The last thing I'm going to publish this year is not a movie review but a response to an article written by a journalism professor from the University of Iowa. I promise we'll get back to the b-movie fun in 2012, but bear with me. This thing pissed me off enough I felt I needed to weigh in. Ignore or read on as you will. Apparently this thing has been all over the internet, so some of you may have read it already. If not, pop over here first and read the whole ridiculous thing. For having been a journalism professor for over two decades, the dude apparently never did learn how to write. Or proof read. Nor has the editor of The Atlantic. I hope he didn't get paid for that.
Okay, on to the fun stuff. I have lived in Iowa all my life, and will likely spend the rest of my days here as well. I'll grant you there isn't always a lot to do here, but since I hate people (This may seem contrary to some of my defenses of Iowans later, but going out in a social setting usually means a bar or club, and those people deserve AIDS. It's the farmers and nice old church ladies I'm sticking up for here, not some douche townie ex-high-school-jock who listens to Jay-Z and thinks he knows shit about life) and don't go out much, preferring the company of pets to barflies, that doesn't bother me. It's a nice place with a ridiculously low cost of living (something else Bloom seems to think is a negative), lots of wide open space (if you don't mind looking at fields – the southern part of the state is more interesting to look at, but I live just shy of the Minnesota border), and that suits me just fine.
I believe I'll just go through the article and address things as I come to them, giving excerpts for context. The first thing is admittedly a minor quibble, as Bloom simply mentions “Fundamentalist Republican Senator Charles Grassley”. Now, I'm definitely neither a fundamentalist nor a Republican, but if you're an Iowan with any ties to agriculture, you love you some Chuck Grassley. Not to mention he headed a committee going after “non-profit” megachurches and televangelists for tax evasion, getting them to explain why God came to them and told them they needed a new Jaguar S-Type and a 74-foot Azimut Magellano yacht to dock at their private sex island. He's one of the few Republicans I genuinely respect, even if I don't agree with him all the time. He did get one thing right, though. Steve King is a tremendous douche.
“..., not just a few Iowa heads turned when a District Court in Des Moines in 2007 declared same-sex marriages legal. Iowa, at the time, was the second state in the U.S. to allow gays to marry each other, a decision the state Supreme Court unanimously upheld two years later. In retaliation, Iowa conservatives in 2010 mounted a successful campaign to oust three of the justices who ruled on behalf of same-sex marriage. Marriage between two same-sex people is legal in Iowa for now, but may not be for long. So far, Democrats have blocked a statewide referendum on the issue (Dems hold sway in the Iowa Senate 26-24), but if Republicans take control of the Senate, gay marriage could -- and likely would -- be repealed.”
Is it possible, and even likely that eventually some conservative group will ruin the biggest move Iowans have made to present ourselves as progressive since our academic scores led the nation, hence the Iowa Test of Basic Skills? Sure. But at least we did it. Bloom, don't forget, is from California, the state whose fringe fundamentalist groups somehow managed to undermine the massive liberal majority and pass the vile Prop 8, banning gay marriage. Funny he decided to slam us for the possibility of someday overturning a positive court decision while failing to mention that the voters of his state outright banned it. Pay no attention to the hypocrite behind the curtain, while I pull a deflection of guilt and shame out of my hat! Assholecadabra!
Next up is a bunch of crap about how Iowa shouldn't be the first caucus state because we're all white Republicans blah blah whine whine, we supported Obama in 2008. You were saying? If you want to bitch about our election system, target the electoral college, which has been utterly pointless for a good century or more. But there are some standout non-sequitur sentences like this one:
“Many towns are so insular that farmers from another county are strangers.”
Uh...so everyone in the entire state of California is at least on a first-name-acquaintance basis with each other? You have to cross into Oregon or Arizona before you meet someone who isn't a stranger? That must make the perpetration of California's obscene crime rate awkward. “Give me all your cash and jewelery!” “Oh, my God, an armed man in a ski mask...wait, I recognize that voice. Steve, is that you?” “Shit, Bill, yes, it's me.” “What are you doing? We only live three counties apart, we're practically brothers!” “I know, but our ridiculous tax system has completely eaten away my savings and my gay lover Jim and I are trying to scrounge up enough money to road trip to Iowa so we can get married...”
