Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What Constitutes "The Midwest"?

Last week I complained to y'all on the Stranger Facebook page that Skylar keeps referring to Salt Lake City and Denver as "the Midwest."


Skylar is from Portland and his general lack of knowledge of any city that isn't somewhat near an ocean is disconcerting.

I need this to stop. I don't have a problem with the Midwest. But I do have a problem with misinformation.

I have explained to Skylar on several occasions that this area is, at most, called the "Mountain West," but he usually dismisses this with a wave of the hand and a condescending up-turned head shake.

It is very obnoxious to argue with Skylar because of this exact type of argument strategy. How can I argue with a condescending head shake? I invented the condescending head shake. I invented it because you can't argue with it.

But this isn't the worst thing he does. The worst thing he does is take a point I made, act like I made that point to some extreme, poke a hole in that extreme, and then congratulate himself for winning the argument.

For example, this is a real argument we had yesterday:

Eli: You Millenials and your participation trophies . . .

Skylar: I love that you think participation trophies have caused every problem in the world.

Eli: Wait, what--

Skylar: Did participation trophies cause climate change? Or the financial crisis of 2008? Or the conflict in the Middle East? What about cancer? Do you seriously think participation trophies are the cause of cancer?!

Eli: I never said--

Skylar: Ha! So you agree that participation trophies are not the cause of all problems!

Eli: Of course I agree--


Do you see what I'm dealing with? This is a horrible person and he must be stopped. So that's why I secretly and passive-aggressively took to Facebook so you all could validate me on the whole Midwest thing.

My plan was to wait until your answers reached a critical mass and then send the link to Skylar so he could be told he was wrong by people who aren't just me.

You were helpful. You were appropriately condescending. You publicly shamed Skylar. You made assumptions about his mother that were unfair but effective. Then some of you even posted maps to prove that Salt Lake City is not part of the Midwest.

Sandy posted this one:

Mike posted this one:

Megan posted this one:

This was enough for me. So I proudly sent Skylar the link and waited. And waited. And waited. And he didn't respond. And I thought that maybe he was so overwhelmed with his defeat that he just couldn't bring himself to say words.

Later that day he was at my house and I congratulated myself for the victory. Skylar said he didn't know what I was talking about. I directed him to the link that he hadn't yet seen.

He opened a laptop and started reading. After a while I heard angry typing and clicking. I walked into the room and saw him aggressively working, making facial expressions as he clanked away on the device, facial expressions that made him look like a sassy middle-aged mother who just found out Fortify got cut from marching band.

And then a notification came to my phone. It was Skylar's reply:

In case you can't read it:
Blue=Coastal Elite
Pink=Who Even Knows

Eli: Did you seriously just take time out of your life to create this map?


Eli: I give you points for creativity, but then take them away for pretentiousness. 

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Hilarious. The first looks like a time zone map. The second is perfect. The third one is horrible. Indiana and Ohio are totally in the Midwest.

    I always thought it was funny when I lived in Utah, locals would say I was from "back east" and when I lived in Maine people would say I was from "out west." I was just left wondering why no one seemed to have heard of the Midwest. (Which, with our current coast-to-coast country, is no longer a region name that makes very much sense. Mideast would be more accurate.)

  2. Ok, so I considered Utah in the midwest too... so I side with Skylar on this one, I mean what y'all are calling the midwest should technically just be called the mid, because it's not very west, seriously! Skylar for the win! Ha ha ha

  3. You are hilarious!

  4. I agree with Michelle - the second map is correct - although I always struggle with being grouped with Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska, which I always considered Plains states myself - Michigan is MOST DEFINITELY a Midwest State and Utah is not.

    Skylar is geographically challenged (which is a nice way of saying he's being a pretentious nitwit).

    1. I'm from Michigan and I never considered it Midwest. Mid something, but not west.

    2. Splat - your educational system failed you - I am sorry for that . . . . . Were you potentially from the U.P.? Because that would explain it - I've lived on the east side and the west side of the state and I've never met another native Michigander that did not consider themselves Midwestern.

