Sunday, June 08, 2008

Minnesotans Watch ("blankly, at times") Bridge Construction

The article in today's New York Times, "Bridge Construction Draws Crowds in Minneapolis," has some passages that make Minnesotans sound like awed simpletons. Here are a few select passages:
If it seems odd that people would choose to spend 90 minutes of a spring weekend staring out at construction crews and listening (blankly, at times) to Mr. Sanderson, of Flatiron Constructors, as he speaks of “longitudinal post tensioning” and “cantilevered sections,” Minnesotans come for every reason.


“I have to tell you something I get asked all the time," [Transportation Department project manager] Chiglo said. “People ask me, am I willing to be the first one to drive across this bridge? That is why we’re out here.”


Then he passed around thick segments of steel cable that help to hold together the design, and members of the crowd weighed them in their hands, tugging and pulling at them as if to try the bridge itself.
Reporter Monica Davey paints a quaint picture of the dim-witted Minnesotan: a somber sort who falls into a revery trying to pull at either end of a short length of cable, brows knitting in concentration as the dullard tests its strength. "Yep, this one's strong enough. Go head an use it on the bridge," we can imagine him saying in a folksy twang.

And yet he's a superstitious sort, too. Some of his number are afraid to go out on the new bridge, treating it more like thin ice on a lake in early winter. Others still are bolder, like the woman injured in the collapse who demands to be the first to cross the new bridge. The village of Minneapolis should make her its leader. She seems strong.


Blogger leon evol said...

that depiction is insulting. however, i don't really doubt its accuracy; more than anything, i'd bet that the author's comprehension is skewed. it's true that people stand around and simply watch the bridge go up, piece by piece, and while i've never seen it myself, i can imagine minneapolis residents' desire to test individual lengths of cable. the reasoning behind this, though, is genuinely reflective of this city's (this state's, the midwest's) watchdog stance. people are angry about the bridge collapse, they're midwesternly fretful about its reconstruction, and they're exercising their perceived duty as minnesotans to make themselves a part of everything, as directly as is legally or feasibly possible. i don't sympathize with this degree of interaction, but i get it, particularly when considering the millions-of-dollars early completion bonus that's been offered to the company handling the reconstruction.

(this is noel, by the way. i've linked your blog to mine. let me know if you'd like me to un-link it.)

3:20 PM  
Blogger Nayana Anthony said...

You don't doubt its accuracy? Hey.


--An Overly Involved Minnesotan

11:35 AM  

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