Conventional Wisdom

Dear RNC attendee,

Last month, this magazine published a story offering ways for locals to navigate the Republican National Convention, a primer to enjoy (or avoid) all the hubbub coming to town this month. For this issue, we thought it only right that we extend the same sort of courtesy to you, the 45,000 men and women visiting the Twin Cities for the RNC. After all, we understand that as newcomers to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, you may not be familiar with some of our ways and customs. Some friendly advice might help.

Before we get to that, however, let me offer an explanation. During your stay, you may notice that some of the locals will seem really eager to make you feel welcome. It’s nothing to be nervous about. It’s just that we haven’t had a national political convention here since 1892, and we’re pretty excited, especially those of us who are looking forward to celebrating the occasion with a drink or two. At 3:30 a.m. On a Tuesday.

Anyway, the first thing to remember during your visit is where you are. The convention is being held in St. Paul. Many of you will be staying in Minneapolis. Despite what you may have heard, these are, in fact, two different cities (we’re talking to you Katie Couric!), and—shocking as this may be—neither has anything to do with Indianapolis. But here’s why this is really important: If you confuse the Twin Cities in front of a denizen of Minneapolis, he or she will probably laugh. If you do so in front of someone from St. Paul, he or she will probably punch you.

Which leads me to my second point: You should know that we sometimes take ourselves a bit seriously here. If you find yourself in a social setting with an actual live Twin Citian and feel the need to poke a little fun, do yourself a favor and stick to the following topics, all of which have been thoroughly screened and approved by the proper authorities: the weather, mosquitoes, the Vikings, the weather, Jesse Ventura, beets, Tiny Tim, the Kensington Runestone, the statue of Mary Tyler Moore on Nicollet Mall, our proximity to Iowa and the Dakotas, the weather, Harold Stassen, 3.2 beer, Spam, Zubaz, and the weather.

Of course, there are also a few things that should never be ridiculed or joked about, under any circumstances. These are: our arts scene, our arts venues, our public art, our artists, Superbowl IV, our public-school system, the Twins, Superbowl VIII, Post-it notes, our “accents,” any of our 11,842 lakes, Superbowl IX, Hubert Humphrey, the Miracle on Ice, our sense of superiority toward Iowa and the Dakotas, wheat, and Superbowl XI.

As long as you keep this advice in mind, and, more importantly, as long as you use this magazine to find out about all the cool stuff to see and do while you’re here, we guarantee you’ll have a good time. And if you don’t? Well, we hope you’ll at least consider coming back in a few months to give us another try. The springtime is lovely in Indianapolis.

Andrew Putz
aputz@minnesotamonthly.com

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