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February 21, 2005



Other than establishing the corporate headquarters, why the emphasis on "Midwesteners"? It reminds me of the same cultural biases that result in similar catch-alls, "Southeners" and "Easteners".

Listener James from Westwood

I read it as being their identifier only, serving to distinguish them from his fellow employees and the departed management, as well as taking the place of the corporation's name that Chris chose not to employ.

I also mistook "Easteners" for "Eastenders," and now I want to watch British TV.


That'd be pretty crappy if that were the idea. I get the feeling that "Midwesterners" could just as easily be "Southerners," "Easterners," whatever. The point is that they're outsiders & they proved themselves to be encroachers/interlopers. Whatever preconceptions about Midwesterners that the reader brings to the table & whatever we think Chris might be implying about them kinda just gives us more to think about.

Chris T.

TK's right: It was Midwesterners because it's the easiest way to identify them without giving the company name. If the were from the South it would've been "Southerners". To paraphrase Lenny Bruce, some of my best friends are Midwesterners.


I just thought the story could be more universally told, if the region didn't really have a strong bearing other than being "another region from the one of the original company" (we assume that was the case - I don't think he ever established the location of the founding company). On the other hand, he talks about jobs going to Colorado and Minnesota where folks earn less. I guess that's relevant if true.

Yeah I over-reacted. (Maybe I stressed from the long last paragraph. Try a hard return once in awhile.)


(Ouch "-eners" instead of "-erners" three times...where was my brain! Probably in the Midwest. But while I'm being PC, correcting spelling in forum posts is a no-no, as is chastising others for lack of netiquette. That's it, I'm cutting bait and giving up trolling for posts.)

Chris T.

Dear Sweet 16:

The company originally was in NJ, where I live. I guess I assumed everyone knew what I meant when I wrote "15 minutes from my apt."

The problem with the last paragraph is a glitch. I hadn't noticed but lots of my paragraph breaks disappeared. Thanks for pointing it out to me in your angry, mean-spirited way.

staying competitive

i don't think chris intended to regionalize this whole middle management strategy as MIDWESTERN, but come to think of it, my personal experience DOES attach SIGNIFICANT RESONANT connotations to the word.

the management of the MIDWESTERN company that took over my current workplace to set themselves up with a manhattan office (franchise) could safely be characterized as garden variety tools. applebee-assed viagrate GOPeons.

was chris subtly suggesting corporations that choose to keep their headquarters in the midwest do so out of confidence that the region is well-stocked with thoroughly mortgaged, detached jerk-offs who excel at enforcing the sort of corporate philosophy represented in his rather touching story of what a devalued labor market looks like from the inside?

no no no, i strayed too far.

try substituting the word ALL-AMERICAN for midwestern. i'm afraid THAT's how universal t's story really is.

great story chris. adieu ariel view.

as for me, my co-workers and i were treated to a plain cheese pizza to commemorate the record busiest day at my job the other day. it was pretty super.



Excuse me for not re-reading your article, hence the slip on the near-NJ setting. I did "enjoy" it, and I'm not going to take anything away from it. It dealt with real people who invested and continue to invest huge portions of their lives in it. You and they have my respect.

I invested just a small amount of time in something you obviously poured more than just time into. Apologize for rubbing you the wrong way. Appeciate the last comment by Staying Competitive (that's closer to my point).

When I first looked at the paragraph layout, I actually thought it worked as a design: Synergy (short pithy paragraphs) and Lethargy (a long drawn-out paragraph). Again, sorry, from this work-a-day heart.

Mon Nom-de-plum, Sweet16 (like the awful MTV-inspired show)


As I read the first few paragraphs about the happy workplace, I had a sense of where this was going. It wasn't even shocking and that's really fucking sad. I hope the paper company merges with a matchbook manufacturer.


"The anecdotal evidence combined with the overwhelmingly-negative (or, worse still, completely non-existent) mainstream-media portrayal of unions and their activities convinced me that trying to install a union at our workplace would be like trying to staple jello to a tree. I stopped making the calls and stopped trying to sell them on the idea."

It's so sad that this is the number-two result at Google for "unionizing blog." If you've ever read Working by Studs Terkel, the contrast with the 1960s and 1970s, when workers actually had hope, is crushing.

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