Thursday, December 30, 2010

Damnation by Faint Praise, Illustrated by State

The 1Bog blog has achieved what's destined to be lasting internets fame by enumerating a superlative to attach to each of the fifty US states. Not surprisingly, many of these reveal what we already knew but would usually prefer to avoid stating outright -- that many of the states are terrible, empty, dull, pointless places, and in a better, more civilized world, would close down, hand in the keys, and fold their operations into a neighboring state. Consider Oklahoma, for example:

Uh, yea. I have seen many of these man-made "lakes," if that's the proper word for wretched cow ponds loaded with vicious painted turtles, upturned koi, frightened perch, and desperately underfed bass. Show me a state where people have taken the time and effort to dig hundreds and hundreds of "lakes," and I'll show you a depressing, featureless, life-force-draining flatland whose monotony has driven demonstrably lazy people to dig until they have something that can be habitat for something they can kill. Speaking of show-me states, what is Missouri best at? You'll be glad I asked for you:

First observation: Kansas City is roughly half in Kansas. Second observation: having lots of freeway per capita is nothing to take pride in, especially when there's nowhere to go but to the Kansas half of town. Which brings me to the third observation: Kansas City is the sort of place that moves people to dig until they have something they can fill with water, then fill with small creatures, then kill the small creatures -- or, as the case may be, dig until they can find a new place to site a freeway, then wait for cars to collide upon it.

I make fun of Kansas because it lacks redeeming qualities, but compared with some states, its entry on the list is not so bad:

Everybody loves wheat! Well, except for the gluten-intolerant among us, but they love it from afar, as in the romances of old. And trust me -- driving through endless fields of it is at least as interesting as driving through endless fields of alfalfa or corn. Corn, you say? What about Nebraska?

Put differently, Nebraska is the nation's leading slaughterer of cows. One or another state had to be, right? Right. The real cache of corn lies due east, in Iowa:

Without Iowa's huge corn production totals, what would sweeten our soft drinks, cakes and donuts? Without soft drinks and endless varieties of corn chips, how would we wash down all that Nebraska beef? It's difficult to imagine what people did for sweeteners and corn chips before Congress started massively subsidizing corn production. Maybe they squeezed turnip juice or something? Ew.

If Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa surrendered their statehood and added their distinctiveness to a newly-enlarged Kansas, it's easy to see what would be lost -- the number of stars on the flag would drop to 46, as would the number of illustrations of state-by-state superlatives at 1Bog.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Dale, I see that the best they could do for South Dakota was say that a group of people most Americans think are extinct live here. I suppose it's good that the space limitations prevented mentioning that their poverty rate rivals anywhere in the country.

Combining states would have one major effect; the number of Senators - and possibly Representatives, depending on how it shook out - would drop. While this would mess up that nice round 100 in th Senate, I could see advantages to fewer members of Congress.