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The Midwest: 'God’s Gift To Planet Earth'

122012 Midwest Book Cover.JPG
(Courtesy: RAYGUN)

The Midwest sometimes gets short shrift from people on both ends of the country.  They often call it “flyover country.”  In other words, they ask, “Why would anyone want to stop in the Midwest?”

Native Midwesterners or transplants might take exception to the term, “flyover country.”

One man who certainly takes exception to the term is Mike Draper.

Draper is the author of “The Midwest: God’s Gift to Planet Earth” and owner of RAYGUN, a Des Moines, Iowa-based clothing store.  Host Don Marsh talked with him and was joined by Kenyon Gradert, a doctoral Student in English at Washington University in St. Louis and the series editor of “Course on Midwest Culture,” which is part of the blog, “Art of the Rural.”

We heard a lot from listeners during the show.

Debbie wrote:

My husband and I spent 30 years in four different states on the east coast, and while I certainly enjoyed our time in those places, I always knew there was something very special about Midwesterners. I learned the appropriate label from the University Of Illinois commencement speaker for my brother's graduation in the 1980s. She referred to our "native Midwestern warmth," which I instantly liked. I distinctly remember going back to my students at the University of Georgia and reporting to them:  "I knew we had something just as fine as southern hospitality; it is native Midwestern warmth." I continue to point out whenever given the opportunity the wonderful quality we all possess.

On Facebook, Randy commented:

Ironically, St. Louis is older than the United States and grew to be a MUCH bigger city a lot earlier than any city on the West Coast. Respect your elders, L.A. and San Francisco!  

Sean on Facebook wrote:  

In the immortal words of Will Rogers, someone tilted this country up in the middle and all the loose nuts rolled to either end!

Leave your opinion in the comments section below.  What do you think makes the Midwest unique?  How does St. Louis differ from cities on the East and West coasts.

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
Mary Edwards came to St. Louis Public Radio in 1974, just after finishing her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has served the station in a number of capacities over the years. From 1988-2014 she also taught an undergraduate class in radio production at Webster University. Mary was inducted into the St. Louis Media History Foundation Media Hall of Fame in April, 2017 and received the Gateway Media Literacy Partners' Charles Klotzer Media Literacy Award in 2012. Mary retired from St. Louis Public Radio in 2018, but still serves the station as a St. Louis Symphony Producer.
Don Marsh served as host of St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air" from 2005 to 2019, bringing discussions of significant topics to listeners' ears at noon Monday through Friday. Don has been an active journalist for 58 years in print, radio and television. He has won 12 Regional Emmy Awards for writing, reporting, and producing. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, was inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame in 2013, and named “Media Person of the Year” by the St. Louis Press Club in 2015. He has published three books: his most recent, “Coming of Age, Liver Spots and All: A Humorous Look at the Wonders of Getting Old,” “Flash Frames: Journey of a Journeyman Journalist” and “How to be Rude (Politely).” He holds an honorary Doctor of Arts and Letters degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

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