News flash: Minneapolis is a snobby city. This from Travel and Leisure:
To determine which city has the biggest nose in the air, we factored in some traditional staples of snobbery: a reputation for aloof and smarty-pants residents, along with high-end shopping and highbrow cultural offerings like classical music and theater.
But we also considered 21st-century definitions of elitism: tech-savviness, artisanal coffeehouses, and a conspicuous eco-consciousness (say, the kind of city where you get a dirty look for throwing your coffee cup in the wrong bin).
Minneapolis ranked 4th, trailing San Francisco, New York City and Boston, but edging out Seattle, Santa Fe and Chicago. The Travelers’ and Leisurers’ take on us:
Perhaps readers felt intimidated by these bookish, indie-music-loving, craft-beer-drinking hipsters, who also ranked highly for being exceptionally tidy. If these Minnesotans feel self-satisfied, is it any wonder? They also scored well for being fit and outdoorsy; you can join them at the Chain of Lakes, where, depending on the season, folks are hiking, paddling, or even ice-surfing.
Snobby? Really? Isn’t having interesting stuff in your community a desirable thing?
Of course it is. Having the option of experiencing something new and different that isn’t available just anywhere is a huge advantage of living in a great city like Minneapolis.
But T and L got it right. Minneapolis is a snobby city, because having new and different things is not enough for many Minneapolitans. They feel obliged to look down from their lofts and rooftop cafes judging people who don’t worship at the altar of all that is new and different.
For instance, God help you if you express dislike for Surly Furious beer inside the Minneapolis city limits. It’s perfectly reasonable that some people would enjoy the bitter taste of the hop-heavy local brew, and some would not. Preferences are preferences. But to hipster Minneapolitans, a distaste for the hops in IPAs is a clear sign that one is not sufficiently evolved.
The same thing applies to food and wine. If my God-given tastebuds just can’t distinguish between a ten buck meal and a fifty buck meal, does that really mean that I’m a closed-minded rube? Maybe it just means that I’d rather hold onto the extra forty bucks to buy four extra ten buck meals. Saffron and truffle oil? Can’t taste it dude. Hints of oak barrel? Even if I could taste it, why would I necessarily desire it?
I also plead guilty to wearing khakis and not possessing a single pair of skinny jeans. Why? One, BECAUSE I’M NOT SKINNY. (Neither, by the way, are many of you.) Two, because I still have khakis in my closet from the 90s that have more miles on them.
And then there are bicyclists. Minneapolis is thick with them these days, and I’m all for them. I support more bike lanes, bike racks, and people out of cars, if that’s what works well for them. But just because I prefer not to arrive at meetings drenched in sweat and expect bicyclists to obey traffic laws doesn’t make me a Neanderthal bike hater who doesn’t understand the profound awesomeness of Amsterdam.
The fact that many Minneapolitan hipsters equate rejection of a trend with inferiority is what makes them snobby. Trends are fine. Enforcement of trends is snobby.
It’s difficult for me to understand when snobbery happens in a city populated with folks who are largely transplants from small towns, suburbs and rural areas. Even most of the free spirits in Uptown and downtown lofts did not grow up in Soho or Greenwich Village. They are only a few short years removed from enjoying Folgers, Mogen David, Buckhorn and IHOP.
If those folks find that Peets, Pétrus, Surly, and Café Lurcat brings them more joy, enjoy already. But really, there is no need to evangelize and snigger. We hayseeds are perfectly comfortable, in all our glorious frumpyness.
Note: This post also appeared in The Same Rowdy Crowd blog.