Morning Ed: United States {2017.07.04.Tu}

[US0]

[US1] North Carolina has a new island.

[US2] I was prepared to side with the school here, but really they’re just being an ass. They have the right to do what they want as far as this goes, but I’d be less inclined to send my kid there than if they simply let the girl play on the boy’s team or had just let the matter drop after they won.

[US3] A smartphone app saves an Iowa baby’s life, and a mother in Texas dies saving her child.

[US4] Politico explains how New York City created Donald Trump.

[US5] Tanvi Misra writes on how Asian-Americans remade suburbia.

[US6] Sometimes my wife and I yell at the TV things like “Why is that ‘Memphis native’ speaking with a Georgian accent?!”

[US7] We could just move the Court there anyway, you know?

[US8] The sincerity and suffocation of life in the midwest.

[US9] Here’s a list of the 20 quirkiest cities in the US. Austin, New Orleans, and Portland taking the first three spots doesn’t surprise me… but Kansas City’s presence on the list (#8) does!


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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31 thoughts on “Morning Ed: United States {2017.07.04.Tu}

  1. [US4] Politico explains how New York City created Donald Trump.

    That is a very charitable description of that article. A better one would be “Politico outlines some facts from Donald Trump’s past, randomly sets them against some other events from NY in the 70s and 80s and asserts a flimsy connection.”

    Donald Trump doesn’t say ridiculous and incorrect things about cities, because he is stuck in some retrograde version of New York. He says ridiculous and incorrect things about cities, because there is a political audience for it. Just like there is a political audience for specious explanations for Donald Trump.

    Having grown up in New York in the 70s, 80s and 90s and having a profound dislike for Donald Trump that predates his entry into politics, I will say this. Trump is in large measure a creation of the New York tabloids. But the New York tabloids are a sort of cartoon over-characterization of life in New York.

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    • “He says ridiculous and incorrect things about cities, because there is a political audience for it.”

      Do you think…
      A) Trump is consciously aware of what there is a political audience for and deliberately tailors his message accordingly.
      B) Trump responds viscerally to the reactions he gets and when saying such things leads to hooting and hollering, he says more of such things.
      C) Trump is immune to feedback and just says whatever the F comes to the top of his brain at that moment.

      I think the correct-est answer is D- All of the above, so I guess I’m curious why you think seems to be the driving factor behind his more ridiculous and incorrect statements more often than the rest.

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      • I spent a fair amount of time during the election wondering which one of these Trump was. And ultimately I decided that it was probably some combination, but that I didn’t really care. Whether planned, accidental or some combination of both, Trump struck a nerve. The more important question is whether Trump is an anomaly or a harbinger.

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      • I’m torn on A because it does seem like the kind of marketing-branding he would be good at but also is giving him too much credit.

        B and C work for me though.

        I think the part of the essay that makes sense is where it talks about his outer-boroughness. For people of our grandparents and parents generation, Brooklyn and Queens were places you escaped from and Manhattan held all the glory. This was true for artists and it was true for someone who wanted to be among the upper-echelon like Trump.

        When I graduated college in 2002, people were starting to move to Brooklyn first (and later Queens) because Manhattan was too expensive. It took my parents years to get that Brooklyn was no longer the backwater.

        Trump’s aesthetic is rather different than the rest of the upper-crust elite in Manhattan. He is too audacious and ostentatious. He also happened to grow up in a very racist family and this has been shown through out his life by various biographers. His father did not want to rent to black people and his parents worried about the first Jews who moved to Jamaica Estates and what they would do to the neighborhood.

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  2. US5: My suburban high school on Long Island was about 50 percent Jewish and 25 percent Asian when I attended in the 1990s. According to wikipedia, the school is now 50 percent Asian, 40 percent white (most of whom are probably Jewish), 9 percent Hispanic/Latino, and 2 percent Black. I’m curious about how the school changed in terms of balance of subject matters.

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  3. US6: I’m sure we remember this video going viral back in 2014
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyyT2jmVPAk

    But if you don’t have the budget to hire a for-real British person for your production, just have your actor/actress watch Oliver Twist and 1960’s interviews with the Beatles. Sure, your “British” character will have Os and Us that sound Cockney and As, Es, and Is that sound Liverpoolian, but the *IDEA* of being a hoity-toity British aristocrat will be communicated to your audience.

    In the same way, the important thing is to communcate a handful of stereotypes. So if your Os and Us are from Georgia and your As, Es, and Is come from some weird mashup of Kentucky and Mississippi, the general idea of “Southernness” will get to the audience. (Banjo theme from Deliverance starts playing…)

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  4. [US9] KC has a very large Italian population, as well as a very large Irish population.
    One of the big differences between KC & STL was that you could find Italian sausage in any grocer in KC, but it was something of a rarity in STL. That has changed a bit.
    Also, a KC suburb, Overland Park, is the largest city in Kansas.
    The sex trade has always been a big thing in KC. Petticoat Lane is somewhat memorialized. Nowadays, it’s Independence Ave.
    The nation’s only WW I memorial is in KC.
    A number of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings there as well.

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    • My error.

