Sioux Falls, SD
Many of us lucky enough to live here in KELOLAND have a deep appreciation for our region, the Midwest. After all, there's a reason people call it the "Heartland."
But Midwestern culture doesn't always resonate to our east and west. One author with South Dakota roots is setting out to change that.
Sioux Falls author Jon Lauck believes that in the Midwest, too much of the culture is imported from other places.
"In the United States right now, our culture tends to be dominated by the coasts," Lauck said. "Dominated by Manhattan and Hollywood, in particular."
Lauck also believes the national news doesn't exactly cover the entire country.
"Every night, the news that's produced in Manhattan for the most part by people who live in New York, people who live in New York who decide what's going to lead the news, what's a prominent news story," Lauck said.
So what about the Midwest?
"I'd like those folks to send more correspondents out to Iowa and Nebraska and South Dakota, and find out what's going on here, and let those kind of stories lead the news," Lauck said.
Lauck grew up and was educated in the Midwest. But he's no stranger to the east coast and its political clout; today he serves as senior adviser and counsel to one of the country's most prominent political voices, South Dakota Senator John Thune. Lauck is also the author of a new book: "From Warm Center to Ragged Edge."
"Us folks out here, in the middle of the country, don't have any leverage in the culture," Lauck said. "We don't have any say. We don't have voices in the national cultural conversation. That's why we need to read this book."
It's an idea that's catching on. Jeff Danz, owner of Zandbroz Variety in downtown Sioux Falls, carries Lauck's book and has already had to order more copies. Danz has high praise for Lauck.
"I think he's become our leading champion in promoting and protecting the heritage of Midwestern political history and cultural history," Danz said.
The inspiration behind the book began with a curiosity about Midwestern history.
"My initial motivation was to discover more about the people who migrated into the state of South Dakota," Lauck said. "'Cause they were mostly Midwesterners. So I wanted to understand their culture better."
Only the research wasn't exactly extensive, he says.
"The problem was, nobody has written about Midwestern culture from 50 or 100 years ago, so that's what motivated me to take on this project," Lauck said.
So is he happy with his book?
"The book has been a labor of love, with a great emphasis on labor. It's taken many years, but I'm glad it's finally out the door," Lauck said.
Danz believes Lauck's writing about the Midwest is already having an influence on the coast.
"I think the elitist attitudes on the coasts about the Midwest are starting to dissolve and change. The Midwest is looking a lot more attractive to people," Danz said.
As so many of us who live here know, an appreciation for the Midwest comes easily. So does an eagerness to share what makes it great.
"I have deep roots in the Midwest, and enjoy my time here, and I want more people to know about it," Lauck said.
Along with Zandbroz in Sioux Falls, Lauck's book is also available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.
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