Guest Post: Clay’s Minnesota Smug Sighting

For better or worse, Smug Scout is not the only Smug scout. In fact, she is grateful to her Smug compatriots in flyover states and other inhospitable territory for both locating Smug epicenters and photographing local Smug iconography. Smug Scout is starting to think that Minneapolis is a previously unsung Smug epicenter. Please take a look at Clay’s fine work and judge for yourself.

N.B. An undercover Smug scout named Celia decoded the pictograms underneath the Outback logo. Here is her report, apparently from left to right: “1st Subaru, either 100 or 200K miles driven, support for music/arts, environmental awareness, diversity awareness, and bicycling.” Smug Scout finds herself quite bewildered by the cryptic symbols that unlock a Smug world that she never knew a thing about. It may as well be Brigadoon.  Who are all these Smug flyover state residents? How does one sift through all the flat accents, frumpy ice fishing gear, and comatose misogynist Michele Bachmann acolytes to find the Smug underbelly? Smug Scout is on the case!

2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Clay’s Minnesota Smug Sighting

  1. Minnesota smug?

    I’ve lived both on the east coast (Providence) and in the Midwest (Chicago and Minnesota).

    In the Midwest you can find smugness but it’s heavily concentrated in specific geographical areas. Occasionally, you can find it in a suburban town (Evanston, just north of the city of Chicago and home to Northwestern, is a good example). But most often people with smug tastes take refuge in “the city,” congregating in only a handful of neighborhoods. Within those hermetically-sealed worlds, it’s possible to pretend you’re not in the Midwest and surrounded by people who think it is socially acceptable to own an assault rifle. Curiously, creating those enclaves often entailed moving to slums and displacing minorities for whom guns were a very necessary aspect of their lives.

    Is Minnesota a previously unsung smug epicenter? I would be careful: the uptown and “nordeast” neighborhoods of Minneapolis are certainly smug epicenters, as well as the suburb of Edina and the areas around the colleges in St. Paul (the first chapter of Jonathan Franzen’s novel, Freedom, perfectly captures life in one of those neighborhoods). In Chicago, you have a wider selection, but in both cities these neighborhoods are an exception to the rule. After all, Minnesota is home to the Mall of America. It’s not wise to venture out far from these aforementioned safe havens.

    So, if you ever book a cross-country plane ticket with a layover and due to some act of God get stranded for a day in the Midwest, be careful.

    Thankfully, I am about to escape Minnesota for Portland, Maine. It was good to see “the other Portland” get the credit it deserves in the blog!

  2. Hello Drew. Smug Scout was delighted to read this fascinating message. (And she apologizes for the delayed response. She has been much busier scouting than writing.) In fact, she has trips planned to Minneapolis and Chicago this winter (of course: that is the more Smug time to go). She has been to Chicago a number of times and has some favorite Smug spots, but if you have any to share, she would love to hear them. She is more in need of Smug recommendations for Minneapolis, which she only visited once in 1998 and was sorely dismayed to discover its failure to resemble ANY Scandinavian city in ANY way at all. But she believes things are different there now. And she definitely wants to hear more about the Nordic sounding “Nordeast” neighborhood. The name alone is Smug.

    Smug Scout would also like to congratulate you on your move to Portland. Smug Scout LOVES Portland, in fact the original Portland in this country. The Portland in Oregon is in fact “the other Portland.” Smug Scout still believes she needs to visit that second one, though. It must be outrageously Smug!

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