My priors up my sleeve, and presto!

The intrepid moose and plucky squirrel lived in the fictional Frostbite Falls, Minnesota.

Serial fabulist Claas Relotius wrote fiction about the very real Fergus Falls, Minnesota, among other places.  Apparently telling stories that make European cosmopolitans and coastal metrofexuals comfortable with their prejudices can be a way to avoid fact-checking, at least where Der Spiegel or The New Republic are concerned.  Tell your "truth" long enough and people will believe it.

Now here's something we hope you'll really like.  Margaret "University Diaries" Soltan offered a poem in the style of W. B. Yeats.  (I heard echoes of Masefield's "Sea Fever" as well.)

Some residents of Fergus Falls, probably with prior experience dealing with nogoodniks, offered a rebuttal.  "Not only did he simply indulge in fabricating dramatic scenes and stories about Fergus Falls, but Relotius somehow spent three weeks here and managed to miss out on experiencing the real community and its many complex perspectives, which might have actually offered a helpful analyses about economic transition, politics and identity in rural America."  The Deputy Minister of Propaganda Information at Der Spiegel has issued an acknowledgement, one that concurs in part with the rebuttal.
[T]he initial review we have now conducted also shows that even if the whole story had been fact-checked according to the magazine's existing guidelines and all obvious mistakes and inaccuracies removed, large parts of the text could still have been fiction. DER SPIEGEL can only apologize to the residents of Fergus Falls. We are sorry.
Lake Wobegon might be fictional, but Fergus Falls is in that neighborhood, and you don't want to mess with a region where the women are strong, the men good-looking, and the children above average.  Apparently capable of being Minnesota Nice, as well.

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