The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

15 March 2005

Topeka fight

TalkLeft's Jeralyn Merritt, guest-blogging at Vodkapundit, would like you to know that Kansas is dull:

Face it, Kansas is a plain-Jane. It's "I Like Ike" and Bob Dole country. It reminds me of my most hated food — mayonnaise — pale, bland, uniform in consistency and boring. There's no ocean, no mountains and its population is hardly a model of diversity. And it's always going to be that way. A simply mediocre, generic kind of place, totally devoid of bathos, highs or lows.

Of course — and she comes this close to admitting as much in the comments — her real objections to Kansas come straight out of Thomas Frank. Not that I mind; I liked Frank's book, which is nicely detailed and spiffily written. But Frank's assumption, that Kansans, culturally and economically, would logically be aligned with the Democrats had they not been somehow seduced in recent years by the GOP, ignores the simple fact that Kansans have almost always voted Republican. Seduction? More likely inertia. Whatever the GOP equivalent of the yellow-dog Democrat, Kansas has 'em.

And while I join Merritt in her dislike for mayonnaise, I can't bring myself to badmouth Kansas; oceans and mountains are wonderful things, but not essential things. Of course, if you want generic with diversity, you come to Oklahoma.

Posted at 8:05 AM to Almost Yogurt

TrackBack: 8:48 AM, 15 March 2005
» Gratuitous Slap from Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Guestblogging at VodkaPundit, someone whose blog I don't bother with slaps the state of Kansas. Why? Because it's there....[read more]

TrackBack: 9:47 AM, 15 March 2005
» Note to Jeralyn Merritt from Overtaken by Events
Your visceral reaction to the fact that the New York Times actually noticed that the US does, indeed, have a......[read more]

TrackBack: 10:18 PM, 15 March 2005
» A large snide of snark, hold the mayo from Dan & Angi have something to say

Someone at the New York Times deigned to notice Kansas, and such notice offended someone named Jeralyn Merritt, who is guestblogging over at Vodkapundit. Merritt has decided that Kansas is below her, and that the mere existence of the state gives he...

...[read more]

Mayonnaise? Well, I guess that's two strikes against Kansas in my otherwise pro-prairie book -- the other being that, last I heard, Kansas still doesn't authoriize concealed-carry permits. Even Missouri has come around in recent years.

Posted by: McGehee at 10:20 AM on 15 March 2005

Neither does Nebraska, I think.

I think the state is still reeling from that "Bleeding Kansas" business before the Civil War Between the States for Southern Independence, and there's a line in the Kansas constitution about "Standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be tolerated."

Posted by: CGHill at 10:53 AM on 15 March 2005

"A simply mediocre, generic kind of place, totally devoid of bathos, highs or lows."

That's funny, some of the most interesting (in a good way) people I've ever met -- a family related to my in-laws -- live in Kansas.

But then again, I live in the mayonnaise myself, so what would I know?

(In an aside, few things piss me off more than condescension, but one that comes close is the idea that diversity means different skin colors.)

Posted by: Steve Gigl at 11:06 AM on 15 March 2005

For a moment Ms Merrit almost seduced me into thinking there were no physiographic differences between the eastern and western halves of the state of Kansas. Then I came to my senses.

The physical world of Kansas or any other place knows no politics. The languid and gentle curves of a river and its trubutaries, the subtle hues of an expanse of ripening wheat, or towering gunmetal clouds trailing past a prairie outpost each have a thousand and one things to teach about beauty and complexity, and the damnable narrowness of one's perceptions.

Boredom is the province of the boring.

Posted by: hernesheir at 11:42 AM on 15 March 2005

Not sure about Nebraska. That would surprise me, if true.

As to Kansas' gun laws, for some reason I had attributed it to the days of the cattle drives, when carrying a hideout gun was deemed dishonorable -- but gamblers, who like "those damned Texans" tended to be restricted to "that" part of town, carried them all the time. What's Kansas' attitude toward gambling these days?

As for that line about standing armies, I don't see how that applies to civilian carry, concealed or otherwise. Then again, I don't see how a "sporting purposes" test has any bearing either...

Posted by: McGehee at 3:31 PM on 15 March 2005

Oh, and bravo Hernesheir. Well said.

Posted by: McGehee at 3:33 PM on 15 March 2005

Kansas has a lottery, which takes in a lot of money from Oklahomans living near the state line. (The OK lottery is still in the formative stages.)

And driving through Kansas isn't the drab, boring experience it's rumored to be — if you stay off the Interstates (35 and 70). I've tested this premise experimentally myself.

Posted by: CGHill at 4:30 PM on 15 March 2005

AND , of course Topeka has that rabidly rascalish preacher man name of Rev. Phelps ... and almost as infamous of course Mr. BTK .... Kansas, hardly a boring state :)

Posted by: Ron at 5:01 PM on 15 March 2005

Well, day-umn, herneshir. That was a FINE smackdown. Boredom is the province of the boring, indeed.

Furthermore, misanthropes tend to find what they're looking for.

Posted by: Dan at 5:39 PM on 15 March 2005

What's wrong with mayonnaise?

Posted by: mary,queen of scots at 9:44 AM on 16 March 2005

Just an FYI, Nebraska does NOT have a concealed carry permit system. But we are trying to get one.

For more information see:


Posted by: Omahane at 4:09 PM on 24 March 2005