Friday, January 19, 2018

Musings On Flyover Country: The Phrase, the People, and Straws In The Wind

The cover of the New Yorker for March 29, 1976, purports to shed some light in a wry way on the general state of knowledge and indifference to  the rest of the country as perceived by Manhattanoids.

It's also a statement and an aggressive one that has me thinking again over the use of the phrase "flyover country". I've tried to approach the subject with a satirical song but that seems to miss the mark. Recently a friend used that term, and it did irritate me a little. Yet, anytime anyone from the great slab megalopolises of the coasts can be as dismissive of the term troubles me-particularly when we know that aside from the coasts, California, Oregon, and Washington are flyover country too.

We've had this before, and back in 2009 a cheap potboiler called Methland by a flack writer named Nick Reding came replete with so many errors in portraying entire sections of the area as being naught but a wasteland inhabited by gun toting, meth crazed whackozoids in jacked up pickup trucks.

In fact, Reding's publisher and editor for the publishing house Bloomsbury failed to catch numerous factual errors that didn't detract from the sales-that Iowa City was the largest city in Iowa, or that the University of Northern Iowa was in Cedar Rapids, neither of which are true. I guess he figured that facts got in the way of a rattling good tale. The editor then went on to opine that fact checking was different in the book industry, and that they (Bloomsbury) would not correct obvious errors in subsequent printings unless libel was involved.

The takehome? Simple. Facts don't matter.

And they don't matter to people who toss the phrase around.

I can do no better than to point you at an Op ed by Blake Hurst entitled "Why the media can't understand flyover country." I commend it to you and you can find it here


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