you talk as if it's our DUTY to befriend you. Guess what: we don't KNOW you're a transplant until you tell us. And then we don't CARE. You're here now. It's up to you to make good. (Do you think we just automatically invite every person we meet into our homes on the first introduction?)

njm

about 10 years ago

Another newcomer here.  I came to Duluth from out West, and have been appalled by how insular people are.  I have no patience for whatever drawn out courtship locals must conduct before establishing a friendship, I think it's absurd -- let's just cut to the chase, drink some beers, sit around a fire, and bullshit.  Alas cutting loose and enjoying life together seems to offend certain ingrained sensibilities.  So lump me together with the rest of the transplants who are sick of spending most of our time alone and in silence.  Barrett is right, we need some sort of gathering for transplants who don't want to play this game, and to just have some fun without pretense.

B.I.N.G.O.

about 10 years ago

I'm a transplant--10 years now. Yes, you have to work at making friends. Having traveled and lived in communities (large and small) all across the country in my younger years (N. Cal., San Francisco, Louisiana, Georgia, Pennsylvania, NYC, etc.) I find nothing out of the ordinary. Unless you were born there and your parents too you are always an outsider. No biggie. You make the community (and the friends) you want. I like Duluth.

TimK

about 10 years ago

Our local misanthropy club needs someone to edit our newsletter. Apparently, no one has been coming to any of the meetings...

consuelo

about 10 years ago

I lived in Duluth for 12 years, having moved from elsewhere.

It's not the most unwelcoming place I've been - that would be New England. 

"If this city is brimming with transplants all complaining about the same thing, why don't they make friends with each other?

Barrett Chase"

We do, because people like you who grew up here have your social circles 98% set in stone. You guys know everyone you'll ever need to, with all your Duluth friends plus the Twin Cities/regional mix. So native Duluthians don't seem to bother hanging out with we losers from out of town, unless we have something do with a 'cool band' or something.

I've made a few good groups of friends in Duluth, from Duluth and elsewhere, but most of them move as time goes on. It's not a very large town, if everyone hasn't noticed, so it's just never going to be as vibrant as Austin or Portland or something. 

The weather doesn't help, in that normal activities end for 5 months while everyone sits inside or goes cross country skiing or some shit. You see, this doesn't happen in any other town that I'm aware of and it negatively impacts social activities. It's affected the mindsets of Duluthians, who consider this normal.

B.I.N.G.O.

about 10 years ago

"You see, this doesn't happen in any other town that I'm aware of and it negatively impacts social activities."

As an old fart (and Duluth transplant) I've learned from experience that the grass IS NOT greener on the other side of the fence. Not fitting in here in Duluth? Well, what are you going to do about it? Decide what you want and go work toward finding it. If Duluth is not the fit for you there's always Portland (been there, way too rainy and cold) and Austin (been there,way too hot and dry for my tastes). Duluth is just right... for me.

Herzog

about 10 years ago

"New Study Finds Humans May Have Some Capacity for Compassion"

   West is the best Ninjaman, make no mistake. Me, I enjoy the giant industrial panoramas of Duluth, magnificent in their grandeur. She's got vast ships, sea caves, rainbow neon fish, a lovely sappy aroma in the springtime, birds in the laundromat, and a diaspora of thieving youths and cranky old people, with a bunch of middle of the roaders  thrown in who are way too enthusiastic for bands and art because there isn't any decent altitudinal challenge to speak of what keeps them totally transfixed on the splendor of nature and more open to others. There's only so much you can do with a giant lake, and I think locals are somewhat confused by this in lieu of it's jaw dropping splendor, perhaps becoming withdrawn and introverted, or just plain crabby, or afraid, because the lake she kills and doesn't give up her dead. Maybe its a sense of overriding doom, that someday maybe the lake is going to kill you too. For how can something that beautiful be so unwelcoming to the flesh as to stop your heart in three minutes?  It's just not like warming yourself along the canyon walls of Utah. So what's not to love you ask? Rather, what's love got to do with it? I've lived around different places long enough to know, if you can't beat em or gain em, join em or leave em.  Have guitar will travel.

