Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sad, lonely, waiting to die

 An excerpt from University of Iowa professor Stephen Bloom's essay in The Atlantic, "Observations from Twenty Years of Iowa Life:"

"Those who stay in rural Iowa are often the elderly waiting to die, those too timid (or lacking in educated) to peer around the bend for better opportunities, an assortment of waste-toids and meth addicts with pale skin and rotted teeth, or those who quixotically believe, like Little Orphan Annie, that 'The sun'll come out tomorrow.'"

Another one:

"They speak English in Iowa. You understand the words fine. (Broadcasters, in fact, covet the Iowa 'accent,' since it could come from anywhere, devoid of regional inflections.) But if you listen closely, though, it's a wholly different manner of speaking from what folks on either coast are accustomed to."

"Indoor parking lots are ramps, soda is pop, lollipops are suckers, grocery bags are sacks, weeds are volunteers, miniature golf is putt-putt, supper is never to be confused with dinner, cellars and basements are totally different places, and boys under the age of 16 are commonly referred to as 'Bud.' Almost every Iowa house has a mudroom, so you don't track mud or pig shit into the kitchen or living room, even though the aroma of pig shit is absolutely venerated in Iowa: It's known to one and all here as 'the smell of money.'"

Bloom doesn't regret the essay; he says it is "satire."  But nobody is laughing, including Bloom.  Maybe that's because the essay is not funny.  (It's not satire, either.)  Have a look at this interview on MSNBC.




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