What is it with our obsession with the “elusive Minnesota connection” news filter?
“Minnesota’s Night to Shine” blares the Star Tribune from its doorstep position today. Inside, there was plenty of documentation of how people who knew natives Joel and Ethan Coen were considered “kind of creepy” by some people who knew them growing up.
The obsession with Diablo Cody as a Minnesotan is harder to understand, beyond the overreaching attempts to make the Oscars seem relevant to you, presuming that unless a “Minnesotan” is involved, you couldn’t possibly be interested in — let alone understand — the event.
Perhaps tomorrow’s headline will carry this bulletin: Diablo Cody is not from Minnesota. She moved here in 2003 to live with a guy she met on the Internet, wrote a little for City Pages, did some stripping, and then got the heck out of here. This has now earned her the distinction of being referred to as “former Twin Citian.” People have spent more time here waiting for a connection out at the airport. And as anyone knows who has ever moved to Minnesota and tried to fit in among the natives, it takes more than a few years to be a Minnesotan.
For the record, MPR is just as guilty. Witness this collection of stories in the last few days:
Meanwhile, down at the Chicago Tribune, Cody’s hometown newspaper, the headline is: “‘Old Men’ the big winner,” and “Coens take four statues.” Why? Because that’s the story and Chicagoans apparently are interested in the story. A mention of Cody does not mention her place of birth.
This is not a new phenomenon, of course. We claim Judy Garland as one of us. She — then known as Frances Ethel Gumm — left when she was 3 and not filled with memories of the Gopher State.
And, of course, we still treat Mary Tyler Moore as “one of us” because her fictional character on a fictional show about a fictional news station was set — but not filmed — in Minneapolis. We even put a statue up in the middle of our real downtown.
The newsies think you won’t care about a story if it doesn’t involve a Minnesotan. Are they right?