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Saturday, April 05, 2003

Outer Ring: Country-Western Accents
[April 2003] by Joe Pastoor
Arlon Lindner. Not from around here, are you?

When Joel and Ethan Coen made Fargo and gave the world a generous serving of the rounded, marbles-in-the-mouth outstate Minnesota accent, it seemed a little over the top. But we all knew it was out there. Just 20 minutes of any WCCO-AM call-in show will prove it. Even those of us in the metro have the long O and the hard R, though we think we talk like newscasters.

Of course, we’re always adding to the mix. Norm Coleman, a New Jersey native, brought us vowels that sounded, oddly, sort of South Boston. First he told us, “I wanna be yah Mayah,” then “I wanna be yah Govenah,” and finally, “I wanna be yah Senatah.” With his thumb ever poised for action, there will doubtless be more of these announcements, but that’s a different story. More recently, Coleman has turned his Southie accent against one of his own party, scolding State Representative Arlon Lindner. He is the Corcoran legislator who has lately brought shame on the state with language that sounds more like Deliverance than Grumpy Old Men.