And then we move on to my biggest pet peeve, bitching about farming and farmers. My response for people who badmouth farmers has, and always will be, “You want to grow all your own food? No? Then SHUT THE FUCK UP!” As I've said a few times in reviews, I grew up on an operational farm (corn and soybeans, no livestock), and dad continues to farm. I enjoy working with him, driving a tractor and the like, but I have no interest in taking over the family business. It's one of the hardest jobs in the world, and that's no exaggeration. I've seen dad go 72 hours straight in a tractor before, stopping only for the occasional whiz break. The stresses and dangers are unbelievable, and the rewards are dictated not by the backbreaking amount of work you put in but by the ebb and flow of markets and an outside shot that the weather won't totally ruin an entire year's work. Farming instills in you an appreciation for honest, hard work, which I will gladly do all day long, but my personality is just not geared for the kind of unpredictability and frustration that come with the logistics side of it. Not to mention I have no mechanical ability. Dad can dismantle, fix, and reassemble any machine you put in front of him in better working order than it rolled off the assembly line. I can change oil and tires, and that's about it.
Here, then, is the first bit of ignorant bullshit:
“For any corn connoisseurs out there, don't think of poaching an ear from a field, boiling it al dente, then slathering on it hot butter. Almost all the corn Iowa farmers grow is feed corn, not sweet corn. It's meant for pigs, not humans, and tastes that way. Almost all of it gets stored in an elevator (elevators in rural America raise and lower grain, not people.)”
Forgiving for a moment his missing the fact that you also shouldn't think of poaching an ear of sweet corn (risking a zapping from an electric fence and an assfull of buckshot when you're mistaken for a marauding raccoon) and turning it into tortilla chips or bread or cereal because corn meal, the thing all those tasty items are made from, comes from hard yellow corn rather than sweet corn (which is crunchy and juicy because it's picked while it's immature and sweet because of a mutation in the gene that converts sugar to starch – instead of maturing into hard, easily stored kernels like field corn, sweet corn becomes tough and nasty), livestock need to be fed too. Unless those delicious beef herds are fed on pixie dust and hope, I'm pretty sure they eat OUR FUCKING CORN! Of course, some of it feeds pigs (and poultry) too, but if you don't like bacon you're a Nazi. And we do have people elevators too, they just don't make for good grain storage so we don't talk about them much.
From here, the article pretty much devolves into a checklist of stereotypes. Are they true? In some way or another, sure they are. Stereotypes became stereotypes because they exist and are observable, open to the world for humorous comment. Anyway, here we go:
“Just about everyone wears a hat; farmer's tan is a condition every Iowan knows -- a blanched forehead above a leather-cured face.”
You probably didn't know this, but hats were banned in California in 2008 along with gay marriage, because state legislators were concerned that gay people would use them to conceal items like marriage licenses and sparkly, rainbow-colored glow-in-the-dark butt plugs. Everyone there has a perfect tan, because none of the white people work; that's handled by the people who come pre-tanned. As a result, they spend all their time evenly exposing every inch of their flawless bodies to UV rays. We backward Iowans on the other hand, have to devote our time and brain power to things other than the way we look, and mostly we don't really give a shit anyway. We assume people without farmer tans are filthy hippies.
“In this land, deep within America, on Friday nights it's not unusual to take a date to a Tractor Pull or to a Combine Demolition Derby ("First they were thrashin', now they're CRASHIN'!")”
