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Unfortunately, We Must Talk About Bari Weiss

Plus Vetaw's meltdown, a 'Dookie' anniversary celebration, and the pride of MN—pizza rolls—in today's Flyover news roundup.

Chad Davis via Flickr

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, interesting, and/or overlooked Twin Cities news stories.

The Rise of 'The Fall of Minneapolis,' Explained

It's simply not worth getting your blood pressure up over anything that appears in Bari Weiss's Free Press (insert over-the-top eye roll here), so join me in a deep-breathing exercise before today's Flyover commences. In for four; hold for four; out for four; hold for four. Very nice.

So on January 16, the Free Press published "What Really Happened to George Floyd?" which credulously assesses the "discoveries" Alpha News reporter Liz Collin touts in her recent bad-faith copaganda doc, The Fall of Minneapolis. "The court of public opinion may have made up its mind based on a single out-of-context clip. But Chauvin’s trial in 2021 represented a chance to revise that consensus in light of all the evidence," Coleman Hughes wrote in that column, and... that's about as far as I got before hitting the paywall, but you get the gist. (In for four; hold for four; out for four; hold for four.) As a reminder, here's Deena Winter's actually insightful response to The Fall of Minneapolis and its "cherry-picked rehashing of previous reporting."

Anyway, we revisit that piece now for two reasons. For one, the writer, Coleman Hughes? He's the subject of a puff piece in the New York Times today, "The Young Black Conservative Who Grew Up With, and Rejects, D.E.I.," which gives you a better sense of the kinds of people Coleman is trying to align himself with. Oh wait, wait, wait, there's also the title of his book, out next week: The End of Race Politics: Arguments for a Colorblind America.

But there's also this, "The retconning of George Floyd," published yesterday by investigative journalist Radley Balko (which I encountered by way of today's always excellent Daily Reformer newsletter). Balko's piece is loooong, but worth reading. He notes that Hughes’s column can be "a useful lens through which to analyze which TFOM allegations seem to be resonating with a broader audience," since unlike other outlets that have run with Collin's claims, Free Press doesn't outwardly self-identify as conservative—even though, inevitably, that's the direction its heterodox approach skews.

"It’s interesting that Hughes assures us early on that he’s the sort writer who 'makes his own calls,' and only makes those calls after he 'confirms the documents.' This is supposed to make us trust him. He doesn’t take anyone’s word for it. He can’t be spun. He does his own research," Balko writes. "Except it seems pretty clear that he doesn’t."

It's an important refresher of the facts and an interesting look at how right-wing media outlets form their own narratives by way of omission and carefully curated half-truths. To the semi-credit of Weiss and Hughes, they execute it with more skillful slight-of-hand than whatever Collin burps out.

Vetaw's End-of-Meeting Meltdown

"And you can have it. And you can have it. And you can have it. I support it. I support it. You can’t make up one, Nicole. You can’t make up one, Nicole. Nicole, the treatment center is not going to have you in charge of it. He’s using you. He’s using you. I said what I said. He’s using—they—I refuse. I refuse, I refuse. Don’t come down here by me. Don’t come down here by me."

Stream of consciousness, avant-garde poetry? Quotes from The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City's recent bombshell moment? No! That's Minneapolis City Council Member LaTrisha Vetaw... I think I feel comfortable saying "verbally assaulting" Jason Chavez and activists (and displaying a pretty despicable attitude toward the unhoused) at a meeting following yesterday's eviction of Camp Nenookaasi. Here's more:

Vetaw, it should be noted, is not a member of the Public Health & Safety Committee of which Chavez is chair; she was just popping by to... let off some steam, I guess? "We all have a standard to uphold," Chavez says near the end of that clip, to which Vetaw replies, "I have a tiny violin for you." Me, personally? I'd be embarrassed to be captured on video behaving in such a way. And I'm an Aries! You can read her head-scratching, what-is-she-even-talking-about remarks in full here; thanks to Daniel Suitor for the transcription.

'Dookie' Turns 30

Today in "tenuously local-angled content," happy 30th birthday, Dookie! Over at The Current, Cristalle Bowen waxes nostalgic over Green Day's genre-defining major-label debut, in an essay that begins, relatably:

In 1994, I was a 13-year-old high school freshman. I was questioning my sexuality, I had incredibly large jeans, I had a body brimming with the angst only a teenager provides, and I was filled with disdain for society at large. Of course, I was listening to Green Day at full volume through my top-of-the-line Sony cans. 

Memories of MTV in its heyday, a delightful deployment of the term "diddling," reflections on a time of "trying new things and being bad at new things and not feeling the constant scrutiny of being a queer Black teenager in urban America"—Bowen really sets a scene and captures that quintessential youthful experience of listening to a record for the first time and knowing in your bones it was written for you. And then listening to it 2,300 more times.

With Apologies to the Bundt Pan, Let's Celebrate MN's Greatest Invention

The pizza roll! Thanks for this deep-dive, Minnesota Historia.

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