B.I.N.G.O.

about 10 years ago

Here's a great site for another view of Duluth and how we perceive our community: http://www.soulofthecommunity.org/duluth

DaVe

about 10 years ago

@secretseasons- Maybe "parachute in" was a poor choice of words. I was thinking about folks who move here and expect to establish community immediately. It doesn't matter to me in the least whether someone is a transplant or not.

adam

about 10 years ago

"Boring, Awkward Transplants: Hard to Get Minnesotan's to be Nice"

jessige

about 10 years ago

I have two sides on this one.  As a transplant (10 years strong), I would agree that it's hard to get to know people: for a city of 86K, it sure feels like everyone already knew each other.  I still occasionally feel like the new kid in the cafeteria.

On the other hand, I also grew up in West Central WI and I remember very few times when my family & I visited people's homes.  And we didn't have people over, either.  I'm not sure if that's an unusual experience, but having people over to my house just seems strange.  What would we do?  Watch TV?  I'd rather meet at the bar or a restaurant...?

[email protected]

about 10 years ago

If being a parachuter transplant means I never walk into a shop trying to determine which artificial deer urine I want to slather on my coat...

If being a parachuter transplant means I never cease to be amazed by the complexity of race relations in this town... it's scarred history and its wounded present...

If being a parachuter transplant means I never become more excited about the arrival of a national chain retailer than the opening of an independent shop or restaurant...

If being a parachuter transplant means I never forget that the lake, the winter, and even those deer staring at me from the side of the highway would just as soon cause my death (or the destruction of my automobile)...

If being a parachuter transplant means I never become jealous of insular Duluthians...

I will be a parachuter proudly.

I don't lament that the insular locals won't befriend me or invite me over for dinner.  I lament that the sense of interconnectedness I feel with the world, they do not feel.  And that inflects a whole series of decisions that change the tenor and texture of Duluth.

Joel

about 10 years ago

Wow! I am a very recent transplant to Duluth. My wife of 25 years and I have done the corporate relocation thing now five times!

I come to Duluth after spending a very strange year in central Utah. Talk about a different culture! People were nice, but would not invite my son to a birthday party, or associate with us in any social way. After this experience, Duluth is like a breath of fresh air!

c-freak

about 10 years ago

I'm a transplant 19 years and never felt uncomfortable here. Join a softball team. Go the the Owls Club. Get on a committee. Get involved.

Fuku-soncho

about 10 years ago

@c-freak: I would love to join the Owl's Club, but I was only invited once and then never again. To the best of my knowledge, I don't think I did anything to offend them, but even after dropping some hints to a member, I've just not been invited back. It would be great to be able to have a space where I could go on a Friday night just to chat with people, but I think it takes two members to speak on a person's behalf, and I wasn't able to make that happen. 

@Karasu: So even when we repeatedly tell our co-workers that we'd love to hang out because we don't know the area and they say, "Sure! Let's get together!" and nothing happens, then what? Even after we've invited them out to lunches and coffees on multiple occasions, then what? Even after they help move all our things from one place to the next yet never call to grab a bite to eat or see a movie, then what? I'm just not sure what more I need to do to ask for their friendship. Though I haven't tried skywriting yet...

I promise I'm not trying to be combative, though the text may look like that, I'm simply trying to get some ideas from people.

DaVe

about 10 years ago

I transplanted here long ago, knowing only a couple of people. Guess I got lucky because I got to know lots of people quickly, and I'm not even that sociable.  Like someone pointed out- who even knows you're a transplant? Who is responsible for your lack of social life?  Community is something a lot of people are seeking. I wish everyone well in that search. But please don't blame Duluthians, en masse, for what you're lacking.

Dorkus

about 10 years ago

I remember in high school how there were all these cliques that always made me feel like the outsider.

I saw the way they interacted with each other, and wanted the same thing. So I jumped right into one of the groups and tried to act like one of them.

That was a short-lived experiment as they all thought I was weird because I was trying to be like them.

Then I figured out that if I just do what I do, while being friendly with others and not trying too hard, the doors to these groups opened up rather wide. 

They were not the ones making me feel like an outsider. I was making myself feel like an outsider by thinking that I was an outsider. I had this pre-conceived notion that I was somehow different from them, and had to make myself like them in order to be cool enough to be accepted.

In reality, I needed to be different in order to be interesting. I had stories they had not heard, been to places they had not seen, had hobbies they had never thought of.

