Duck, Duck, Grey Duck and the Minnesota Conspiracy

Katie Kelly

Manjoo’s first three chapters in his book True Enough are a lot to take in both in the way of new information and linking them to demonstrated concepts. The showing of examples given to demonstrate selective exposure and selective perception are overtly political and emotional. While they are nationwide occurrences, trying to recall events that happened when I was in the fourth grade or younger isn’t exactly helping solidify the concept and impact these biases have over our readers. Instead, I propose another conspiracy theory that should be equally as charged on both side with far less importance to the larger realm of the world. That is: duck, duck, goose or duck, duck, grey duck?

The childs game is simple but the nomenclature seems to be far from it. Asking the majority of people in the United State it will be a resounding ‘duck, duck, goose’. But somewhere in the back, Minnesota will crawl out of the locker it was shoved into to proudly should ‘duck, duck, grey duck’ and then tell you it’s not as cold as it is in Minnesota. All stereotypes aside, the variation of the game between ‘grey duck’ and ‘goose’ has no effect on how the game is played, but it still of great importance for baseline understanding between people of different geographical regions. Now, the game originated in Sweden where the original translation from Swedish to English was in fact ‘duck, duck, grey duck’. The only problem with this is that Minnesota is literally the only one of fifty states that doesn’t say ‘duck, duck, goose’. So who is really wrong?

Considering it’s a fight of 49 to 1, sheer numbers would say that it’s ‘goose’ that wins. But the true translation is ‘grey duck’. Considering selective exposure and selective perception are also tied to social norms, it makes the argument that much more unclear. In the cases of playing ‘duck, duck, goose’ with my friends, either my friends from Minnesota refuse to play or we would not allow them to play because we were so stubborn about using our own nomenclature. (Why college kids are playing duck, duck, goose is another interesting social observation saved for another time). These same Minnesota friends have sent us articles about how the correct name is ‘grey duck’ and those of us who use ‘goose’ promptly ignore those articles. Then it comes down to the map up top. Knowing the correct translation and understanding the majority of the population does not use the correct translation, this creates two realities that live side by side and do no concede to the other.

I will, for the sake of beating up on Minnesotans, talk about the pronunciation of Nevada. Being a Las Vegas local it was always baffling to meet someone who pronounced it Ne-vah-da. Honestly, it made it sound a lot fancier than the bland desert deserved. The stranger thing is that this was coming from Californians, the neighbors who randomly bought houses in Vegas because why not. And then a good majority of the rest of the country also pronounces it this way. However, locals do not. There is probably no one alive today to speak to the true translation and pronunciation of the word from when the state was founded, but Nevadans have conceded that there are two pronunciations and one must be right. Issue being, both will be used anyway.

The idea of selective exposure and perception are social constructed to better explain our tight knit norms, especially when it comes to selective exposure to people. Moral of the blog post: the game is duck, duck, goose.


2 thoughts on “Duck, Duck, Grey Duck and the Minnesota Conspiracy

  1. This was a really cool way of discussing the reading! I love the example of it as a pathway to asking which is correct. 49 to 1, like you said it quite a big gap, so what weight do we give original origins? I’m not sure where I sit with this. Do you think it’s a case by case basis, or do you think we should have a set answer so precedent can clear up any grey areas? My gut tells me that if there is a provable origin what is “true” should default to that, but I have to think on it.


  2. I really like your example on selective exposure and selective perception. It is obvious that we are bound to our norms whether they are true or false. When there are some conflicts on some daily activities like this game, you try to prove our side and refuge justification from other side may be because that is not a matter of concern. When I read you post, I didn’t know about this game then I googled it and found that this the same game I have played in my childhood. We have our own nomenclature and that is vary even among towns within states. We never tried to find out the actual name and origin of the game because we didn’t have to and it never bothered us.


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