Don't Rush Me
Michigander accepted, don't make it right
How 'bout Michiganer, Michiganite, Michiganese, or Michigine?
October 20, 2010 - In case you missed it, last week I scored the governor's debate. Both candidates, on my score card, earned zero points. (If one is singular, what is zero and should it be points or point? I also wonder which high school English teacher will be the first to e-mail me with the correct answer?)
I expected folks to write in and complain that I didn't give enough credit to their favorite candidate. Not to be. I got flack from you pesky readers (I love you) on a technicality.
I deducted points from both candidates 'cuz they both used the term, Michigander, to describe a person from Michigan. To which I wrote:
"3. I am not a goose. I do not squawk like one. As a resident of Michigan, I am a Michiganian. We are not Michiganders!"
I then said why I didn't like it, that it was from the era Michigan-Ohio War -- a truly interesting piece of American history you just don't read enough about these days -- a border dispute over who gets Toledo (Ohio).
Here are some of the comments.
Dear Mr. Rush,
I just wanted to make a few comments about your column . . . Abraham Lincoln used the term in a speech in 1848. Wikipedia backs my story, so would my 3rd grade teacher if she was still alive and where I heard it first.
. . . Lastly, after an informal survey on my Facebook mostly from youngsters like me (about 40 years old) We all adamantly say, "MICHIGANDER." Proudly in fact. Maybe it is an age thing, but I did look up a few surveys done by MSU and U of M to back us up and approximately 76 percent of Michigan residents happen to say Michigander . . . so sorry if bothers you so, you could always move to Ohio :) (Just kidding of course.)
Better luck with your next column.
* * *
I'm sure you'll get a ton of e-mails regarding this, so I won't editorialize except to say that I would much rather be insulted by Abraham Lincoln than anyone from the utterly useless state (and I use the term state loosely) of Ohio.
-- Chris B.
* * *
You get the idea. I was called out on my "facts." They say Honest Abe Lincoln was the first to insult Michigan in 1848, with the term Michigander. I, and others say it was about 12 years earlier. Big whoopdeedoo! The fact remains: It was an insult.
I suppose if you don't know the history, and just like the way it sounds (I freely admit Michigander does roll off the tongue easier than Michiganian) than classifying yourself as an insult, is okay. And, as the TV generation gives way to the internet generation, we all know if you hear something long enough, or enough times then it must be true (even if it ain't).
Ask any politician trying to sell snake oil or cover their tracks on something less than honorable. We are so gullible.
But not me! I will stick to my guns and not be hoodwinked or stampeded into changing what is in my heart because it's the popular thing to do. Call me an anarchist, nonconformist or rebel without a cause, if you must. I will not be bullied into changing. For your information, Michigan state historians (not Spartans, but the state's historians) say residents here are Michiganians.
I reckon, I stand alone. (I also shaved my beard because so many Michiganian men grow 'em for huntin' season.)
I did go to that Wikipedia page. What I found more interesting than where or when the term Michigander came from was some of the alternatives.
"There is no 'official. term. Less common alternatives include Michiganer, Michiganite, Michiganese, and Michigine. Residents in the Upper Peninsula (which Michigan got as a consolation prize after the Michigan-Ohio War) more typically refer to themselves as Yoopers instead."
What the page didn't say is what da Yoopers call those of us residing south of the Mackinac Bridge. Which, I am sure, would be good for another column.
(Yoopers of the world unite and let me know what you call us! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: email@example.com