Claire

about 10 years ago

When I am interested in befriending someone, I don't give a shit where they're from, where they went to high school, or any kind of that crap. I just care that they are interesting and well-meaning and that I enjoy being with them. I think of the people I consider my best friends in Duluth, and they're from all over the world... including Duluth. I seriously don't understand this resentment over "the natives" not being more welcoming. You will find your tribe if you make the effort.

[email protected]

about 10 years ago

I think we're conflating a spectrum of behaviors and social interactions here.  

Claire, Barrett, you're right, the answer is to "put yourself out there," to move it, to shake it, etc.  That is a necessary but not sufficient condition for finding meaningful interpersonal connections.

Once you are "out there," there is a spectrum of responses possible, and a spectrum of relationships possible.  I think the key thing here is that the measure of a "healthy" web of relationships is local -- and that articles like this demonstrate that one measure (a small number of longtime relationships) is the norm for this local situation.  "Getting out there" doesn't change that norm, nor make it any easier to redesign your own measure for a web of healthy relationships.

DaVe

about 10 years ago

I just read that since 1985 Americans have suffered a loss in both quantity and quality of friendships. 25% have no close confidants. The average number of confidants has dropped from 4 to 2. 

in.dog.neato

about 10 years ago

I'm definitely not hip enough (or nice enough) to have friends. In spite of that, I've made a few.

If there's any standoffishness from lifelong Duluthians, I use that to my advantage because ... well ... while I don't mind people in general, dealing with said folks can often be a chore. To that, I use the "it's not you, it's me" excuse because ... well, I'm an arrogant opinionated asshole and folks just leave me alone anyhow. It works well for my misanthropic tendencies.

It's a win-win.

FranceneStarr

about 10 years ago

Wow--great post, Herzog--very poetic description of Duluth...been here 11 years and still feel new but that's OK. Have made some great friends through taking a yoga class (since disbanded) in someone's home.

Herzog

about 10 years ago

Bizarre courtship mating rituals is right, and I too have little patience for this, but unfortunately, it's almost everywhere. People are insecure by nature, and as 'creatures of habit,' afraid to break out of their stunted inner circles, as stunned deer are to their oncoming headlights. Folks want to know what you "do," not merely as a conversation starter, but to also verify they make more money than you.  They don't really want to know how you occupy your time, they want to know how much money you make. So there is this bizarre cause and effect cross section of environment meets mindset, but that too happens everywhere. We live in a capitalist society, so material themes are very important. Go to the beautiful Pacific coast along Mexico and you'll find lots of pretty happy people there, living the pura vida, then go inland to the rugged interior and you might find people looking to test their new gun out on you. 

I was at a party once in Bozeman, where most people are happy, healthy and friendly, and I made some random conversational comment to some girl, wasn't hitting on her at all, and she turned and said, "Oh my God, I don't even know you!"  Pretty funny looking back.  

I think most everyone is in their own personal 'get through it' survival mode from the cradle to the grave, whether they realize it or not, and everyone handles that differently, but the environment indeed has an effect. Some folks express in front of a microphone with their inspiring emo blend, others XC ski, others kill animals, or try to hump them. Whatever pulls your trigger.  

"Minnesota nice" has become a famous oxymoron though, nationally recognized these last few years.  But you know what they say about New Yorkers, lose a contact lense, people come in droves and help you look, but if you're getting raped or murdered in an alley, people shut the blinds and turn out the lights.  Survival instincts and herd mentalities are hard to escape when you're just a mammal following the ass in front of you, trying not to get trampled.

Erik Estrada

about 10 years ago

Yes, yes. Duluth is definitely a city of aloof, insular people, but I have little empathy for transplants (I was one once) who do not join groups and actively get to know how the city works socially, politically or financially. I had a great time time during my 4.5 years because I made a point of injectioning myself into they city whether people liked it or not. I miss Duluth a great deal, and I am not a native Northlander.

I have lived in many cities in the U.S., and if you live in a turtle shell and refuse to understand how a city works, then you will be a miserable person. 

What a great topic. I look forward to the continued dialogue.

[email protected]

about 10 years ago

I think a better way to explain the transplant syndrome is to consider the experience of my Great Aunt Joyce Zenisek.

Aunt Joyce was raised in a four-bedroom house in which resided her parents, her sister, her grandmother, her two cousin and, in an apartment over the garage, whichever parents were of the cousin.  This was "family" to Aunt Joyce, part of financial necessity and part of eastern european cultural norms.