Tractor pull and combine demolition derby are not proper nouns in this instance, and don't need to be capitalized, Mr. Journalism Professor. Unless it's required in AP English (all the same words as regular English, but with a six thousand page book of completely different and arbitrary rules that get rewritten for no good reason every couple of years!), but considering how poorly written the rest of the article is, I assume it was written on a drunken bender with no thought given to format. Also, the mechanism within the combine that forms the core of that oh-so-clever slogan is a thresher, not a thrasher. Plus, combine demo derbies are fucking boring because those things top out at around 15 miles an hour. Regular vehicle demo derbies, on the other hand, are a goddamn blast and fuck you if you don't like it. Always put your money on the station wagon.
“There are few billboards along the washboard-bumpy, blacktop roads that slice through the countryside, only hand-drawn signs advertising sweet corn, cattle, lemonade, or boar semen.”
Play to your audience. The marketing director who decided there should be a fifty-food billboard advertising a performance of some award-winning Russian ballet troupe on Highway 65 between Kensett and Northwood wouldn't keep his job long. Incidentally, I have never in my life seen a billboard advertising lemonade or boar semen (both are generally sold by children with small stands on sidewalks in town), and cattle are typically sold at auctions or big livestock sales, not hawked to random passersby out for a Sunday drive who get a wild hair up their ass to toss a couple heifers in the back of their Toyota Camry on the way home.
“Driving through these throwback towns, a stranger might receive a slight nod from a farmer on the side of the road, or a two-finger driver's greeting from knobby fingers atop a pick-up's steering wheel. Strangers are rare in these parts.”
Why do you hate farmers' fingers, Stephen Bloom? You'll only be getting a one-finger greeting from these knobby knuckles, cock bugler. And I thought everyone was a stranger in these insular towns? Make up your damn mind!
“What would bring someone with no business or family to such a remote pocket of America, where car alarms are as unheard of as home burglar alarms?”
Very little would bring them here. Which is why I like it here. Few people, and no herds of dumbass tourists. And not needing car and burglar alarms is bad why, exactly? Are you missing an essential part of the human experience if you're not constantly on guard to avoid being gang raped and murdered? I have deadbolts and a great Dane and an English mastiff. Of course, the Dane barks like a hellbeast but is an abject coward and will flee to another room at the first sign of an unfamiliar person, and the mastiff is the snuggliest dog in the world and would be overjoyed to see you whether you came bearing treats or a gun.
“Just about every town, no matter what size, has a water tower with the town name scrawled or stenciled on the tank's side.”
That's pretty much every town everywhere. Not really unique to Iowa. Not really much of a reason for complaint, either. “It's sucks here, all the people work really hard and they're friendly, and they have water towers! Ew!” I assume Californians are so technologically advanced that they store their potable drinking water in a pocket dimension held stable within a field of Higgs-Boson particles powered by love and Yani music.
“Each summer, the 4H and Future Farmers of America sponsor contests where teenagers vie for birthing and raising the best pig, lamb, goat, roster or hen.”
Yes, I was in 4-H, and I showed sheep. It's harder than it looks. Not that I'm a hardcore supporter, I just don't see why it's not a legitimate pastime either. I guess if we trained brain dead celebrities to walk around a sawdust covered show floor instead of bulls we'd be more worthy of respect.
“A float pulled by a farmer's pickup showcases smiling and often-hardy girls waving, to be crowned County Fair Queen, Dairy Queen, and Pork Queen.”
In Iowa, “hardy” is a compliment. Women know how to work too, you damned sexist. Also, we like our girls to look like girls, not stick-thin waifs with the bodies of adolescent boys. Wait, could it be? Oh my sweet Satan, Bloom is not only anti-feminist, he must also be a pedophile! Maybe that's what you need all the alarms for, to protect your young sons from Bloom's prowling schlong.
He then spends about half a page not being a colossal dickweed, talking about the serious problem of unemployment and the death of small business, outsourcing of good jobs, etc. Not to worry, though. He doesn't lose sight for very long before he realizes it's been almost five minutes since he was an asshole.
“What Average Joe in Iowa wants to admit he clings to anything -- except hunting, fishing, and the Hawkeyes? Guns, religion, xenophobia? Them's fightin' words.”
