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Media portrayals of Twin Cities leaving some St. Paulites ‘deflated’

As members of the national media trek across the Twin Cities, they continue to unravel the sibling rivalry between St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Monica Davey examined it in an Aug. 30 New York Times piece headlined “Shared Convention Billing Sets Off a Bout of Sibling Rivalry.” The article began: 

“After all the geographic gaffes, the snickers, the years of slights, it was a final affront, some who wandered this downtown grumbled this week. Here, on a screaming red sign plastered to the side of the Xcel Energy Center, the Republicans’ convention hall that sits squarely, unambiguously in the city of St. Paul, were these enormous words: Minneapolis-St. Paul.

“These were irksome reminders to some locals who have spent years, even generations, trying to convince the rest of the world that St. Paul really is its own separate, legitimate, worthy (perhaps even superior) city — despite what its bigger, more confident sibling to the west may whisper to the contrary.”

Carol Connolly, St. Paul’s poet laureate, got another chance to weigh in, telling the New York Times: “The convention is in St. Paul, and we should just say that. I think it’s dopey to say anything else, just dopey.”

The Chicago Tribune’s political guru John McCormick, a Roseville native, chimed in Tuesday. His lead: “It has been surprising just how many well-educated and worldly people say they will attend the Republican National Convention in ‘Minneapolis.’

“For a St. Paul native (born two blocks from the convention center and raised in a suburb just a few miles away),” he wrote, “it triggers a cringe the moment it is heard.”

The depiction of St. Paul as an overlooked, dejected twin persisted as the media reported hurricane-induced convention cuts. “The Republican National Convention was supposed to be this city’s chance to pull even with its bigger, richer, slicker ‘twin.’ Once again, however, St. Paul has been eclipsed — not by Minneapolis, but by a city at the other end of the Mississippi,” Rick Hampson wrote in a USA Today piece Monday.

 “I sense this real flagging, deflated feeling,” Brian Horrigan, a St. Paul resident and curator at the Minnesota Historical Society, told USA Today. That phrase wound up in the headline, “St. Paul gets ‘deflated feeling.’ “

 And yet, this much can be said: The convention has educated a number of people — reporters and delegates alike — about the term Twin Cities. In doing so, they heeded the final line in John McCormick’s piece:

“So here’s some advice from a local: If you’re not sure which city you’re in, just say you are in the Twin Cities.”

Christina Capecchi writes about culture and the social impact of technology. Capecchi can be reached at ccapecchi [at] minnpost [dot] com.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Erik Ostrom on 09/03/2008 - 02:14 pm.

    Of course it’s wrong to say the convention is in Minneapolis, but I thought Bob Collins had a good point:

    “The arena at which the nightly sessions are held is in St. Paul; that’s true. But a convention is much more than the nightly session. Many of the official events of the week will be at the Minneapolis Convention Center. And the “core” of the convention is usually at “the official convention hotel.” That’s in Minneapolis (the Hyatt Regency).”

    He goes on to point out that most of the delegates will be staying on the Nicollet Mall or at the Mall of America.

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/03/2008 - 03:09 pm.

    Thomas Swift: Dave Thune is the only city official I know of who is standing up for the Constitution and the rights it guarantees to all of us as Americans.

    We may be a lot closer to fascism that any of us can guess, what with the Patriot Act, the War on Terror (and the authorization to use military action), and, most recently, new pending rules that would give the FBI the power to conduct long-term investigations/surveillances of US citizens WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE OF OR SUSPICION OF WRONGDOING. A hunch will do, thanks very much. (See “Senators: FBI rules could target innocent people,” by Lara Jakes Jordan, AP article in the Washington Post of August 20.)

    So thank God every day that there are still people fighting to save our civil rights.

  3. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/03/2008 - 12:48 pm.

    Saint Paul should feel deflated.

    Through their elected officials, councilman Dave Thune in particular, the city has taken a once in a life timie opportunity and “p*ssed” all over it…literally.

    I’ve heard several delegates remark about Mr. Thune’s “Republicans puking on their shoes” comment, and the fact that Mr. Thune ensured that his feces and urine throwing friends had a place to retire to after running low on bodily waste projectiles and busses to attack (the Smith Ave. compound), has not gone unnoticed.

    On the other hand, several of the delegates I spoke with yesterday mentioned their high praise for the cities of Bloomington and Eagan…which is where many of them are going for entertainment after the convention.

    Even Minneapolis had the common sense to restrain their spittle flecked leftists for the good of the larger population.

    During the planning stages of the convention, the citizens of Saint Paul have made their voices heard, loud and clear…so they should not be surprised then their tear stained laments now that the party has moved to friendlier climes.

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