Friday, April 18, 2014

The Great Mess in the Three Midwest!

I don't want you to read this... I want you to believe this! I propose that there are currently, in existence, not just one Great Midwest, but THREE Great Midwest! Here's the evidence that supports this.

Exhibit A.

Bloodstains Across the Midwest LP

Although Discogs cites 1994 as the release year for this compilation, another record of a rare few that really changed everything for me, It took until 1996-97 before it finally found its way into my hands. Bloodstains Across The Midwest brought me my first exposure and knowledge of Cincinnati pioneers The Ed Davis Band as well as The Customs-- my local Cincinnati punk-rock heritage. Ultimately though, Bloodstains defined to me what the 'Midwest' was not only as a region, but a force!

Firstly, let's take, for example Kansas smart-guy band (because every smart person wears glasses right?)  The Embarrassment... Are they a Midwest effort? Kansas? Really? Isn't that the prairie that that little house sat on? Well, sort-of (it's complicated) but I'm gonna let them be included as Midwest as later evidence will support. Besides, "Sex Drive" is a great track! Embarrassment are a great band. If they are Midwestern, I wanna be Midwestern too.

Another point of contention from Bloodstains is Louisville Kentucky's inclusion of the End Tables. In no other follow-up evidence does the case for the Bluegrass State exist for being considered a Midwestern state. My case, however, is ultimately for me to decide. Why you ask? What gives me the authority? Simply enough, I'm writing it. My writings, my rules!

So, I will allow Kentucky's inclusion into the Midwest because lines MUST be drawn somewhere. In concession for this decision my apologies to Pittsburg's Bloodstains inclusion, The Five... You have a great song on a great compilation but the whole state of Kentucky has more of a 'midwest feel' than the Pittsburg in my definitions. Your shit out of luck and no, none of the vicious bullshit NFL cliche rival stuff between our cities means squat to me, so don't blame that. Pennsylvania is one of the original colonies. What makes the Midwest a Midwest extends beyond what an original colony offers.

Exhibit B.
The Northwest Territories 1783-1803: Midwest Rising

To further understand my case for multiple Midwest, you must first understand The Treaty of Paris (1783) which generously awarded territory post-revolutionary war known today as Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota to the fledgling United States of America. This area was actually the first officially federally-owned land as property of the Congress of the Confederation; the first 'real' United States government! Back then though, this area was known as the Northwest Territories and remained so until Ohio became the 17th state brought into the union of the United Stated in 1803.

Sub-Exhibit B.1
The identity of the Northwest Territories was dissolved into the short-lived Indiana Territory as Ohio became a state and later chopped up into even smaller pieces, bit by bit, until 1858 when Minnesota was finally entered into statehood as it is today with previous help from not only The 1818 Convention, which awarded more land to the US that would eventually become Minnesota, but also included provisions related to The Louisiana Purchase which completed Minnesota as we know it today

Sub-Exhibit B.2
The region known previously as The Northwest Territories--  although not known in any form as an official 'Midwest' (yet)-- by 1803 had congealed as one and was on its way to being a full-blown region. However, that was fixing to change. Shit gets weird in the Midwest and it also moves fast. The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 drastically increased the over-all-size of the United States and gave the new state of Ohio and much of the short-lived Indiana Territory it's first identity of being mid-anything. 

Exhibit C.
Which Midwest... First, Second or Third?

Referring back to wikipedia-- which is just as good of any other source when it comes to 'history'-- the modern Midwest is acknowledged to include not only Ohio and the entire Northwest Territories but also included a considerate chunk of what was once acquired through the aforementioned Louisiana Purchase. 

These states would include not only the aforementioned Ohio but essentially created Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan PLUS land that would later become Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota-- all states that would be classified as 'Midwestern' but hey, aren't these Great Plains states? Well, sort-of...

An arguments FOR eastern parts of Colorado to be included as the part of the Midwest was made via Wikipedia but to me it just doesn't hold-up... Inclusion of eastern Colorado stretches my loose expansive boundaries that you may remember from earlier that were stretched to include Kentucky but excluded Pittsburg. My willingness to drop Pittsburg in exchange for the whole state of Kentucky makes more sense dispelling eastern Colorado as not Midwestern. It feels like an appropriate decision.

The Debris' Clause
Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know what your saying... Nebraska? The Dakotas? I don't feel like scouring my collections of Killed By Death type compilations to really point out poignant bands in these Wikipedia declared Midwestern states exist, but I must put forth my Debris' Clause. Debris were from Oklahoma and scratched the mid-seventies itches of what would become known as proto-punk. If Debris could be active in 1975 Oklahoma, then surely there was something happening in Nebraska or the Dakotas! It just has yet to surface but trust me, it will sometime because us weirdoes are everywhere.

Still yet, there are considerable differences from state to state, from area to area. Ohio itself is ripe with traditions and dialects from the Northwestern portions of the state to my home in Ohio's awesome southwest. Just call Kenny (from Youngstown) and talk to his Satanic-ass for about ten minutes... Then call someone in the other Ohio, me... There's flavor and flare with each. Seriously, don't call me but bug Kenny (message me for his phone number).

I've never personally been farther north than a border-hugging gas station and their impressive cheese display in Wisconsin... I've never been to Minnesota or even Michigan. Things are different from place to place, in Ohio's case from sub-zone to sub-zone... So I'm sure different areas of the great Midwest would agree in slight differences. The Ohio brand of Midwest isn't the same Midwest as what Chicago has, nor what Minnesota has compared to Chicago or Cincinnati. Now, who wants to draw some lines to rectify this? I wanna to draw some lines!

Without further adieu, no more words no more chatter. Me, you and another visual... Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Great Mess of the Three Midwest!

Read more about The Northwest Territories

Read more about Bloodstains Across The Midwest