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Why Packer Fans Wear Cheese Heads

I was born and raised in Wisconsin, but actually have lived most of my life in Minnesota - so, even though technically I could say I'm from Minnesota just from percentage of life lived in that location, I fear I'm forever stained as being from Wisconsin. Our State quarter came out and the bas relief picture on the reverse had a picture of a dairy cow looking adoringly at a huge wedge of cheese. Yes. That is the image that most and best describes who we are and exactly what we do.

You can see, then, how it would make so much sense that the Packers would have so much pride thrown their way by us. Sure, they haven't been hot this season, at all. Real embarassing as a matter of fact. But their performance in any given year is the point so much as them being a football team in Wisconsin. Period. That's something, and if we all can't take much pride in how they play on the field they are the one and only team that is actually owned by the people who live in that area and not some out-of-state whiney billionaire who cries if a half billion dollar stadium isn't built for him at taxpayer expense, so he can make money and take it back out of the state that built him that stadium.

I'm thinking of the Vikings (Vi-QUEENS here in Wisconsin) last owner Red McCombs. They got sold to somebody else now who's actually talking of building his own stadium, but I'm sure somewhere down the line he'll try and stick-up Minnesota for a hundred mil or so and call it a bargain. And while the Vikings have been to the Super Bowl four times, they've lost every single time, which is how you always win a sports argument with a Minnesota fan. You just remind them that their team will choke and break their hearts. They'll get quiet then, look down at the ground and say sadly: "Yeah. You're right."

Border rivalry's are pretty silly, generally, because they're based on nothing more than random geography and nothing important, like in the past when the people of Wisconsin invaded their state and enslaved all the Minnesotans and made them work in our cheese mines. As an example. That didn't really happen. But if it did, then it would make more sense for them to hate the packers like they do. Personally, I have less reason to participate in border rivalries like this since I've lived almost equally on both sides of that border.

Wisconsin people call Minnesotans 'Mud Ducks' (I don't know why) and they call us 'Cheese Heads' because of our production of cheese and putting it on our heads makes it insulting. Actually, I think Minnesota's surpassed Wisconsin as far as their number of total cows, so if you ask me they should be the real cheese heads. But, you know, they don't have cheese on their coins, so maybe it's fairer to call us that rather than them.

The cheese hats came about - I believe - as a way to respond to an insulting term and take ownership of it. That would be much the same way that gay people started taking the term 'Queer' and using it openly and unashamedly for themselves. It took a lot of the power and the sting out of it, and a pejorative doesn't work so well when your subject refuses to be shamed by it. The problem with the cheese head hats, though, is the very act of putting something that is made to resemble a huge wedge of cheese is in itself very undignified and making yourself look even stupider in no way gives you ownership of the insult. It kind of adds to it.

About the Author: Steve Sommers is the author of Breakfast with the Antichrist. His new novel, Rexroi, along with the best of Australian Science Fiction - is available as an ebook at, OR if you ABSOLUTELY need to turn pages when you read - at

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