Fake news! Rolling Stone columnist disses Duluth

Indignant Minnesotan, the hilarious Twitter account that demands adherence to the notion that we’re No. 1 in everything, will need a defibrillator after reading Rolling Stone’s Thursday story ripping Duluth following this week’s appearance by the president.

It’s not pretty.

Like the more prosperous areas of Minnesota, Duluth is strikingly white. Look deeper than skin and you’ll find Duluth is a struggling post-manufacturing cipher with the highest drug overdose rate in the state.

U.S. Steel closed its gigantic Morgan Park plant in 1981, causing a slow cascade of desolation that stilled the concrete and hardboard plants and emptied out the grain elevators.

Today, the small city of 80,000 scrapes by on tourism and as a port. There’s a paper plant that has been on the verge of closing for 10 years. Duluth has a poverty rate (21 percent) that would rank it among the most desperate counties in West Virginia and per capita income just below that of Wheeling.

Lake Superior’s merciless beauty crashes up against a town whose shoreside skyline is dominated by stolid, brutalist mid-century relics and precarious-seeming industrial shipping contraptions, rusty and mostly silent. Downtown, every surface is covered with a thin layer of grime. It is, in other words, potential Trump Country.

Political columnist Ana Marie Cox goes on to savage “the myth of brave Minnesota settlers, enduring harsh winters and relying only each other – almost as if no one was here before them, either.”

Even the arena incurred her distaste, using the corporate sponsor as metaphor for the “weightlessness” of the people inside.

“Then again, there’s the Amsoil slogan: ‘First in synthetics.’”


The homeless shelter near the arena was full, she said, suggesting Duluth is the state’s outlier on the issue.

This seemed impossibly high for such a town not much bigger than the Twin Cities suburb of Bloomington, but I checked the city’s crime statistics – an imperfect measure, since referrals don’t necessarily come from the police or involve an arrest.

But still: In 2016 in Duluth, there were over 900 arrests for what Minnesota terms “violence against families/children.” There were 84 such arrests in Bloomington.

“You’d think I’d written about grape salad,” Cox said of the response to her column on Twitter, while promising to soften it a bit.

As she waited for Indignant Minnesotan’s response, she clearly knew what’s coming .

Duluth should have no problem dismissing Cox. She and her husband live in Minneapolis.

You know how those people are.

(h/t: Paul Tosto)

Update 11:18 a.m.

Friday, June 22nd, 2018An Open Letter to Ana Marie Cox and Rolling Stone:Those of us here on our “…lonely island…

Posted by Emily Larson, Duluth Mayor on Friday, June 22, 2018

Related: Craftsmen, backpacks, beer build hope in a needy Duluth neighborhood