I was listening to MPR News the other day.
I heard a “Jennifer Vogel” on the air. She’s working for MPR’s “Ground Level” project. Her mission – and that of the “Ground Level Project” – “focuses on complex issues playing out in Minnesota’s cities and towns”
Check out the page above. Ms. Vogel is spending all sorts of time in Greater Minnesota.
She sounded familiar.
So I checked the archives. Yep – it’s the same Jennifer Vogel who wrote the seminan patricial classist rant, “F**k The Suburbs“, for a Seattle version of a City Pages-style Village Voice knockoff – an article which provided us all sorts of fun in this space back in 2004.
Minneapolis and St. Paul sit on either side of the upper Mississippi River, in what amounts to the middle of nowhere. For three hundred miles in any direction, there are no cities of size, only prairie, gas stations, and big open sky. We may be on the Mississippi but no one comes here by boat. There are no containers from Japan piling up on the dock. People arrive by bus and car, dusty and road-worn, mostly from the small towns of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas–places where ambitious and misunderstood kids grow up despising their parents’ lives.
OK, a lot of us who move from what Vogel calls “The Big Nowhere” think those sorts of things – at one point or another.
But Vogel – like most writers for freebie lifestyle ‘zines, and by “most” I mean “every one I’ve ever met“, who are by the way white and upper-middle-class to a geometric fault – saw racists behind the hedges:
As the city changed, the “family values” folks moved away. However, they didn’t move all the way away. Oh, no. They moved to the suburbs. Tract housing began to sprawl in all directions as many wild-eyed whities climbed over each other to get the hell out of town. And good riddance, I say. Except that these defenders of all that’s wholesome have formed a band around the city, a ring of red that’s threatening to strangle the very idea of beneficent government.
You get the idea.
Read the whole, depressing thing. Or don’t. You really do get the idea; Vogel hates conservatives, and seems to loathe the sort of people…
…that MPR has her reporting on today.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t begrudge that she got a job. They’re hard to get in that racket these days. A lefty “Journo”‘s gotta wait until a generation of former Strib and WCCO reporters dies off before they can hope for a gig at a non-profit or in the DFL Comms Office. These are tough times.
And who knows? Maybe Vogel has grown up in the past nine years. Maybe she has learned to see people as more than collections of stereotypes classified by exterior decorating choices, zipcodes, ethnic food preferences and skin tones. Maybe she’ll approach the people she’s reporting in Greater Minnesota with less of the seething, patrician, classist contempt she showed nine years ago.
I do like to believe the best in people.
Yeah. Maybe that’s it.
(PS: Here’s a story idea for Ms. Vogel: More immigrants are moving to the suburbs than the city these days. Sounds like an idea for an article! You’re welcome).