Old north

bold north

New North/Minnesota Vikings photo



The sorry state of vision plaguing Alaska’s aging, political elite can today be condensed to one word: North.

North is the region to which the Midwest is trying to rebrand itself. The big, Minnesota-led push for North is set to emerge at the Superbowl.

The Superbowl is the biggest sporting event on U.S. television. More than 111 million people turned in to watch last year.  An endless stream of news stories precede the Superbowl. There are so many reporters competing to find something new to write about that they are easily drawn to anything quote-unquote “new.”

Type “Superbowl north” into Google, and you’ll see the stories they are being drawn to now:

“Forget The Midwest: Minnesota Invites Super Bowl Fans To ‘The North.” “Embrace the Bold North in Minneapolis for Super Bowl.”  “Forget the Midwest. Minnesota Casts Itself as the North.”

One letter of protest from the governor of Alaska to the governor of Minnesota – copied to all the media, of course – protesting the Midwest’s attempt to steal Alaska’s brand would be certain to attract some attention here.

Alaska does have a legitimate gripe.

“North to the Future” is the state’s motto.  Alaska is the North. If the Midwest becomes the North, what would Alaska’s new motto be?

Somewhere to the Future? What is Future? Ain’t Got No Future?


Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is 66-years-old, turning 67 in April. Maybe his eyesight is failing because you have to be blind to miss this opportunity. This is low-hanging fruit.

Tourism is one of Alaska’s biggest businesses and, at the moment, one of the few working well at bringing money into the state. Tourism lives and dies on exposure. People visit the places they know and think about. The Superbowl offers Alaska a no-cost chance to get more people thinking about Alaska.

Yes, we all know the governor is busy worrying about his long-dreamed-of natural gas pipeline to China that is supposed to save us all from economic doom even if it doesn’t net the state much money. And, yes, he has put some time into various schemes to tax Alaskans in one way or another to magically pull the state out of a recession in violation of all basic economic principles.

So he’s a busy man. But how hard is it for an attention monger like Walker to order someone on his staff to write a letter or letters that could snag the state possibly millions of dollars worth of free tourism advertising? Or better yet, maybe just fire up some social media.

President Donald Trump wouldn’t hesitate to seize the opportunity here:

“Middling Midwest tries to steal North. AK won’t stand for it. AK = North. See B4U Die! It’s huge. MN sucks!”

Tweet it, baby; Tweet it.


Seriously though, Alaska is the North. Let’s just review some objective markers that define North.




Snowmobile races:


Gold rushes:

Northern lights:

 Famous authors:



Grizzly bears


Someone could have fun with an Alaska-Minnesota showdown over “North” and garner the 49th state a good bit of free publicity with no monetary investment and little effort. But nobody is doing anything because, well, because the political leadership in Alaska is preoccupied with the way things were and trying to keep them that way instead of seizing whatever new opportunities come by in the here and now.

In that sense, North is almost a metaphor for a state in recession and decline.




4 replies »

  1. Jack London? Jack spent, like what 6 months in Alaska if that.
    We have Seth Kanter and Craig Medred 😉

    • more like eight or nine months, but i’d venture to say that in that fall-to-summer period from Skagway to St. Michael, London spent more time with boots on the ground in the real Alaska than 80 or 90 percent of the reporters in Alaska newsrooms today, though not merely as much time as Seth. London was also one hell of a writer. i love to go back and read him just for the range of his vocabulary: “When did Westondale pull out?’ he asked. ‘He stopped here, didn’t he?’ This was supererogatory, for the tracks told their own tale too.” “supererogatory?” WTF? amazing to think how much writing has dumbed down in 100 years.

    • and thanks for the laugh. i am decidedly not wise. i am, however, smart enough to see where a governor of the state of Alaska could a.) have some fun; b.) unite Alaskans around a common theme for a change; and c.) swing some free promotion for AK tourism.

Leave a Reply