I just never get tired of it. The nervous earnestness of “Ya, you know it's a Radisson so it's pretty good.” How Sheriff Gunderson’s brief moment of displeasure -- “Why don’t you sit over there? I'd prefer that” -- is apologized for in code: “Just so I can see ya, ya know. Don't have to turn my neck.” And then as Mike Yanagita begins to atone explicitly, her “Nooo, noo, that’s fine,” shows that it is anything but.
I could go on -- the way Gunderson reveals her shock over Linda’s death and then immediately masks it because the waitress is there; or the breakdown of Mike Yanagita itself, a gross violation of the tenets of Midwestern Nice, which makes the scene both hilarious and mortifyingly hard to watch. But the point is, with that scene, the Coen brothers, products of the Twin Cities, give away the Midwest’s secret -- something President Obama, of Kansas and Chicago, knows, too, and something that Johnny Carson, of Norfolk, Nebraska, knew every night the stage lights shone on him, and what David Foster Wallace, of Urbana, Illinois, knew in each of his “maximalist” stories, capturing all the conflicting truths of any moment, and then the infinite iterations beyond that: we may seem slow, or at least intellectually sated, but we live on a heightened plane of consciousness that few of you can comprehend. To be from here is, quite simply, to read a room better than fucking anyone.