There is an inter-state rivalry developing south of the border between Wisconsin and Michigan. At issue? A tussle over which state most resembles a mitten.
The trouble started with a new ad campaign promoting the many winter tourism activities available in Wisconsin. Accompanying the winter-related content at TravelWisconsin.com is a stylized image of a somewhat bedraggled-looking mitten, shaped to resemble the outline of the state map.
The problem is that Michigan has long taken pride in its own mitten-like shape (at least in the part known as the lower peninsula), and some Michiganders apparently feel like their neighbour across Lake Michigan is intruding on their state identity.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Michigan is unequivocally the mitten state: "Always has been, always will be. We have the unique distinction of having our physical state shaped almost exactly the same as, well, a mitten. Two mittens, actually, because of our Upper Peninsula."
The paper claims that this resemblance is a fundamental part of the state identity: "When someone asks us where we are from, we hold up our hand to show them. Or we cheerfully answer 'the Mitten!' "
The Kalamazoo Gazette, which first broke the story, very helpfully provided an illustration by Fritz Klug so their readers could judge the difference. The mitten in the upper left is taken directly from the Wisconsin tourism campaign, while those at the lower left seem to be Klug's strategic placement of the most Michigan-y handwear available:
As you might imagine, the mitten controversy has produced a lot of commentary on Twitter, most of which seems to be irate Michiganders rising to defend their state's honour, deploying the hashtags #mittenlove and #GiveUsBackOurMitten.
As a further taste of the kind of reaction the story has provoked along the southern edge of the Great Lakes, here is a WOOD TV 8, the NBC affiliate serving Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Holland in Michigan:
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