Monday, October 5, 2009

The Pride of Minnesota

These are the celebrated Coen brothers from the Twin Cities suburb of St Louis Park MN. They have written, produced and directed a lot of really good movies. (One of my favorites is Fargo. Some folks thought it ridiculed the way Minnesotans talk and act, but the fact of the matter is--some of us do.) Their new movie, A Serious Man is being released this week.

Anyway, they also have done such other films as: Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing, Burn After Reading, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou, and Intolerable Cruelty (among a bunch of others). The Walker Museum of Modern Art recently ran a retrospective of their films.

The suburb of St Louis Park also produced such other illustrious folks as Senator Al Franken (a former writer and performer on Saturday Night Live) and Thomas Friedman, columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author.

Minnesota is justifiably proud of these native sons. But there is a dirty little secret behind the reason all these men came from one suburb--they are all Jewish. The "Minnesota Nice" Gentiles back in the 50's had restricted Jews from many suburbs. St Louis Park was not restricted, so the Jewish families settled there.

I have a friend by the name of Chaiya (Hiya) who grew up in St Louis Park. She said when she was born her parents also gave her the Gentile name of "Wendy" because so many people were prejudiced against Jews. All through her school years she went by Wendy, but after that, she embraced her Jewish name and has gone by Chaiya ever since.

There are a lot of good people in Minnesota. I hope that this lesson on bigotry has not been wasted on us. None of those suburbs that smugly discriminated against the Jews back in the 50's have anything to brag about today--either in producing successful progeny or in taking the high moral ground.

1 comment:

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

People do tend to try to keep "others" out. Not realizing that the "otherness" is not a threat!!!