Sunday, December 19, 2004

Regionalism gone mad

From an article about the freakish crime in Kansas where a pregnant woman was killed and her baby stolen:

Hours before her arrest, Montgomery and her husband showed off a newborn girl at a restaurant, said Kathy Sage, owner of the Whistle Stop Cafe in Melvern, a small eastern Kansas town...

"You read about this stuff," she said. "It blows you away when it's here. This stuff is supposed to be in New York City or Los Angeles."

Is this the way that people in red states think of blue states? No wonder Kerry lost the election.

Edwards '08.


Mary said...

In all fairness, I think people in blue states often make knee-jerk assumptions about red staters as well. The assumption in this case might be that in places with smaller populations, it is much more difficult to behave in an anonymous way, so it would be a deterrent to committing a heinous crime.

Justin said...

For what it's worth, "this stuff" actually happens fairly frequently in this part of the world. Last night I went to a bar with a friend who used to live in Missouri near the town where the murder occurred, and his line was something like, "If I hadn't heard anything about this and then you described the crime to me and asked me to guess where in the world it had occurred, Skidmore, Missouri would have been my first guess." There was, no doubt, some Omaha elitism to the line, but there was also some truth to it. Among other (far more recent) stories, the "In Cold Blood" murderers had links to the Skidmore area. I bet that if you were to take the ratio of overall murders to really-fucked-up murders, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, etc., would hold their own against (i.e., would be just as fucked up if not more fucked up than) New York or Los Angeles.

Neil Sinhababu said...

I like the idea of "really fucked up murders"/murders as a crime statistic.

And is Omaha elitism really, like, a thing?

Justin said...

"Omaha elitism" is real. On the one hand, people in rural Nebraska and Iowa resent it -- every once in a while there will be a letter to the editor of the Omaha World Herald (the daily newspaper) complaining about who the elites from New York/D.C./Omaha think they are. On the other hand, Omahans (and people living in mid-big cities throughout the region) are often embarrassed to be grouped together with the people from the more rural areas. The movie "Boys Don't Cry" was based on a true story that happened in Lincoln. The director couldn't film in Lincoln b/c most of Lincoln looks either too metropolitan or too suburban, while she wanted to create a more hick/country feel. So she shot in some tiny rural town and passed it off as Lincoln in the movie. I know a number of people in Nebraska who think it is outrageous that the director would defame Lincoln in this way.