Monday, June 27, 2005

Who Ya Kidding, Folks?

Just about every person over 40 I meet or talk to for my job wants to talk about "Midwestern values."

They always seem to say things like "If you look at our compensation scale, our company exhibits strong Midwestern values," or "We've never had any corporate governance issues because we've always relied on core Midwestern values to dictate our decisions."

My response to these smug little douchebags: You're giant assholes. So just because I live in New York City, I'm automatically a fast-living bad guy with a penchant for big houses and sports cars looking to snort lines off a hooker's diseased ass? (That all may be true, but it's not a given, I just happen to be sick.)

Not everyone in the Midwest is Mrs. Poole. Show me where in the Midwestern value structure the centuries-old corrupt Chicago political machine shows up? How about Detroit's long, storied history of peaceful cooperation in the area of race relations, surely they are a shining beacon of all that is right? Which middle states, AKA bastions of tolerance, overwhelmingly passed amendments banning same-sex marriage in the last election?

But the real reason I'm posting this is because I just watched Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer -- BTK, as in "Bind, Torture, Kill" -- stand in a Kansas courtroom and describe in great detail the 10 brutal murders he carried out over a 17-year period. And it was all matter-of-fact, like he was discussing the last time he bought a gallon of milk and a carton of eggs. Rader at one time was president of the church council at Christ Lutheran Church and a local community Boy Scout leader. At least we can thank the Good Lord for strong Midwestern values.

I'm just saying: There are good people, there are sensible people, there are bad people and there are morons. There's also a handful of other folks. There's no fast East Coast mentality, there's no laid-back West Coast-style. There are only people. We're all different, and most of us are fucked up.


At 12:27 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

If anyone ever said that to me I would immediately swear at them and leave, although I've never heard anyone refer to "Midwestern Values" in the actual midwest before. I suspect they're trying to appear humble.

"Aw-shucks, we're just a poor little midwestern company, please don't take advantage of our old fashioned generosity Mr. big-city fast talker."

You know. Crap like that.

I blame the south for starting the regional affiliation trend.

At 12:28 PM, Blogger Matty Mac said...

I think by Midwestern Values they mean cheap, affordable houses, cars and groceries in Cleveland, Toledo, Rockford and Topeka. They are values and not "sales" because prices are low everyday.

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

While these people might be trying to appear as humble servants of God, I see this phrase as total smugness and passing judgment. It's just another form of passive aggressive, "my life is better than yours because I sip iced tea on the porch with my better half: mentality. But my point here is that it's, for one, not true, and secondly, super annoying.

I also blame the South. Starbux, take a memo: Go home.

At 3:13 PM, Blogger hoobs said...

as a native midwesterner, i am confused by what is meant by midwestern values. are those the same as conservative, red state values? if so, i take offense to that. if it means bratwurst and beer, hockey, nasally scandavian dialects, man boobs, and aretha franklin, then i am strongly for those values...

At 3:50 PM, Blogger TJ in OH said...

"Midwestern Values" is the prick-Midwesterner response to prick-East Coasters that constantly patronize people that don't live on the East Coast. You've probably had to deal with "Midwestern Values" about one percent as often as you've talked down to someone/someplace not in/not New York. Instead of bitching about the superiority complex of East Coasters on blogs, people in the Midwest now infuriate the rest of the country with claims of "Midwestern Values." Chips Ahoy mastered this ploy years ago with "Betcha Bite a Chip," which was unabashed horseshit. Drove the rest of the cookie world nuts. So go fuck yourself. Just kidding about the last part. Not really.

At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 5:06 PM, Blogger ahren said...

i agree that everyone is an individual, and geographical location doesn't necessarilly have anything to do with personality or values or whatever.

but, at the same time, people (either for convergent or divergent reasons-- a different argument) tend to cluster with like-types, and the group behavior in a region tends to center around the mean there, which creates tangible differences.

having grown up in the midwest, lived in boston for 7 years, and now living in las vegas-- these things are really noticable to me. people tend to drive really slow in milwaukee. people tend to be unfriendly, fucking douchebag assholes to strangers on the street in boston, and chicks in las vegas have fake tits.

of course these things aren't true of everybody in the particular region, but there's little doubt that the frequency of each aligns well with geographical location.

whether or not this really defines any sort of "regional value system" is an open question i guess, that really depends on your interpretation of "value system."

but, yeah, i agree that companies looking to play upon these sorts of differences is both funny and stupid.

At 5:07 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

I think this might be the first post in Slack history where I agree with everything that's been said on here (including the "wow" comment).

But TJ, next time I hear any of your guff about Cincinnati's awesome music scene, I'm responding with something about "strong New York aural values."

At 4:33 PM, Blogger Bucher said...

Let's face it - imagination and forward thinking rationality aren't exactly the backbone of the modern business world....


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