I don't have a problem with guns, although I don't own one and I think hunting is stupefyingly boring (much like golf, it's a good walk spoiled); I like fishing to the extent of a nice quiet day in the outdoors and I don't really give a shit whether or not I catch anything; I hate football so both the Hawkeyes and the Cyclones can get fucked, and I'm an atheist. That about cover it? Wait, no, I'm terrified of aliens. Ever since the day a Muslim killed my cat with its retracting double-jaws and spit acid on my mom, I've had to sleep with the light on.
“Today, I still not quite sure what I'd gotten myself into. I've lived in many places, lots of them foreign countries, but none has been more foreign to me than Iowa.
...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.”
Keep in mind all of these excerpts have been cut directly from the article without any kind of tampering with the content, and that this man so proudly lording his intellectual superiority over us simple country folk is doing so over four pages absolutely brimming with sentences like the one beginning that last segment. He reminds me a bit of a guy who applied for a job at the Dairy Queen a friend of mine managed in high school. He answered the, “How far do you live from work?” question with a simple, “3”, and in the previous employment section he wrote, “pime wine”, referring to a local restaurant called the Prime and Wine. Actually, that guy may have still been a better writer than Bloom. At least he didn't manage to use three different tenses in two sentences.
And I would love to know what foreign countries Bloom has lived in that are less foreign to him than Iowa. How calling it pop instead of soda, how the difference between a bag and a sack, how the concept of not wanting to track mud into your house, is more alien than a completely different language, flora, fauna, architecture, culture, government, and financial system. If he ever set foot in England he would just immediately have an aneurysm, because they have all of those things! AIIEEE! If he needed to get from one floor to another and had to take a lift instead of an elevator, he'd just curl up in a corner and start crying. And Cthulhu forbid he need to change a tyre. That one different letter would be awfully confusing! He'd probably be trying to find the spare in the glove box, because he'd never think to look in the boot! What kind of lunatic would put a tire in their footwear? And if he had to call a mechanic to help him, he'd wonder why the bill was so heavy. Fifty pounds? It's just a piece of paper! This is a madhouse! A MADHOUSE!
“The reason everyone seems related in small-town Iowa is because, if you go back far enough, many are, either by marriage or birth. In Iowa, names like Yoder, Snitker, Schroeder, and Slabach are as common as Garcia, Lee, Romero, Johnson, and Chen are in big cities.”
If you go back far enough, every human being on the planet is related by marriage or birth, and farther back than that we're related to every form of animal and even plant life that has ever existed. Cousin fucking is one thing, sharing genes quite another. And forgetting for a moment that most names ending in “son” are of Scandinavian or Anglo origin, making Johnson closer to his examples of common Iowa names than big city ones, why is a Scandinavian or Germanic ancestry less valid than a Spanish or Asian one? The upper Midwest was settled by Scandinavians because it reminded them of home, and was a fine place for agricultural communities to prosper.
“Bar fights might not be weekly occurrences, but neither are they infrequent activities.”
No one has ever been in a bar fight in a big city, ever. Seriously.
“Collecting is big -- whether it's postcards, lamps, figurines, tractors, or engines.”
The biggest comic book and sci-fi/fantasy genre convention in the world is held in San Diego, California, Stephen. You think people who collect postcards and farm equipment are weird? Try the people who collect hair samples from the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
“Hats are essential.”
Envy, because as a Californian, he's now allowed to have one. He keeps harping on hats, so clearly this is a very deep-seated issue for Mr. Bloom, and he may need to seek therapy.
“Everyone knows someone who has had an unfortunate and costly accident with a deer (always fatal for the deer, sometimes for the human).”
Well, that's because there are lots of deer here. Not much we can do about it. I'd be happy if they were all dead, but those pesky hunters would take issue. Does Bloom also hate Canada because instead of deer they have to worry about hitting moose with their cars? Or maybe not, since his statement seems like he has less of a problem with the accidents per se, than that they just don't kill enough people. Since I would imagine hitting a moose at 60 miles an hour is a good deal more likely to be fatal to the driver, I guess that's OK.
