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Being Midwestern Nice

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Being Midwestern Nice

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  • #362839

    Sandersen
    Member

    Andrew Hall wrote >>

    Sandersen wrote
    There is a “prove yourself,” or maybe more appropriately, a “prove you’re not an asshole” theme amongst a lot of people here that may seem like a noble, no-bullshit approach, but really (I think) lies in a basic insecurity and just downright willful general ignorance.

    The Midwestern temperament doesn’t have a lower tolerance for arrogance/assholery, it has a lower threshold for making that determination.
    A.

    That’s a great clarification. To assume that anyone is arrogant, an asshole, or both, requires an inherent belief that you yourself are not any of those things (for the most part, apart from the Gordon Gecko crowd). And if the Midwest as a general body believes that they have an excellent bullshit detector they can deploy on any victim they deem an asshole…it begs the question: What fucking basis does the Midwest (or anyone) have to claim divining status like that?

    I’m not necessarily saying the Midwest is like that….but the idea of a collective group of people having a superior sense of reality about them is basically the equivalent of a bunch of scared, insecure people all together agreeing to stare at the ground and collectively ridicule anyone who tells them there is a sky.

    #362840

    lisathewaitress
    Participant

    jackoh wrote >>

    lisathewaitress wrote
    If I were in New York, I could just flat out tell him not to be such an asshole. Here in the Midwest, I have to be nice.

    Why is that? What is the difference?

    because restaurants there don’t put up with the crap we do here.

    #362841

    Andrew Hall
    Member

    lisathewaitress wrote >>

    jackoh wrote >>

    lisathewaitress wrote
    If I were in New York, I could just flat out tell him not to be such an asshole. Here in the Midwest, I have to be nice.

    Why is that? What is the difference?

    because restaurants there don’t put up with the crap we do here.

    That is a fantasy. Assholery is universally distributed.

    I am sorry you had such a bad customer. I empathize and deal with it regularly – I am in the service industry. It is not about arrogance in the least though. There are some people who are determined to not be happy and the best you can do is (nicely) ensure they are unhappy elsewhere as fast as possible. Add alcohol to the equation and those people get worse.

    A.

    #362842

    Tenzo
    Participant

    Nitsud Regnifloh wrote >>
    Midwestern nice = receiving a reach-around while getting screwed, right?
    :)

    Yeah, I miss getting stabbed in the front like I did on the east coast. Here people will smile and tell you how much they like your tie, while putting a ‘kick me’ sign on your back. West coast is more cliqish, ‘we don’t do stabbing, man’.

    IMHO Columbus is midwestern nice with a slight overlap of the bible belt. Being invited to so many bible studies by friends and strangers when I first came here, was a little ‘children of the corn’/’body snatchers’ creepy.

    A few people have mentioned Philly. You can’t imagine the racial hatred and tension. There was just so much hate. Having grown up in Chicago I enjoyed sampling different ethnic heritages. In Philly I was often told; “This is not for you.” meaning no whites allowed.
    (sorry, mini-rant)

    Outside of the Univeristy, people here seem genuinly surprised that you speak their language. I find that amusing. At the Latino fest I felt like I was being treated as an outsider. After speaking to them in Spanish, ‘Midwestern nice’ kicked in big time.

    #362843

    joev
    Participant

    Sandersen wrote >> That’s a great clarification. To assume that anyone is arrogant, an asshole, or both, requires an inherent belief that you yourself are not any of those things (for the most part, apart from the Gordon Gecko crowd). And if the Midwest as a general body believes that they have an excellent bullshit detector they can deploy on any victim they deem an asshole…it begs the question: What fucking basis does the Midwest (or anyone) have to claim divining status like that?

    I can tell if a person is an asshole by watching how they treat other people. It’s easy. Someone who treats others like shit when he or she can get away with it is an asshole.

    #362844

    rus
    Participant

    Tenzo wrote >>

    A few people have mentioned Philly. You can’t imagine the racial hatred and tension. There was just so much hate. Having grown up in Chicago I enjoyed sampling different ethnic heritages. In Philly I was often told; “This is not for you.” meaning no whites allowed.
    (sorry, mini-rant)

    Seen that sort of thing in a few places. Thankfully, I can’t say I’ve seen it around here.

