Michael J. Thorp Would Like to Introduce You to Some Pretty Cool Michiganians
You probably know Michael J. Thorp from his days as a news anchor at WJRT TV-12 or as a Flint radio host. But did you know he's also an author? Thorp's latest book has just been released and there's a few cool Michiganians he thinks you might enjoy getting to know. The book is called 'Michiganians You Should Know (Plus Some You Do and Don't Know Why)' and it's available here.
You may have noticed the use of the word 'Michiganians' as opposed to 'Michiganders.' Thorp talked about that in an exclusive interview with Cars 108 and we'll get to that in a minute.
Sure, most of us are aware that Madonna, Casey Kasem, and Tim Allen are from Michigan. But there are others -- lots of others who call the Mitten State their home and deserve a little credit.
What Was the Inspiration for the Book?
Thorp said he jotted down an idea one day when he was anchoring the TV news, reporting on the sentencing of a former Detroit mayor.
"One day I was sitting at the anchor desk and the story was coming across the wire and Kwame Kilpatrick was being sentenced at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice," Thorp said. "And I remember thinking, 'What did Frank Murphy ever do to always get connected with all these lowlifes?'"
He began to do some research on Murphy and discovered that he was the governor of Michigan, serving during the time of the General Motors Sit-Down Strike in 1937. Murphy called in the National Guard and gave the order to both sides to negotiate, and that led to the formation of the United Auto Workers union.
From there, he went on to be appointed by Franklin D. Rosevelt to become Attorney General of the United States and then served as a justice on the Supreme Court. As a liberal justice on a mostly conservative court, Murphy blasted the US and the president who had appointed him for running Japanese internment camps, calling it an act of racism. Murphy goes down in history as the first US justice to use the word 'race' in the history of the Supreme Court.
Murphy's tale led Thorp to look at other stories steeped in Michigan history. He notes that while the book does contain biographies, he thinks of himself as more of a storyteller.
"Basically I use the opportunity to tell the stories of people that you might not have heard of before and why they should be remembered," he says. "So there's great, amazing stories about people that are associated with Michigan."
Why Do We Call It Pop?
In the book, Thorp shares an interesting story that explains why Michiganians say 'pop' rather than 'soda.' The Feigenson brothers, who later shortened their brand name to Faygo, delivered soda on Faygo wagons. The bottles were stored upside down to keep the lids sealed tightly during transportation, and the brothers noted that they only considered the beverage 'good' if it made a 'popping' sound when the top was removed. From there, the word 'pop' was associated with soda here in the state of Michigan.
Why Does Thorp refer to us as 'Michiganians?'
The debate over Michigander v. Michiganian has gone on forever, but Thorp noted that he has always made a conscious effort to refer to the citizens of Michigan as Michiganians, and that choice is reflected in the title of his latest book.
At one time, the term 'Michigander' was used as an insult. The person that hurled that barb upon Michigan citizens is none other than President Abraham Lincoln.
Thorp goes into more detail on that story in the book, but he makes a really good case for sticking with Michiganian.
'Michiganians You Should Know (Plus Some You Do And Don't Know Why) is available here and should be in bookstores soon.