She married Bob Zenisek, a man for whom family meant "husband, wife, child, and career."  Extended family were not in his picture -- you might say he worked hard to win his independence from family.

Both are fully functional pictures of what family can mean.  But it took Joyce decades to make the shift from happiness in one paradigm to happiness in the other.

jj

about 10 years ago

Maybe those who willingly move to Duluth have an easier time adapting as opposed to those who are "forced to" through job relocation and therefore already have a negative opinion of the area.  I, as a native Duluthian am always curious as to how someone ended up here.

Griz

about 10 years ago

There is no such thing as "Minnesota Nice." I have lived all over the county and the "nicest" people I have met thus far live in the south. For example, while hiking the Superior Hiking Trail one cold, rainy May day I was freezing and decided to walk a road to highway 61. Many cars/trucks passed but no one bothered to stop and ask me if I needed help or a ride. When I lived in Kentucky and was hiking the Sheltowee Trace Trail, as soon as I hit a dirt road with minimal traffic, I was asked if I needed help. I have found people in Minnesota to be polite if forced with interaction, but they certainly don't go out of their way to be "nice."

TimK

about 10 years ago

Here's a Kentucky-nice anecdote for you. While heading south from Louisville I saw some asswipe with a rebel flag in the back window of his pick-up throw an empty can  at a young African American man who was changing a flat tire on the shoulder.

TimK

about 10 years ago

Yes, I stopped to make sure he was okay and offered assistance.

Herzog

about 10 years ago

Over Thanksgiving I brought my dad out to one of the popular pull offs just past Brighton Beach to admire the sunset.  Sometimes this place is clean, other times it's full of trash.  This time there were about five used condoms, wrappers, spermicidal lubricant debris, twelve packs of empty beer bottles, detergent containers, and a deer carcass, sans legs and head, sort of propped up in the bush, no doubt poached from Lester.  It looked kind of silly. 

This preposterous display of barbarity couldn't have gone much further, unless maybe they had stapled some pornography to the tree, and hung the buck's entrails around the whole morbid scene. 

Did climate influence their decision to shit-stain this whole area? We won't know without further studies. But nasty weather does make people more introverted and introspective. As heat makes them slower, sometimes angrier, which also may lead to more interactions.  

Southerners may appear more easygoing than northerners because of this, as many have noticed, but offering up examples of who is a nice Duluthian doesn't provide any clues to geo-social patterns. Taos has upward of 300 days of sun a year, however, the effects of its radioactive materials in the soil, and their effects on social behaviors are as yet to be determined, just as the effects of whatever chemical stews we're ingesting here in Duluth from Cargill and the like are, unknown. 

Maybe the question is, moreover, how do local chemicals influence human behavior, such as excess consumption of strong beer brought on by crappy weather in moldy dungeon-like settings, while cringing to some post-pop punk shattering your faith in humanity?

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

Here's a related story from MPR.

Barrett Chase

about 9 years ago

Another related story from the New York Times: Friends of a Certain Age

xterrabuzz

about 9 years ago

This was passed onto me by a transplant down in the Twin Cities.  

MPR: "How welcoming is Minnesota to newcomers?"

I had to laugh cause I was able to relate to every point the host brought up. I've lived all over the country and Duluth is by the far the most difficult place to fit into. "Minnesota Nice -- more like Minnesota passive aggressive." 

I'm very lucky to live in such a beautiful place, but like Barrett mentioned all of my friends are transplants. I thinks it's a bit sad that born-and-raised Duluthians still do not deem me worthy of being a friend.  I hope you give the cast above a listen and comment.  Peace. J

Claire

about 9 years ago

I am a transplant, and the mother of a native Duluthian. I have lived in lots of places -- including a small farm town, a very large city, and two amazing college towns, before moving here. The large city was the hardest place in which to make friends. All my friends in Philly were college friends or people I met at work. In Duluth... I have plenty of friends who are amazing and make me want to stay here even in the dark of winter. I don't care whether or not they are transplants, I just care if we can relate and I like being with them. People should stop worrying about whether their friends are Duluth natives or transplants and just hang with people they like and can relate to.

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Eat Downtown!

Kate and I have been Eating Downtown lately, part of the annual promotion of downtown restaurants.

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