“Farming is a dangerous occupation; if farmers don't die from a mishap (getting a hand in an auger, clearing a stuck combine), they live with missing digits or limbs.”
Go to any small town diner, and it's like a Captain Ahab convention. Every single farmer in the place will be hobbling around on crutches, thumping a peg leg, or scratching his leathery chin with the hook that took the place of his knobby knuckles. Frequently you'll hear one going on about the Great Red Case I-H that took his leg, and how one day he'll have his revenge. Yes, farming is incredibly dangerous. Again, you have a problem with this? You want to do it yourself? Because I sure as hell would love to see Bloom get a face full of anhydrous ammonia.
“Comfort food reigns supreme. Meatloaf and pork chops are king. Casseroles (canned tuna or Tatertots) and Jell-O molds (cottage cheese with canned pears or pineapple) are what to bring to wedding receptions and funerals. Everyone loves Red Waldorf cake. Deer (killed with a rifle is good, with bow-and-arrow better) and handpicked morels are delicacies families cherish.”
In Bloom's house, no one is allowed to eat anything but caviar, 30-year-old French wine, and that nasty rich people cheese that smells like the inside of a soybean bin in the middle of July. If it tastes good, it must be something stupid poor people like! Ew! Lower class cooties! And I may not give a damn about hunting, but venison is delicious.
“Religion is the glue that binds everyone, whether they're Catholic, Lutheran, or Presbyterian. You can't drive too far without seeing a sign for JESUS or ABORTION IS LEGALIZED MURDER. I'm forever amazed by how often I hear neighbors, co-workers, shoppers, and total strangers talk about religion. In the Hy-Vee grocery store, at neighborhood stop-and-chats, at the local public school, "See you at church!" is the common rejoinder. It's as though the local house of worship were some neighborhood social club -- which, of course, it is.”
Iowa is the only state in the union to have outspoken religious people. In fact, the Westboro Baptist Church is actually located just south of Ames. Jesus came to me in a dream once and helped me find bigfoot. Then bigfoot and I beat him to death with pagan fertility idols and ate his flesh, which made us trip balls. Then we knocked over a liquor store and burned down all the churches in Decorah while listening to that really bad MIDI keyboard record Burzum made while he was in jail. Trve kvlt grimm black metal! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGH! BEEP BOOP BEEP!
“After years and years of in-your-face religion, I decided to give what has become an annual lecture, in which I urge my students not to bid strangers "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Easter," "Have you gotten all your Christmas shopping done?" or "Are you going to the Easter egg hunt?" Such well-wishes are not appropriate for everyone, I tell my charges gently. A cheery "Happy holidays!" will suffice. Small potatoes, I know, but did everyone have to proclaim their Christianity so loud and clear?Maybe it wasn't such a good idea. One gutsy, red-in-the-face student told me in no uncertain terms that for the rest of her life, she would continue offering Merry Christmas and Happy Easter tidings to strangers, no matter what I, or anyone else, said, because, "That's just who I am and I'm not about to change. Ever!" Score one for sticking it to the ethnic interloper.”
Uh, maybe that's because it's fucking CHRISTMAS! It may be a bullshit holiday pasted over pagan winter solstice celebrations by the Catholic Church because they didn't want everyone to see how much fun the pagans were having because then no one would want to sing “joyful” songs like “Away In A Manger”, which have melodies so fucking depressing that even wristcutter goth bands think they're a bit maudlin, but who the fuck cares? If I knew anyone who was a devout and practicing Jew, I wouldn't say Merry Christmas to them, I'd say Happy Chanuka. If I knew a devout and practicing Muslim, I'd say Merry Whateverthefuckitisyoupeopledoinwinter. Point is, only assholes like Pat Robertson would say Merry Christmas to a non-Christian on purpose out of a sense of superiority. Your student is clearly a Christian, and although she hasn't learned to pick her battles yet, I doubt she means it that way. I'm a fucking atheist for make-believe Christ's sake, and I still say Merry Christmas. It's just nice! Oh, right, that's one of the things that's wrong with Iowa. We're all nice, and that makes you feel icky. Like comedian Brad Stine once said, and I'm paraphrasing here, you don't have to believe in God or Jesus or any of that stuff, but if you have a problem with, “Peace on Earth, good will towards men”, you have a dysfunction so deep you can't get at it with a jackhammer.
