Iowa Nice

My friend in Iowa tipped me off to this.  I’m not from Iowa myself, but this pretty much encapsulates my feelings about bias towards flyover country.

About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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16 Responses to Iowa Nice

  1. Matty says:

    Well I thought the computer was invented at Bletchley Park but I looked it up and Iowa does have a claim as do Berlin and Bell Labs in New Jersey. The wikipedia article seems to imply some confusion over how like modern computers a machine had to be to qualify as the first of the type.

  2. James Hanley says:

    Give credit to all those places for being important players, I’d say.

  3. Lance says:

    “We’re nice.”

    At the end of a transcontinental road trip to Los Angeles my 79′ Ford Fiesta toasted a coolant fan switch and stranded me on the Santa Anna freeway during rush hour traffic. One local Hispanic fellow (California plates) actually stopped briefly to curse me out for blocking traffic even though I was as far over as I could get and had made the considerable effort of pushing my car a few hundred yards up hill to get as far out of the road as possible.

    After forty five minutes a friendly guy in van stopped to help me.

    He had Iowa plates.

  4. Mark Boggs says:

    My computer at work has no sound but I know there are two versions of this, one naughty and one nice. Does it harm the reputation of us current and former Iowans to say I like the naughty version best?

  5. Mark Boggs says:

    The other thing about this is that (I like to think) it might also be trying to dispel the notion that flyover country is a cookie cutter version of what the GOP would like it to be. That everyone here doesn’t understand gay people, doesn’t have some skepticism about religion, doesn’t have a 50’s patriarchal view of the world. A few days in Iowa City would embarass the GOP that that is part of flyover country.

  6. Mark Boggs says:

    …on the other hand, Iowa does have its share of culture zealots. For instance, Bob Vander Plaats.

  7. I confess that growing up in Denver, I had a somewhat reflexively pejorative, and mostly ignorant, view of Iowa and Iowans. In part this is a result of knowing an Iowan family growing up who embodied many of the stereotypes unfairly applied to all Iowans–salt of the earth, homophobic, anti-big government except when it came to farm subsidies–and yet also, I must admit, were, in their own fashion, very welcoming and even tolerant people. The lesson, I guess, is to avoid making facile generalizations about people who I scarcely know and about places I have only driven through or “flown over.”

    For boosterish Denverites, anti-Iowa-ism is sort of like the pot calling the kettle a kitchen accoutrement. My impression is that Denverites have a somewhat bifurcated attitude on the issue of what counts as “flyover” country and how one should treat it. On the one hand, Denver is, or at least the Denverites who are boosters like to believe it is, the capital of the Rocky Mountain region, and therefore somewhat “cosmopolitan” (in a strangely provincial way). On the other hand, compared to Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles, Denver is certainly not the center of the universe, and compared to regional rivals, like Kansas City (not in the Rockies, but in the orbit of what some Denver boosters might claim as a hinterland), Salt Lake City, Butte, Laramie, or Boise, Denver is, at most, first among equals.

  8. D.A. Ridgely says:

    Off hand, is there anywhere where 4 out of 5 people don’t live in cities? As for computers, I would think Alan Turing has a better claim at their conceptual invention, everything that followed being mere engineering improvements. And speaking as an attorney, I’m not sure helping to spread the proliferation of lawyers in America of any gender, creed or color is much of a bragging right. Just sayin’.

    The reality is, of course, that provincialism is everywhere, especially among people whose world has never extended far beyond their birthplace. Texans have an extraordinarily insular view of the rest of the nation and world, many of they actually believing that those who are not Texans must be envious of those who are. A POV strikingly similar to many natives of Manhattan. And don’t get me started on Californians.

    The Midwest has its charms and virtues, most of which our coastal elites (people like, um, me) are blissfully ignorant about because they have never so much as set foot there. But what’s true of the city mouse is also true, well, you know.

    BTW, having grown too lazy to blog, I’ve taken up the wonderful one-liner world of Twitter: @DARidgely, if anyone cares to read the not so long winded version of me. My tweets are somewhat like Oscar Wilde or Dorothy Parker would have tweeted.

