Midwestern Values

Calvin Trillin: Kansas City, Missouri.The heart of America.Well it made me Midwestern, for one thing. And so I think that’s a somewhat different viewpoint . . . kind of worldview that . . . than particularly Easterners have. I always say Easterners are much more given to sort of analytical thinking of the sort that . . . If an Easterner says something like, “Is it an accident that these two things happened?” Midwesterners usually says, “Yeah probably. Probably an accident.” And there’s a sort of an undercutting quality in the Midwest of . . . I mean the worst thing that could happen to you is to have someone tell your mother at the supermarket that you’d gotten too big for your britches. And that’s a particularly Midwestern quality, I think. And I used to make up license plates for various states, or talk about the difference in license plates. License plate mottos I mean, not the numbers. I let them do those themselves. And like some Midwestern states are so modest they don’t actually have mottos on their license plate, and I would make them up. Like Nebraska was “A Long Way Across”. And I always thought that if there had been a regional license plate for the Midwest, the motto would be “No Big Deal”.

 

Recorded on: 9/5/07

 

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The worst thing that could happen to a Midwesterner, Trillin says, is to have someone tell your mother at the supermarket that you'd gotten too big for your britches.

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