Well, swell. Our thin Minnesota skins have earned us a new national reputation.
Presumably, this all started when the New York Times claimed grape salad was a staple of our Thanksgiving diets last year and Minnesota reacted with horror and a way-too-serious response.
It’s likely the Washington Post knew all about our thin skins when it trolled us with its ranking of the most beautiful counties in the country, as gauged by scenery and climate.
Of course it was a subjective list; all of these lists are subjective. Just check out the map and notice how some of the most beautiful areas of the country are listed as “average” for proof.
The least beautiful county in the United States: Red Lake. Our Red Lake County.
Minnesotans circled the wagons, which only made it worse. A subsequent reference by the Post blogger referred to “Indignant Minnesota Twitter.”
As someone who grew up in the heart of "ugly country" on this map, I hereby declare this map garbage. https://t.co/wlOYnvYgcY
— Matt Privratsky (@mattprivratsky) August 17, 2015
All of this, of course, played right into the hands of Washington Post blogger Christopher Ingraham, who today feigned a mea culpa, while clearly delighting in the opportunity to (a) get a blog post on a slow day and (b) double down on Minnesota’s flaws.
Soon, the denizens of self-proclaimed “Indignant Minnesota Twitter” started sending photos and testimonials to refute the notion that Minnesota is somehow lacking in beauty of natural amenities.
This isn’t going to end well.
Now, here’s the interesting part. Minnesota wasn’t the only state that doesn’t look great according to the USDA’s natural amenities scale. Iowa and Delaware don’t have any counties ranking at average beauty or above. A number of states — North Dakota, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin among them — have just one or two counties of at least average beauty.
But I didn’t hear a single word of protest from folks in these states. No sarcastic Delaware hashtags. No photo tributes to the natural splendor of Indiana. No petitions from outraged North Dakotans. Only Minnesotans have taken a public stand to defend their state’s honor. Why? I asked some of the folks I’d heard from what the deal was.
Fair enough. So if Red Lake County isn’t the least-beautiful place in the nation, what actually is? I posed this question to Privratsky. “I wouldn’t be doing my job as a born and bred Minnesotan if I didn’t tell people to avoid Wisconsin,” he said.
Franken was more pointed in his response. “A survey taken in the Franken office determined that the least desirable place to live in the country is actually inside the Washington Post’s headquarters,” he said.
In case you’re not from Minnesota, Ingraham took a blow torch to us using classic Minnesota passive aggressiveness.
Let it go, Minnesota.
He works for Jeff Bezos.