Friday, June 23, 2006

Phraseology: "Cabin Forecast"

--Dave Dahl, Chief Meteorologist 5 Eyewitness News

After getting back from the warm and wistful (dare I say, "elegiac"?) Prairie Home Companion at the Grandview Theaters I tuned into the ten o'clock forecast on Channel Five. Feeling particularly Minnesotan last night after the movie, I took notice when Dahl announced this weekend's "Cabin Forecast" for all of greater Minnesota.

There is some connection here between APC and the "Cabin Forecast", but maybe I was still hungover from the movie. See, APC was both an ode to the dying art of the radio program and an examination of the often dark Minnesota ethos. The cabin, and going "up North" are often the centerpiece of Keillor's romantic Lake Wobegon yarns. And it's also the type of romance that makes us so proud of our 10,000 lakes.

However, if you've ever been ensnared in traffic on 94W on a Friday afternoon up around Rogers, you know that the romance quickly evaporates on the buckling asphalt. Middle fingers, cheap bikinis, and an expensive trailer hitch are all a part of the dream.

12 comments:

Ilya said...

Once again, you've missed the boat. You introduce a phrase that struck your fancy, but fail to tell us anything interesting about what it means or how it is used other than the fact that someone on your TV (always TV...) said it and it sounded intelligible.

So: is "cabin forecast" the forecast for "greater minnesota"? What counts as "greater minnesota"? How is a "cabin forecast" different from a regular, city forecast?

And this connection with the Praire Home Companion movie stinks to all your readers. Stick with the phraseology and try to put some of the "ology" into the "phrase."

PiedPiper said...

Sheesh, Il. Easy does it, pal. Save the venom for Green Cowboy.

Mandingo said...

Alright, Ill. We can throw down in the comments section if you will. "Greater Minnesota"...does it need to be defined? For you, perhaps, but for most Minnesotans probably not. To find it, though, you'll have to venture beyond your apartment.

Basically, I saw "Cabin Forecast" as a term that to me is particularly Minnesotan. When I lived in Iowa, we didn't have a "Cabin Forecast", because few Iowans have cabins and Iowa really doesn't have a Lake/Cabin culture. After living in Minnesota for the past seven odd years, I've noticed that Minnesotans are stubbornly proud of what they have and are quick to denigrate any other neighboring state...almost like an inferiority complex or something.
What does Minnesota have? Lakes, a lot of them...and we remind ourselves at every chance we get just how cool Minnesota is for having 10,000 of them while Iowa, and the Dakotas really don't.

Was there a real connection with A Prairie Home Companion? Probably not. But I just saw the movie and tried to stitch them together in three paragraphs. A mistake, I'll grant you that. However, this is only the third week, and to be honest I didn't even think of finding a phrase until last night. So, I swung at the first thing that came my way.

Want to armwrestle later? Then we'll see who's really the better man.

Mandingo said...

And, who in the hell have you become, anyway? Derrida? Deconstructing everything!

Greater Minnesota: Hmm...from an economic development standpoint I've also heard it called, "The L". It's everything that is west of the Twin Cities and Duluth. And everything South of the Twin Cities. It kind of forms an "L" shape. Generally, it's more rural and contains the majority of our lakes, and therefore cabins.

Now, shame on you for being such a party pooper. Go back to your books!
And you're welcome, by the way, for helping throw the chair away. (I'll assume you said thank you at some point).

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

I enjoy your phraseology crap John. Keep at it. Ill, be more patient. We indulge you in your indulgences.

Ilya said...

Well, what can I say. I've expressed what the Supreme Court calls the dissenting opinion.

Ilya said...

Or rather, I'm sorry, you're right, Mandingo is such a fount of phraseology, a veritable wordmeister, the next William Safire.

A Green Cowboy said...

I saw the connection between PHC and Cabin Culture - I'm going to throw it out there as an "inside opinion," from one who spent his first 22 years solidly in Minnesota, sans 6 months of 2001.

First, PHC and Cabin Culture are integral parts of how Minnesotans define themselves. I think the ability to root your identity in a place is disappearing, and people are eager to hold onto what they can. PHC? Coming to you live from the Fitz in St. Paul, and full of accessible Minnesota jokes. Cabin culture? A legitimate social phenomenon, with twists unique to Minnesota. Sure, other places have it - upstate New York maybe - but there are enough unique twists to make it a source of identity.

Second, I think Lake Wobegon has a strong relationship with towns we picture when we think of "greater MN." Lake Wobegon makes me think of Nisswa and Brainerd. It doesn't matter how accurate the connection is, just that Lake Wobegon can feel like home to a Minnesotan.

By the way, I concur with Pied's earlier comment, and I am going to add another. I hope this blog continues to be a source of provocative conversation, and stimulating debates and arguments. Not a place to showcase those debates and arguments as triumphs. Call me out if I am wrong on this - but don't degrade me.

Ilya said...

The notion of cabin forecast (now "cabin culture") is so plain to MN that it is barely worth mentioning. What would have made a good phraseology is one on "elegiac," a means to making nostalgia, which Altman's PHC certainly is.

I'm skeptical of the claim that PHC (the real show) and cabin culture are somehow central to how Minnesotans understand themselves. Do people really think of themselves as related to or definitely not related to cabins and Keillor's show? Aren't there other terms that might be more central, like the broader idea of being midwestern rather than on the west or east coast?
I know that MN colleges and universities define themselves as not being like those schools on the coasts, and not in terms of Lake Wobegon chumpiness.

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

As an east coaster, I am agnostic. That said, the geography (10,000 lakes, flat as hell) does seem to have an impact on Minnesotans and their culture, as manifested by, oh yes i did, CABINS.

Ilya said...

Yes, geography and of course the weather:

"People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, 'Where are you from?' doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know?"
--Garrison Keillor (via Wikipedia)

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

clever by half I am afraid.