“Such do-good obligation flourishes even when the words invoked don't have much to do with religion. After the University of Iowa played arch-rival Iowa State in football, one of my students got arrested for public intoxication. While walking back to her dormitory one Saturday afternoon, she paused to rest on the steps of the Old State Capitol Building, only to fall asleep until a police officer awakened her. All arrests in Iowa City are published in the local newspaper, and I asked her what had had happened. "When my parents find out, they're going to be furious. I'll get called home for a Come-To-Jesus talk."
On the surface, this Come to Jesus moment had nothing to do with religion. Instead, it described a meeting in which your butt was about to be kicked for some serious, errant behavior, and if you didn't repent your evil ways, then there'd be hell to pay. Come to Jesus was a nonsectarian, equal-opportunity expression that could just as easily involve Jews, Muslims, or Hindus (if you could find any in Iowa) as it involved Christians. But it was vintage Iowa, invoking the name of Jesus as though everyone believed in the good Lord's son and his providence.”
Bloom starts this part of his rant saying the words don't have much to do with religion, and finishes by saying it implies us dumb hicks take everyone's Christianity for granted. Also, I'm pretty sure that phrase is anything but “vintage Iowa”, considering I'd never heard it until a couple of years ago when it was used by a friend of mine (another atheist, too!) from Michigan. Also, there are around 7,000 Hindus in Iowa, with a really spiffy temple in Madrid. We're not a patch on India, but there it is. It's amazing that in this day and age, people still don't realize that 10 seconds on Google can keep you from looking like an ignorant dipshit. Or do those 7,000 Hindus not count because they live in Iowa, so they're not worth looking up? That must be it. Silly me for thinking people still count regardless of where they live.
“And while it's changing fast, rural Iowa is still a place where homes sell for $40,000 (some a lot less), serious crime is tee-peeing a high-school senior's front yard, and traffic is getting caught behind a tractor on Main Street. If rural Iowans ever drive on the highway (not much reason to do so, really), they welcome other vehicles accelerating on the entrance ramp, smiling, often motioning with their hand to move on over, as though gently patting the butt of a newborn.”
Once again, I fail to see the problem with any of this. I guess Californians like paying too much for houses built on cliffs in areas prone to mudslides and earthquakes (genius!), and anything less than Mad Max-style pursuit and destruction of someone who even dares come near you on the interstate is unacceptable.
“The only smog comes from a late-autumn bonfire.”
We must be insane to live in a place where we can breathe without respirators. Anyone who doesn't have lung cancer by age 30 is a pussy!
“Crime isn't way rampant in these rural towns, but it's edging upwards, particularly in towns adjacent to slaughterhouses. On summer nights, you can still keep your keys in the ignition and run into the local Casey's for an Icey or to get a cherry-dipped cone at the DQ one town over. Rural Iowa is still the kind of place where parents drop off their kids at the municipal pool to swim all day long.”
Aside from the street gangs comprised of zombie cows (at least, I assume that's what he's referring to because otherwise he's implying that Mexicans are criminals and we know how much he loves people named Garcia and Romero...), yes, Iowa is a relatively low-crime state. Bloom clearly doesn't feel at home unless he can't even go to the ATM without being raped at least three times. But I thought Iowa was a crime-addled meth den! Which is it? You're confusing my tiny rural mind with your implacable city boy logic!
“Which brings up my dog. And here's why: My dog is a kind of crucible of Iowa.What does Hannah, a 13-year-old Labrador, have to do with an analysis of the American electoral system and how screwy it is that a place like Iowa gets to choose -- before anyone else -- the person who may become the next leader of the free world?