      Although the vast majority of people do believe me to be absolutely perfect, and it’s easy to see why, the fact of the matter is that I am still prone to the occasional factual error.
      Sorry to disappoint.

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    • Also, a KC suburb, Overland Park, is the largest city in Kansas.

      I’m sure their abrupt demotion comes as a shock to the people of Wichita.

      Though it is accurate to say that the Kansas City MO, Metropolitan Area is the largest Metropilitan area of KS, containing three of the state’s five largest cities (#2,3 and 5)

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    • On the other hand, I’m not sure “New York Direct” or “East Coast We’re Gonna Ignore You Unless You And Your Parents, Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, and Their Parents Were Born Here” is much better.

      I think like everything, there are charitable and uncharitable interpretations, or maybe charitable and uncharitable applications – Midwest Nice could be people being evasive, passive-aggressive, and covering stuff up, or it could spring from a genuine desire to avoid open conflict. (I grew up in the midwest and nominally still live there). I am also a conflict-avoider of the first water and when I had a colleague who practiced the “I’m gonna be as bloody direct as I want to, and I don’t care who gets offended” mode, I just avoided him as much as I could.

      It’s just like the Southern “Bless your heart” can mean “I am genuinely sorry for the trouble you are having” or “I am prefacing this unpleasant thing I am about to say about you with a kindness, so you can’t get mad” or even an outright “Fish you”

      Part of it is being able to interpret shades of meaning and pick the right one, part of it is maybe pretending to ignore the more-unpleasant meanings of it.

      (Usually when I hear “bless your heart” it’s genuine sympathy, though I once had a woman – who had two hellion children at the post office and it was apparently my fault they ran into me – say “I’ll pray for you” with a truly frightening degree of venom in her voice)

      I dunno; I feel like the TL DR of that article is probably “People everywhere are awful, to Hell with them.”

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      • “East Coast We’re Gonna Ignore You Unless You And Your Parents, Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, and Their Parents Were Born Here”

        Eh? That’s not East Coast, except possibly in blue-blood WASP circles. Among normal people, that attitude would be bizarre. I think of it as classic small town. I suspect with small towns dying out, the new attitude is “thrilled to have someone move here!” The exception may be towns that are transitioning into exurbs, with the established families thinking of it as an established community with its own identity, responding to newcomers who treat it as a bedroom community for the big city.

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        • I think she is referring to the fact that New England is proud of being very very old compared to most of the rest of the United States. New England is old enough that their country club is just called The Country Club (in Brookline, Mass). There is also “The Lodges only speak to the Cabots and the Cabots only speak to God.”

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      • I will second Richard below. The kind of attitude you see as Northeast is largely dead and gone. Maybe there are some really old WASPs that are still like that in Boston and Maine but not many other places. And by old, I mean they are over 75. Probably over 80.

        Though Boston-wealth and New York-wealth show themselves in very different ways. Boston and Philadelphia wealth is still more about “this is my grandfather’s tweed jacket” over New York wealth which was always more showy and comfortable with spending money even if they find Trump too vulgar.

        I’m a New York direct kind of guy myself.

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        • Well I’ll say this, if those people are still around, I’m unlikely to know it. After all, what social situation would I be in where I’d be 1) aware they exist and 2) care what they think of me? They’re unlikely to be at either the queer dance party or Haskell Meetup group.

          I actually rather like the (for lack of a better term) bluntness of the northeast. It’s very clear and efficient.

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  5. US8: My beloved grandmother always told me “It has often been forefended: least said is soonest mended.” It was her personal motto and probably encapsulates why I found it so easy to fit into the Minnesotan vibe. I rather like the Midwest Nice.

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    • One thing I do like about the Midwest is the willingness of the people to engage in friendly small talk. Especially after I moved to Seattle.

      I tell recent arrivals from the Midwest that finding our fellows is easy, they’re the people that talk to you.

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      • When I was younger, I could go into the “touristy” part of any sizeable city in the US and at some point real tourists would pick me out of the crowd and ask directions or explanations about what they were seeing. One time while I was working on the East Coast my aunt, uncle, and I went into Manhattan to do touristy things. I had told them about the being-asked phenomenon. At some point while going around the observation deck of the World Trade Center, a Japanese couple came picking their way through the crowd, started asking me questions, and wouldn’t stop. My aunt and uncle were rolling on the floor laughing.

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      • I’ve heard the same thing about Portland and Seattle. People have very tight and closed off friends circles and it can be hard to join if you aren’t already part of one. I only spent a few days in each city and found them fun.

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      • Like everything, there’s good and bad. I’ve been buttonholed in store check-out lines and be told the history of Someone’s Very Bad Gall Bladder Removal because apparently they needed to talk about it.

        The good side is always having someone to commiserate with about how long the line is or how terrible the store is at restocking….

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  6. US7 – the Supreme Court security footprint is tiny compared to the other two branches.

    I’d sooner move the President to a mountain retreat so as to clear up some valuable downtown real estate and restore e-w surface transit cooridors.

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    • “I’d sooner move the President to a mountain retreat so as to clear up some valuable downtown real estate and restore e-w surface transit cooridors.”

      I always said the same about UC Berkeley. Well, north-south corridors…

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