Friday, November 21, 2014

Rebranding Minnesota?

Have you seen the coverage of the "rebranding of Minnesota?" There's this blog posting and a Star Tribune article, each of which was triggered by this event at the Walker Museum. I would respectfully suggest that the question of Minnesota's identity is not one that can be readily answered by any brand. Minnesota is large (84,397 square miles), the 12th largest state in area. By comparison, all six New England states total 66,507 square miles and half of that is in Maine.

Bob Dylan Way sign
Minnesota brand?
Photo by J. Harrington

Minnesota is home to four different biomes and, as of 2000, about 71% of its population was urban. We have Lake Superior, the North Woods, mining and agriculture and forestry and the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area and Fortune 500 company headquarters and lord knows how many professional sports teams and venues and ...  So, although I wasn't able to attend the Walker's event, I am curious about what it is folks think we should be branding and to whom? Personally, I though we were on the right track when Time magazine branded us as the state that works and home to the good life. I suppose, now that we're in the twenty-first century, that might not be considered good enough, or is it that we fear we can no long deliver on either promise? If we're just looking for an update, we could try "the sustainable state," conveying the idea we intend to be here for a long, long time and support balanced economy, equity and ecology. You know, an aspirational brand. Or, if we really want a tag line, how about "Minnesota, where you can have it all?"

Mississippi River in the Twin Cities
Minnesota brand?
Photo by J. Harrington

Chanson Philosophique

By Timothy Steele 

The nominalist in me invents
A life devoid of precedents.
The realist takes a different view:
He claims that all I feel and do
Billions of others felt and did
In history’s Pre-me period.

Arguing thus, both voices speak
A partial truth. I am unique,
Yet the unceasing self-distress
Of desire buffets me no less
Than it has other sons of man
Who’ve come and gone since time began.

The meaning, then, of this dispute?
My life’s a nominal/real pursuit,
Which leaves identity clear and blurred,
In which what happens has occurred
Often and never—which is to say,
Never to me, or quite this way.


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