Today’s blog on the cardinal virtues of American regions concludes with a look at the Northeast. The Northeast values above all honesty. In no other region will you find such a mass of people concerned with expressing themselves truly. Northeasterners are polite, to a point; they are calm, to an extent; and I suppose they are somewhat concerned with coolness, but they are primarily focused on realism. Talk to a Northeasterner, and you’ll generally exactly what they think about whatever it is they discuss. There is little camoflaging of opinion in the Northeast. There’s such a diversity of peoples and opinions that people have no trouble speaking against the status quo–or perhaps, the status quo(s).
Part of this tendency has to stem from the academic tilt of the Northeast. A preponderance of the nation’s finest institutions call the region home. Colleges and universities are notorious for voicing their opinions and for prizing the cutting edge. Because one finds colleges around every bend, an air of forthrightness prevails in the region. The cardinal virtue of the inhabitant: say what you will, and give little mind to what others might say. This tendency has obvious benefits and disadvantages. It’s great to know what people think, particularly as one moves through adulthood and discovers the increasing complexity of communication. Put simply, many people don’t say what they mean and mean what they say. This happens in the Northeast, but the tendency to speak one’s mind makes for a much more candid culture. One knows where one stands with people. There are few games that are played and most social interaction occurs on one plane instead of two (referring to the hidden meanings of many conversations).
However, the candid reflex of the Northeasterner leaves little room for the sanguineness or politeness of other societies. People of this region are more likely to separate into their camps and resolutely stay there, with the possibility of changed mind nil. It’s a good thing, often, not simply to stake one’s ground but to seek to work to understand others. This isn’t overly common in the Northeast. As one from the region, you can trust the honesty of this statement. All that said, the Northeast is an incredible region–did you see that picture above? There’s a certain regional confidence that develops in the nest of such beauty. Can you really fault a Northeasterner for that?