  5. I love Skylar's argument strategy. I'm going to try this with my husband.

  6. The definition of the Midwest greatly varies based on where a person lives.
    For example, I spent time in Nebraska which I consider the Midwest, as do Nebraskans.
    I then spent time in Michigan which I also consider the Midwest, as do Michiganders. But neither the Nebraskans nor the Michiganders consider the other part of the Midwest.

    But being a Utahn, Utah is DEFINITELY not the Midwest. No place with mountains is part of the Midwest.

  7. As someone who is also from the Costal Elite area of Portland, Oregon and who also is currently living in Utah, I completely understand Skylar's confusion about what in the heck group Utah belongs to. I've always considered it the Mountain West.

    However, the real important discussion we should be having here is that by no definition is any part of Idaho a part of the Pacific Northwest. We barely accept eastern Washington. (Seemed like a good opportunity for that PSA.)

  8. I'm from East TN and we do say Y'all, frequently. And I'm sure if you asked Matt "Pants" he should verify if he's the self respecting southerner I believe he is that NO ONE from below the Mason Dixon line is in the Midwest. So Skylar might want to update that map of his, please and thank you. But bless his pretentious heart for trying.

  9. I grew up in Ohio and we didn't know we were from the Midwest. I'm not sure where we thought we were from, maybe the Great Lakes Region or something. I didn't find out I was from the Midwest until I went to university in upstate New York and I was "the Midwestern girl." There were only a few of us there and we banded together to survive the culture shock.

    1. Hey! I'm from Ohio too and I never considered it Midwest, I really thought the Midwest was more west than us lol. I think they need to update those terms, maybe we are Mideast but definitely shouldn't be considered midwest!

    2. I'm also from Ohio and always considered it the Midwest. I live in Illinois now and am still in the Midwest. Basically, if you know how to play Euchre, then you're from the Midwest.

      Sorry Skyler, but you are wrong.

  10. I went to high school in Indiana, and we definitely considered ourselves part of the Midwest, so map number two is correct. Skylar must have just gotten Midwest and Mountain West confused.

    We currently live in Mississippi while my husband's in grad school (maybe Rebecca and I are neighbors now! Or Matt's family!), and a guy at the health department asked where we were from because my accent is obviously not Southern. I said Utah, and he said, "Oh yeah, back west. I knew it because you sound like my choir director at church... He's from South Dakota." Yeah, since I may never see him again, I didn't bother correcting him, but inside I said, "Huh?!"

    1. Where are you? Becky is in Meridian and she needs friends!

    2. Red Dirt Girl by Emmylou Harris mentions Meridian MS. Meridian is the BIG city! I doubt Rebecca will be friendless in Meridian for long, it's the South! The South is famous for good hospitality and lifelong friends!

  11. Eli, I am sorry to break this to you, but you are a millenial

  12. I am from Wisconsin - which along with Minnesota - and maybe with others (the UP of Michigan?? North Dakota??) - I consider the UPPER midwest! Hoot hoot. But that is not on any of your maps. :-)

  13. To be fair, Skylar's map is exactly what we are all dutifully taught in the PNW.

  14. As someone who takes geography VERY seriously, I take great offense with Skylar's perception of the country, and for that matter his ENTIRE system of arguing. One cannot simply walk into Mordor... I mean an argument, attempt to poke one hole in it and declare himself the winner.

    Regions I think should be defined by the locals. I love the third map because it has so much variety, but I'm not sure if the names are all accurate. For example, my friend currently living in Kansas assures me that Kansans refer to their area as "the Heartland" and the area around Ohio, Indiana, Illinois as the "Midwest."

  15. Skylar is wrong. Skylar confuses Midwest with Counties that went read during the election. Skylar likes to freeze pickles and eat them as a popsicle, but only if they are Kosher. Skylar forcefully blew into what he thought was a nintendo game cartridge until he woke up and realized it was his dogs ribs

  16. I think Skylar should be banished to Canada.

  17. I actually take the biggest issue with the fact that Skylar extends the costal elite so far down the east coast. Coastal elite stops after Virginia, for sure. And I should know, I'm a member of said Coastal Elite.