For our son's eighth birthday, we wanted to get him a dog. Every boy needs a dog, my wife and I agreed, and off we went to an Iowa breeding farm to pick out an eight-week-old puppy that, when we knelt to pet her, wouldn't stop licking us. We chose a yellow Lab because they like kids, have pleasant dispositions, and I was particularly fond of her caramel-color coat. Labs don't generally bite people, although they do like to chew on shoes, hats, and sofa legs. Hannah was Marley before Marley.
Our son, of course, got tired of Hannah after a couple of months, and to whom did the daily obligation of walking the dog fall?
That's right. To me.
And here's the point: I can't tell you how often over the years I'd be walking Hannah in our neighborhood and someone in a pickup would pull over and shout some variation of the following:
"Bet she hunts well."
"Do much hunting with the bitch?"
"Where you hunt her?"
To me, it summed up Iowa. You'd never get a dog because you might just want to walk with the dog or to throw a ball for her to fetch. No, that's not a reason to own a dog in Iowa. You get a dog to track and bag animals that you want to stuff, mount, or eat.
That's the place that may very well determine the next U.S. President.”
Bloom's dog and the fictitious Marley from Marley and Me are the only two dogs to ever have chewed on stuff and ruined furniture, of course. And no one has ever asked me where I hunt my great Dane or mastiff. They're strictly cuddle-on-the-couch pets. I think the implication that Iowans are so single-minded about hunting that we just assume all dogs are hunting dogs might be the most insulting thing about the article next to the slams on farmers. Or it would be if it didn't just display how little Bloom knows about dogs, which seems to be the main theme of the article -- Stephen Bloom doesn't know shit about shit, but he likes to talk shit about all the shit he doesn't know.
Of course, the main gist of that last section is that Iowa is an irresponsible and dim-witted child of a state who will elect an aggressive and poorly trained dog who will proceed to chew on the U.S.A.'s shoes and shit on its floor for four years while supreme intellectuals, like the guy who seems to think we grow field corn instead of sweet corn as some kind of cruel joke, will have to clean it up. Never mind that we've voted in favor of two of the last three Democratic presidential candidates, and Kerry only lost by 0.7%. Not 7%, mind you, but 0.7%. So Bloom sure seems to be getting all pissed off over a whole bunch of goddamn nothing. Unless of course he voted for George W. Bush. How about it, Bloom? Who did you vote for? Because Iowa voted for the non-psycho hillbilly 66.6% of the time in the last two decades, the time frame in which you've been living and teaching and apparently hating everything here, I remind you. And that other, narrow-miss third was only because Bush had not yet quite completely destroyed his 9/11 street cred, the lunatic fundies weren't quite ramped up to full-bore cartoon supervillain levels yet, and his opponent was a malfunctioning robot.
I'll end with a broad generalization (something Bloom, should he read this, will appreciate since it's apparently all his fancy big city brain is capable of handling without making him cry). Bloom whiplashes back and forth between calling Iowa a meth-addled, crime-ridden slum full of waste-oids (pretty sure that doesn't need to be hyphenated, chief), and bashing the rural communities where everyone says, “hello”, to each other, waves to anyone they pass on the road, and no one ever locks their doors. Goddamn fucking friendly people. Maybe they're not waving in greeting, they're just going through the DT's since they haven't had their morning meth, which would also explain why they didn't lock their doors – pawned all their Garth Brooks and Winger CD's last week for meth money and don't have anything else worth stealing.
If I had to guess from the things Bloom stated in his article, he's a gay, black, Mexican, Asian, Muslim (but not Hindu, fuck them) hermaphrodite from a drug trafficking shantytown in the middle of the worst area of the most dangerous city on the planet, which is paradoxically a socialist wonderland where everyone makes six figures doing nothing but reading classical literature all day, the cars run on puppy breath, and elves roam the aisles of grocery stores each night with a magical horn of plenty they carry on a wagon pulled by talking unicorns.
Fuck you, Stephen Bloom, you goddamn ignorant twat.