Indignant Minnesotan is coming for all the state's haters

A boat passes through a channel in Voyageurs.
Hands down, Minnesota is the best state. Just look at this shot of a lone motorboat cruising through island channels in Voyageurs National Park on Aug. 7, 2016.
Evan Frost | MPR News

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and that Minnesota is the greatest state in the union.

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Indignant Minnesotan certainly won't.

From its outraged beginnings in 2015 challenging a Washington Post reporter for calling a northern Minnesota county "America's worst place to live," the Twitter persona has amassed more than 4,400 followers to become the humorous voice of truth for aggrieved Minnesotans everywhere.

Flyover country, we are not. We're the birthplace of the Post-it Note, Twister and the indoor shopping mall. We're home to Target, the Jucy (or Juicy, depending your allegiances) Lucy and the Spam museum. And our Twin Cities Marathon has been dubbed "the most beautiful urban marathon in America."

"We're so much better than what people give us credit for," said one of the two indignant men behind the Twitter handle. Both men — who would rather remain anonymous ("I think the account works better when it's impersonal," said one) — are natives of northern Minnesota who currently live in the Twin Cities. "We know that here, but not everybody else out there knows that about us. ... When we're slighted, it kind of offends us."

Christopher Ingraham, the Washington Post reporter who inspired the Twitter handle, learned that the hard way.

"The weird thing was that in that original story, there were a whole bunch of places that looked really bad," he said. "But there wasn't any indignant North Dakota or indignant Iowa community rising up. I literally heard from nobody else but Minnesotans."

These days, he knows what to expect if he ever tweets or writes anything bordering on negative about Minnesota. Indignant Minnesotan is keeping on eye on him, too; Ingraham is among the select 24 that they follow. For his part, Ingraham says that of the more than 35,000 followers he has, he's the most proud of Indignant Minnesotan.

What really gets the Indignant Minnesotan indignant

Taking advantage of the snow for exercise.
Blizzard, schmlizzard. Shane Kelley, of Rochester, didn't let a snowstorm stop him from getting some exercise Feb. 24, 2017, by cross-country skiing at Eastwood Golf Course.
Jerry Olson for MPR News file

Stop with the "Minnesota is really cold" comments. Because they inevitably lead to...

"They think you shut down. You cease operating. You get shut in for the winter and there's nothing to do," one of the Indignant Minnesotans said. "The reality is, we've been so cold for so long we know how to live in the cold. We own winter. We know what to do."

What did we ever do to the Washington Post?

Well, now. The D.C. paper seems to really have it in for us.

Not only did reporter Ingraham kick the whole thing off with his story, his colleagues have taken their jabs as well.

Ingraham has a theory. "There's a fair amount of Minnesota roots at the Post, so maybe some of the gentle mocking comes from a place of love?"

The non-native Minnesotans will learn though, just like Ingraham did. After visiting and falling in love with the area, he decided to move to "America's worst place to live." Now he's one of us — sometimes.

"I go back and forth," he joked. "Sometimes I want to be an indignant Minnesotan but then sometimes my ugly East Coast nature rears its head and I have to go trolling."

On the #MinnesotaConfessions hashtag that went viral

On Oct. 18, Indignant Minnesotan made a terrible (only-in-Minnesota) confession:

"I felt Minnesota guilt," he said.

Realizing it would make a good hashtag, he asked followers to reveal their state-centric confessions. Indignant Minnesotan received more than 450 replies.

"Not only do we have a certain amount of pride in our state and everything that comes with it, everyone's got at least one thing that we don't like about our state that everyone else likes," he said. "It's kind of cathartic to let that out."

One thing they discovered: There's a "disturbing" number of people who don't like hot dish.

Not your typical passive-aggressive Minnesotans

Regular followers will notice that Indignant Minnesotan isn't just vocal about defending the state, it's also passionate about being a voice of welcome, particularly for immigrants and refugees.

The account recently responded to actor James Woods, who tweeted a video showing Muslims at the Mall of America. He captioned it, "This is the #MallOfAmerica. I would suggest getting your Christmas shopping done early. Oh, wait..."

The video was taken in June, during Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan. As NewsCut reported:

"Many parents go shopping for gifts for children, and the restaurants at the mall become particularly popular following a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset."

"The Minnesota response to a lot of problems is passive-aggression, which generally means avoiding the problem or being subtle and hoping the problem goes away," said one of the Indignant Minnesotans. "But anti-refugee and anti-immigrant sentiment is not something that can be solved like that. We need to be actively aggressive, not passive-aggressive."

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