The Upper Midwest is a nice place — if you don’t mind cold winters. Since the mid-80s, Wisconsin has had lower unemployment than the national average for all but two years. It has a diverse economy, US News says it’s the eighth smartest state, and there’s lots of delicious beer. I could go on, but that’s not the point.
The point is, why is it okay to call Wisconsin and other nearby states the Rust Belt? There may be a few rusty places in Wisconsin, but as mentioned above, we’re actually doing pretty well. A good woke journalist wouldn’t talk about how the ghettos or slums voted in the 2020 election, but discussing the Rust Belt is okay? I know most elite liberals cringe when Trump calls someone Pocahontas or SleepyCreepy… but maybe region shaming is okay. Anyway, if we’re going to go down the road of clever yet degrading “belt” nicknames, here are a few suggestions for other parts of the country:
The Tech-Bro-and-Hoe Belt
It’s hard to afford to live here. Look at the Seattle area. Average houses now cost a million dollars, but if you work for someone like the visionary Jeff Bezos, you might be able to scrape by. You probably didn’t study your childhood and college years away to work retail, but at Amazon, you can dedicate your life to helping Jeff sell shirts and shoes for a dollar or two cheaper than what they would be at the mall — all while putting countless malls out of business! (Sorry Jeff, but your venerated WaPo loves to use the term Rust Belt — even in headlines.) Or, if you prefer California, why not give the Bay Area a shot. You can spend your life working like a rusty dog to help Mark and Sheryl create more engaging (addictive) content to sell more ads!! You’ll make teenagers around the world depressed and help spread political misinformation as fast as a Kardashian selfie, but at least you’ll only have to share your house with one family instead of three.
The Sophisticated Intelligentsia Belt
Where did you go to college? What is your job? Were you at the premiere of that very hip movie, after a very hip dinner, after a very hip cocktail… that you read about in the New York Times? (Sorry NY Times, you use the phrase less than WaPo, but it still pops up a lot.) Oh yeah, do you know who was at the party I was at last weekend? It was it Chuck Todd, and he said Rust Belt at least a million times — just like he did while covering the 2020 election! Anyway, it’s not too hard to figure out why Middle America isn’t a fan of you all.
The Teenage Pregnancy Belt
Sorry for going there Southern states. I seriously have nothing against you, and I think you’re also sometimes looked down upon for not being elite enough, but “Sun Belt” sounds a little too, well, sunny for what you have going on down there (and your newspapers also use the phrase a lot).
All these nicknames are obviously dumb, and we have to love each other no matter where we live. But part of what I’m trying to get at is the question — why did Trump win the Blue Wall / Rust Belt in 2016 and not lose it by much in 2020? I’m thinking it’s because he went there and said very nice things about the Rust Belt folks (without using any demeaning nicknames). Don’t get me wrong, a lot of us Wisconsinites think he’s a pathological lying wannabe dictator… who could care less about what happens here. But, based on how much love a lot of Rust Belt people give Trump, I think he does come across as caring more than some liberals do.
One last thing, I doubt too many people in the Rust Belt really give a damn about the phrase — we ain’t no snowflakes. But, I just thought I’d point out the hypocrisy with a short and hopefully slightly humorous article 🙂
This is a guest post from Mike Hemmingsen. Check out the original here.