Lansing, Michigan's capital city, just can't catch a break when it comes to "Little Brother Syndrome." Michigan State University has to hear that reference every time they're spoken of in the same breath as the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Now Lansing has to hear it when compared to the state's largest city, Detroit.

Why Lansing is Getting Called a 'Sad Little Town'

The kerfuffle started with an opinion piece published in the Detroit Free Press based on a reporter reflecting on a recent visit to the capital.

It struck me again last week, as I drove around downtown Lansing looking for a parking lot I'd been told was right across from the Lansing State Journal, where I planned to work for the day: This is a sad little town.

I go to Lansing as infrequently as is possible for someone in my position, which turns out to be not very often at all. But I still remember the first time I traveled to the state capital, shortly after I joined the Free Press in 2012.

"Yeesh," I thought to myself. "These are the people who look down on Detroit?"

Shots fired. Reloaded then shots fired again. I mean, damn, don't hold back. The column concludes with reasons why the capitol should move back to Detroit, the territorial and early statehood seat of government for Michigan.

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

The reaction in Lansing and across the state was swift and strong.

A columnist for the co-owned Lansing State Journal fired back with a column of his own.

(And we should pause a moment on that co-ownership of the two papers. Gannett owns both the Freep and State Journal, along with roughly 20 more papers across the state. So let's not discount this tit for tat may be a coordinated effort to get pageviews - gotta chase rival MLive, eh? Hey, I work in commercial media, too. Don't think we haven't tried similar tactics between radio hosts.)

Lansing Responds to 'Sad Little Town' Swipe

Back to the Lansing response. A columnist for the State Journal penned a reply that hits back and refutes point-by-point the issues raised in the Detroit column. Most damning, the columnist uses the Detroiter's words squarely and correctly against her. She opens the column saying she goes to Lansing as infrequently as possible. That should sound familiar to Detroit (and let's throw in Flint, too) residents who routinely have their city trashed by those who deign to never visit or visit as little as possible.

Lansing's mayor, Andy Schor, also wrote to the Freep to have his say. Interestingly, when the Freep published Mayor Schor's letter it included the explainer back to the original column and is now labeling it as 'humorous' which was summed up correctly by a tweet from a sitting Lansing councilman.

The mayor's response highlights the best of his city and invites anyone who questions Lansing's vitality and vibrancy to spend some time there - he has recommendations. But the most striking lines in the mayor's letter served to to express the genuine hurt that Lansingites felt:

Even if written in jest, the editorial was disparaging of our Capital City. We need to be positive about the things going on in Lansing, just like in Detroit and all other Michigan cities.

This editorial came across to many (myself included) as criticism that people may not see as funny when said about their community. If this was written about Detroit, I would have the same adverse reaction.

Lansing vs Detroit (if such a rivalry truly exists - I don't think it does) would not be uncommon among states where the capital city is not the largest metropolitan area in the state. In New York, Albany is often referenced as 'Smallbany' by downstate NYC, Westchester and Long Island transplants.

'Sad Little Town' Reactions

Yes, other media was looking.

Lansing welcome signs with the city's new slogan.

More 'Sad Little Town' reaction:

The last word on any discussion on Lansing sadness should revolve around the city's beloved QD chip dip.

And if you're just getting familiar with Lansing, check out the streets of the city:

MORE: Some of Our Favorite Streets Signs In Lansing

More From 100.5 FM The River