    #362845

    Snarf
    Participant

    Where is that “I’m an asshole” song when we need it

    #362846

    Tenzo
    Participant

    Snarf wrote >>
    Where is that “I’m an asshole” song when we need it

    What, you looking for a theme song?

    #362847

    Andrew Hall
    Member

    joev wrote >>

    Sandersen wrote >> That’s a great clarification. To assume that anyone is arrogant, an asshole, or both, requires an inherent belief that you yourself are not any of those things (for the most part, apart from the Gordon Gecko crowd). And if the Midwest as a general body believes that they have an excellent bullshit detector they can deploy on any victim they deem an asshole…it begs the question: What fucking basis does the Midwest (or anyone) have to claim divining status like that?

    I can tell if a person is an asshole by watching how they treat other people. It’s easy. Someone who treats others like shit when he or she can get away with it is an asshole.

    Your version is anodyne.

    The problem is that Midwesterners – as a general rule – have over-sensitivities (compared to others) as to what constitutes treating like shit. That subjectivity is the real rub which constitutes the subject, not examples of assholery which would be universal.

    A.

    #362848

    MikeReed
    Participant

    jackoh wrote >>

    lisathewaitress wrote
    If I were in New York, I could just flat out tell him not to be such an asshole. Here in the Midwest, I have to be nice.

    Why is that? What is the difference?

    It’s cultural. In Amsterdam they will tell you if they don’t feel like making something you’ve ordered because it is too much trouble and they just don’t feel like it or they are too busy. I can see how Americans (and especially midwesterners) might think that is rude and unheard of. But the culturally appropriate response is *shrug* ok… What are the other options…

    #362849

    Bear
    Participant

    MikeReed wrote >>
    Where I see the gap between Midwestern nice and generally just being nice is that Midwestern nice won’t simply give it to you straight- good or bad.
    And Midwestern nice wants everyone to get along in spite of very reL philosophical differences. MW nice won’t call bullshit… But will instead form a mob against those who do.

    I wonder if the result isn’t a degree of obliqueness that borders on passive-aggressive behavior. For example, it’s not acceptable to observe that someone’s statement was incorrect or his/her behavior is out of line, so instead it’s said to be “interesting” — in the hopes that the speaker can convey those things without actually being sanctioned for having done so.

    #362850

    MikeReed
    Participant

    At the end of the day catering to peoples propensity to get hurt feelings (calling something interesting versus wrong, for example) is a huge disservice. It’s like telling some who stepped in crap that they smell aromatic. The problem is one can smell crap on one’s own shoe, but people have an amazing ability to start believing the words that come out of their own mouths- regardless of how true or accurate they are.

    Meanwhile the guy with shit in his shoe can continue to walk around that way all day until some replaces “aromatic” with, “you smell like shit”

    #362851

    Chris Sunami
    Participant

    Actually, I’ve always thought of people from Columbus as more critical, more confrontational and less willing to go-along-to-get-along than the norm.

    I remember the first time I lived outside of Columbus was the summer before I started college. A group of five young people from Columbus lived in Boston over the summer along with others from across the United States (part of a prep for the City Year expansion).

    The Columbusites were definitely the trouble-makers of the group. We were outspoken, questioning of authority and aggressive about getting our way, at least in comparison to everyone else.

    I still think, by in large, Columbusites are contrarians. I also think there’s a certain sense of cynicism, skepticism, and free thinking that flourishes here. Maybe it’s a reaction against the conformism others have mentioned.

    #362852

    jackoh
    Participant

    Bear wrote

    For example, it’s not acceptable to observe that someone’s statement was incorrect or his/her behavior is out of line,

    Well, I guess that means that the posters on the CU threads are definitely not Midwest types!

    #362853

    GW_Justice
    Participant

    Just to elaborate on the “nice” factor – age is a big part of it too.

    Young kids are trained to be nice here, and for the most part follow along. Then as young adults they rebel and get sick of the nice, and the “certain sense of cynicism, skepticism, and free thinking” becomes important. A lot of them move away to experience life outside the midwest nice bubble.

    As you grow older, you get more conservative and that rebellion becomes exhausting and annoying. So you move back to be with people who may not challenge you – but at least they aren’t in your face.

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