    If they had far less talent. that is.


  9. DAR,

    Exactly. Being a dick or a salt of the earth person doesn’t magically begin and end at the lines on a map. Except for Utah County, home of the city of Provo and BYU. There is something inherently wrong with those people.

  10. James Hanley says:

    Mark–I think the video is targeted toward both the GOP and the “liberal elite.” Both sides tend to think of Iowa and its ilk (as a Midwesterner, I guess I’m part of Iowa’s ilk) as cookie-cutter. Both sides, of course, are equally wrong.

    Pierre–Denverites even think about Iowa? Are Kansas and Nebraska so little noticing that you Rocky Mountaineers skip right over to the banks of the Mississippi in your thoughts? And Denver only equal to Laramie and Butte? Wow, that’s out in public now, so you can never go home again.

    DAR–My experience with Californians was that they were just insular in the sense that they didn’t understand anything of the U.S. outside their borders, but not that they assumed everyone was jealous of them (the San Francisco Chronicle being the exception to that). For example, I’m not sure I ever once mentioned Yellowstone to a Californian without them saying, “You mean Yosemite?” But Texans, my god are you right. I used to not care much about them, then I started meeting them, and learning that they all did assumed I was jealous of them. My first time in Texas was as a kid, about 12 years old, way up in the panhandle. We were at a campground that was just baked earth, so hard we couldn’t drive the tent pegs in more than a few inches, with the nearest vegetation being some dead trees about a quarter mile away, and the least topographical relief of any place I’ve ever been. And the lady at the camp store asked, “So how do y’all like Texas?” Are you fucking kidding me? I understand there are attractive places in Texas, but north of Amarillo ain’t one of them. Later I found they all seem to be like that. One of my favorite encounters with a Texan was when I told an astonishingly naive Texas teen that I like to mess with Texas. “Sometimes,” I said, “I’ll fly down there, rent a car, and just drive around throwing trash out the window.” “But why would you do that?” he asked plaintively. Oh, yeah, Texans should be required to have passports to come North–and none should be granted.

  11. Matty says:

    Oh, yeah, Texans should be required to have passports to come North–and none should be granted.

    Have you considered asking the Mexicans to take them back? That’s got to be worth a few laughs.

  12. Lance says:

    I lived in Dallas for about a year. Fairly miserable climate. (Hot,100+ degrees and dry most of the summer and then it will get into the teens some times in the winter.) Scrubby mesquite brush and fairly flat landscape. The trees that survive look strangled and tormented compared to their temperate climate relatives.

    Most of the people I met were arrogantly self-satisfied that Texas was the greatest place on earth even though the vast majority of them had never traveled anywhere else.

  13. James Hanley says:

    To be fair, I have met a few Texans who are far from the stereotype, and are as decent as anyone else you could ever meet. Oddly, though, even they speak of Texas in glowing terms not normally found among the residents of other states, even though they don’t assume that level of arrogance and assumption of others’ enviousness. I guess it’s a cultural thing.

    As to letting Mexico take them back, I’m all for expelling Texas, and whatever happens happens. I’d bet on Texas taking over Mexico rather than vice versa, though.

  14. Lance says:

    I didn’t mean to imply that I disliked most of the Texans I met. On the contrary I found them to be mostly warm and engaging people. They are typically self reliant and unassuming.

    They just seem to think that Texas is some sort of exceptional place, more so than the residents of other states that I have encountered. Also you see the shape of the state EVERYWHERE; business logos, t-shirts, belt buckles, hats, you name it. Here in Indiana our state’s outline only shows up on state owned vehicles and licence plates.

    I agree that if Mexico and Texas merged Texas would probably come out on top. Anything they couldn’t influence they would adopt and claim that it was theirs all along.

  15. AMW says:

    I’ve lived in seven states (including California) in six distinct geographical regions. Everybody’s living in their own little world.

    Awesome video, by the way.

  16. Matty says:

    ‘I’d bet on Texas taking over Mexico rather than vice versa, though.’
    ‘if Mexico and Texas merged Texas would probably come out on top’

    Just as long as they don’t change the chocolate

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