Gloves Come Off In Michigan/Wisconsin Mitten Kerfuffle

Michigan suggests Wisconsin subtract 4 fingers.

A new Wisconsin ad campaign has residents of Michigan saying “hands off our motto”.

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s website features a picture of the state’s outline crafted to resemble some sort of bizarre, knitted Elephant Man-esque mitten.   Wisconsin seeks to lure winter visitors with the graphic.

Michigan has long laid claim to the title “The Mitten State”, for obvious reasons. Michiganders learn to navigate using their right hand to represent the lower part of the state before they get to kindergarten.   Advanced lessons on use of the left hand to represent the Upper Peninsula are not covered until later grades.

In an AP article printed in the Washington Post, a Wisconsin Department of Tourism spokeswoman admitted, “We’re not the Mitten State. Michigan, they can own that.”  Not content to leave well-enough alone, the functionary continued with “We want to be known as the Fun State.”  This is clearly a taunt implying that eating cheese in the snow is somehow more fun than all the great things one can do in Michigan. 

Things got ugly at a local tavern when Michiganders and Wisconsinites squared off over the mitten controversy.  Tempers were exacerbated by the Michigan State Spartans football team’s loss on Saturday to the University of Wisconsin Badgers.  The considered opinion of most people interviewed by this reporter, is that a questionable call late in the game stole a trip to the Rose Bowl from the Spartans, as surely as if the Badgers had come onto the field in ski masks, bearing sawed-off shotguns.

Some of the tavern’s Michigan contingent were heard making disparaging remarks about Wisconsin when comparing the size of the Door County Peninsula to The Thumb.  Door County residents were quick to respond that it’s not the size of the peninsula that matters; it’s what you do with it that counts.  Discussion turned into a shouting match comparing the attractiveness and availability of sexual partners in the winter in Escanaba vs Manitowoc (some comments involved moose), and quickly degenerated from there.

Wisconsin says they will steal some other state’s motto for their spring ad campaign, but for now, the mitten reference stays.   Michigan’s response involved one, un-mittened finger.

Peg-o-leg, reporting from Bay City, Michigan, smack-dab between the thumb and forefinger.


About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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39 Responses to Gloves Come Off In Michigan/Wisconsin Mitten Kerfuffle

  1. I’m from California, I think all of the states should hold hands and get along. 🙂


  2. Tar-Buns says:

    Peg, EXCELLENT! I heard about this just the other day. Really like your final comments 🙂
    It’s a rip-off and I like WI, lived there once upon a time.
    One comment – I use the LEFT hand to replicate the lower peninsula, where the trolls live (just ask any yooper from the UP. Having lived there, also, I know.
    Great one sista!
    PS – I did visit Al’s blog on Pearl Harbor and left a message. A beautiful tribute to his FIL.


    • pegoleg says:

      Left hand?? What the..??? I feel like I never really knew you, Tar. How do you get your right hand around to replicate the UP?

      I forgot about that – the trolls who live under the bridge 🙂


      • Tar-Buns says:

        The thumb of the right hand, palm forward, is the peninsula. Or whatever. I guess I can see your reasoning, now. Anyhoo, I laughed out loud at your post, even as I walked away from the computa 🙂
        Really enjoyed this one !!!


  3. Maybe a Solomon-esque solution is in order…
    confiscate both states’ mittens and threaten to cut off all the thumbs. The state that cares the most about their mittened moniker will surely offer to forfeit it to the other state rather than see any harm befall the mittens (and they should be designated the true… wait… what was I talking about again? I don’t even remember where I was going with this anymore…)


  4. I love this post and now fear mittens.


  5. k8edid says:

    Peg, can you warm it up a little in Michigan – I’m headed up there in about 10 days? You’re right – every Michgander can point to the spot on the hand where they live.
    Since one of my sons pointed out to me that Florida resembles a penis (somewhat) I have been at a loss as to anatomically show people where I now live….


    • Tar-Buns says:

      Oh My God! I have never thought of FL as that prized male appendage. Thanks for the visual (not!).


    • pegoleg says:

      Hmmm. I can see where that would be a challenge for a chick. I can’t believe I never noticed the resemblance, although I have heard some Floridians referred to as…never mind. This is a family blog.

      I don’t live there anymore, but I will also be heading there for Christmas. If I pass you on the highway I’ll wave, ok?


    • Libertarian says:



  6. pattisj says:

    I always wanted to be part of a kerfuffle. But I thought it was kerfluffle. It appears that came from across the border. Anyhoo, it sounds like fun.


  7. Um…am I the only one confused by the camouflage cow-print in elephant colours on the Wisconsin mitten? What’s wrong with red mittens?

    Fun post, Peg!



  8. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    All I know is that if you go without mittens in either state during the winter, you’ll lose fingers. And then mittens will be moot. Silly people.


  9. What a country MI.
    I was confused when driving from “coast to coast” meant driving from Lake Erie to Lake Michigan, but was further confused when folks from FL referred to the West coast…”All the way to LA?” I’d ask. “No, Tampa/St. Petersburg.” That’s when I learned each state is a country unto themselves. In TX there are bumper stickers that simply say “Secede.”


  10. Being way up here all by ourselves, sticking out of the rest of the country like a big fat sore thumb, I think Maine should enter into the fray. When I asked my husband if he knew anything about the mitten thing (his family is from Dearborn Heights) he was, not surprisingly, clueless. He did inform me though that it’s a tradition for Red Wings fans to throw squid on the ice at games. So, see–lots of fun times to be had in Michigan!


  11. Big Al says:

    If the mitt doesn’t fit you must quit. Can’t we all just……….get along?


  12. Amy says:

    Oh, I can just hear the nasal-y, drawn-out-vowel-sounds shouting now. But, seriously, WI should know better (or “bettah”). I’m from Battle Creek, MI (lower left palm) and will defend their right to the mitten.


  13. Oh, silly humans. We can fight about the silliest things. Mottos, mittens with huge gaping holes in them… 😉


  14. Laura says:

    Are you sure you want to be the Mitten State? That sounds like it would be really uncomfortable in the summer.


  15. The Finger Lakes have it so easy. They clearly hold the copyright on their own likenesses. Look at it this way: you could be Florida, aka, “America’s Wang.”


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