Baseball91's Weblog

August 8, 2008

The War on Terroir

There was a day when no one ever was allowed to do business in farm towns without the approval of the local banker.  How the world had changed. I worked in a state bordering the one I grew up in, for six years.  I was a big city guy spending a lot of time dealing with farmers.  It was the 1980s.  I dealt with one local banker.  And he wanted to promote the other local businesses.  He liked the idea of supporting the local merchant, local ownership, because if the people in the town did not, who would?  Who cared if prices were cheaper in the big city 140 miles away?  Because no one else was gonna help you. 


His philosophy came out of the same satisfaction that people still had here when the local kid made good.  It was now almost 20 years later and we live in a world when people no longer bowled.  When stock companies owned you, it was all about money.  And saving it. That was what had happened in the world of newspaper.  Business was held hostage each quarter to the shareholders.    


Look at the present day world.  There was growing trouble handling debt.  Individually. Communally. There were growing deficits.  Ford lost $8 billion this past quarter.  GM had lost $15 billion.  AIG announced losses of $5.36 billion this week.  Handling debt.  Stock companies with no local ownership.  The world was different. 


People in Minnesota were different from those in Texas.  We were formed by the winters, the land, the lakes.   We were a lot like wine.  It was in the terroir.   Taste was determined by the amount of sunshine. Geographic origin.   The soil.  Terroir was some mysterious blending of earth, climate and culture.   It was the same mystery, in the same sense, how one person was blended to become a personality.  Only we had all become like McDonald’s friendly arches.  The franchise was now owned by people scattered about, far way.  To them, we were all the same and our city was no different from any other place. 


The newspaper had passed through the hands of 3 owners in this decade. 

And it was this change in the community why no one cared that the newspapers were folding.  It was not just in Minneapolis.  It was the St. Paul Pioneer Press too.  We had all somehow lost a distinct taste.  At least in the view of the owners of these papers. 


I never liked that South Dakota banker.  But he saw clearly how the environment was all about money.  And what he had to do to make sure some of it stayed in South Dakota.  Wanting more of it.  For the local people who banked with him.  I had once been caught up in this world.  And I now was caught up in this one.   





    “I am nearly 60. A long time ago the world moratorium on Antarctica, and its treasures, was used to hide what had, up until that time, been bragged about in regard to the size of finds. The main one’s I remember were: a coalfield the size of Wales, 1/2 a mile thick and comprised of the world’s finest quality anthracite. Many coalfields of similar size. Oil fields (plural) bigger than the then measured largest Arabian ones. More uranium than had ever been extracted. Copper ditto. Bauxite reserves bigger than those which had already been admitted to elsewhere. Shame about the depth of ice and the ambient temps. There is no peak oil (not for a couple hundred years anyway and if we ain't weaned off it by then we deserve what we get) and it is just as cold here, in the UK, as it was when I was much younger.

    Comment by Henry Galt — August 8, 2008 @ 4:01 PM | Reply

  2. Comment by baseball91 — August 18, 2016 @ 3:13 PM | Reply

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