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A Minute with Mike: What's in a name?

Nov 9, 2017

The debate over what we, as residents of Michigan, are officially called may soon be over. 

Headed to Governor Snyder's desk is a package of recently passed bills that modernize the 1913 statue that created the Michigan Historical Commission.

In these bills, the term "Michiganians" has been struck out in favor of "Michigander."

That got Stateside producer Mike Blank thinking maybe it's time for a whole new word to describe us. 

Here are his thoughts on the subject:

It may seem trivial, but I don't think it should be a priority for our elected leaders to be making laws about how you or I can describe ourselves as residents of our great state.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm extremely proud to be from Michigan. However, there is one aspect of being from Michigan which I find quite disconcerting: being called a "Michigander."

There's just something about this particular word that leaves me with a gut feeling similar to binging on Coney islands. In other words: gross. Plus, I abhor geese, particularly the border-hopping type (which shall remain nameless) that turn lawns and parks into a minefield of feces on a regular basis.

So, Governor Snyder and my fellow residents of Michigan, I implore you all: we need a new moniker we can all be proud of.

This is where it gets difficult. Due to Michigan's syllable and sound structure, there's not of a lot of linguistic clay to work with.

There’s the other standby – Michiganian. But that’s the same number of syllables as saying, "I’m from Michigan.” (Don’t believe me? Go ahead, count it out. I did.)

There's Michiganers, but that rhymes with beginners, and implies a state full of novices.

Michiganities or Michites sounds like a bacteria-laden, Old Testament rock formation.

Michiganist could work, but doesn't roll off the tongue nicely, and could subconsciously make folks feel bad for not flossing their teeth regularly.

Michie is kind of nice, sort of friendly, but it also sounds like a derogatory term used by Ohioans. For example, “I was planning on going to Toledo, but it's so close to the state line that the Michie stench of corn, oil, soybeans, and fresh water really affects my asthma.”

So, that leaves my personal favorite: Michiganeer! With our nautical connections, and being comprised of two great peninsulas, it’s perfect. And who wouldn't love to go by the hard-working, swashbuckling, salt-of-the-earth term Michiganeer?

I’ve even come up with a theme song (sung to the melody of the Mickey Mouse Club theme):

M-I-C ... see, told ya we need a new name

H-I-G ... gee, Michigander's a terrible name.

A-N-E-E-R. Michiganeer! (Michiganeer) With a name like that we can finally hold our heads up high...

So come along and join with me to end the Michigander tyranny.

M-I-C-H-I-G-A-N-E-E-R! Michiganeer!

The original version of this story was broadcast on March 18, 2015.

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