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Old Posted Sep 22, 2019, 5:23 AM
galleyfox galleyfox is online now
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Originally Posted by Handro View Post
Odd, I would think that much more of the west than the midwest. Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Denver, etc. have been changing so rapidly over the past 50 years, especially over the past 20, that they are basically new places. Other than the usual suspects (Detroit and maybe Cleveland) in the Midwest, which cities have had as pronounced a change as those cities? I'm not sure I've ever heard the midwest described by outsiders as "changing too much"...
'Bodenlosigkeit' has a very different meaning than change. It's a state of mind -- of being groundless, unattached. Existing in a state of exile or willful identity-loss. Many people in Europe get the strong impression that the Midwest is a region that cannot build a regional identity, which is the antithesis of Europe and unsettles them deeply. It is not a sentiment they experience in the West at all.

This article is probably closest to describing it:

Cayton blames this lack of “regional consciousness” in part on geography: “Regional identity—the creation of an imagined community—requires a strong sense of isolation. And the Midwest is not, strictly speaking, isolated. It is in the middle.” More important, however, is the intensity of local attachment: “But it is less regional rootlessness than local rootedness that makes the construction of a regional identity so difficult in the Midwest.… Localism, this pride in family, town, and state, leaves little room for interest in a coherent regional identity. In general, Midwesterners want to be left alone in worlds of their own making.”17

So a Midwesterner not wanting to identify their home city with the Midwest but rather "The North" or "The Great Lakes" is quintessential Midwest.

(Though I think you're underestimating the change that has happened in the Midwest, and overestimating the West. The California that my great-grandfather and grandfather grew up in was full of risky ventures, STEM workers and flophouses, and just generally like today.)
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