Persona non grata!
Apparently I am no longer welcome in the place where I was raised. My parents have written me out of the will; my sister says she never wants to see me again, and I don’t even want to tell you what her husband says; fortunately my in-laws are still on speaking terms but have stipulated they’ll only meet me at specified locations outside the Hoosier State.
I love Indianapolis, really I do. It’s just so easy to mock. And so much fun. I didn’t mean to offend anyone with my fact-finding yesterday. But I miscalculated. I forgot many Hoosiers can actually read. And they have internets. Who knew?
Things have gotten ugly, and I blame myself. There’s only one thing uglier than a Hoosier, and that’s a mad Hoosier who’s just been reminded that their capital city is known in the rest of the country as “a cornfield with lights.” I shouldn’t have said anything.
Amongst the numerous angry and incoherent cries from my benighted Hoosier brethren, the following remark from one JB of Indianapolis is all too typical:
I know you love your adopted hometown dearly, B, and your misgivings about The Crossroads of America are well-documented (literally!), but I guess I’m just not quite able to accept that the same Bart Everson who has spent the better part of the last two decades overtly or by implication cataloging and deconstructing that particularly American brand of lowest-common-denominator jingoism has truly devolved into that polarized paradigm that The Onion so succinctly summed up on their timeless “The Sports Team From My Area Is Superior to the Sports Team from Your Area” t-shirts, but I guess it could be that the march toward middle age has caused you to (hopefully temporarily) leave behind the Reason of your youth and supplant it with a clumsier and more hackneyed polarity normally not seen this side of Mike Royko, but I’m holding out hope that maybe you were just having some semi-satirical fun whilst stoking some cred fires in your new homeland.
See what I mean? Rile them up a little and they fall to pieces. That’s a run-on sentence. Clearly, he’s rattled.
I should know better than to continue along this vein, but I just can’t help myself. It’s like eating potato chips. Or smashing windows. Once you smash one, you gotta smash ’em all.
- Let’s start off with a little history, going back to 1897. That’s when the Indiana legislature tried to round Pi off to 3.2.
You might think this is a joke. You might think it happened in Kansas or Oklahoma. But alas, it happened in Indianapolis.
(Thanks to my former dorm-mate Bartlett M. for reminding me of this gem.)
- Every other major city in the country requires dogs be licensed, but in Indianapolis they just let them run wild in the street.
The city has truly “gone to the dogs.”
- Indianapolis is such a cesspool of corruption they’ve got, like, thirteen property tax assessors. That’s an obvious absurdity, and I would never want to live in a city with — what?
Oh, never mind. Ahem. Scratch that remark about the assessors.
But continuing on the topic of real estate…
Indianapolis was in the news quite a bit a year or so ago because they had the cheapest housing market in the country.
Why is housing so cheap? Because no one wants to live there. It’s simple supply and demand. Detroit has now surpassed Indy in this category though. Way to go!
- Did you know half the nation’s population is within a day’s drive of Indianapolis? And yet the overwhelming majority of drivers refuse to stop when driving through Indy.
I wonder why that is.
- Never mind the rest of the county. The sad fact is that Indy is embarrassed of itself. As a subjective phenomenon, such an allegation might seem difficult to prove. Therefore I quote no less an authority than the respected Aaron M. Renn:
let’s face it, Indy is carrying around a chip on its shoulder about being a “cow town” sort of place. It is desperate to prove its big city bona fides and have people see it as a real big city. That’s why there is so much focus on things like swanky restaurants, shops, pro sports, light rail, etc. Indy is desperate to be perceived as having the trappings of a “real” big city and be taken seriously
Please note these are the words of an advocate, not a detractor. But with friends like these…
- The so-called “Hoosier Poet,” James Whitcomb Riley, has not one but three works featured in Very Bad Poetry by Ross Petras. The titles are evocative indeed: “The Smitten Purist,” “Us-folks Is Purty Pore,” and “I’m Thist a Little Cripple Boy, an’ Never Goin’ to Grow.”
I’d quote from this last but I’m afraid it might induce my readers to barf.
It is worth noting that Riley was the most cultured man the Hoosier State has yet produced.
Until I came along of course.
- David Letterman got his start on TV as a weatherman on an Indianapolis station. He once predicted hail stones “the size of canned hams.”
For this little joke, he was summarily fired, and the citizens of this dour and humorless city rode him out of town on a rail. Of course they were doing him a favor by forcing him to seek his fortune elsewhere, which he did with considerable success.
- I’m sorry to return to the subject of food, but I can’t ignore the fact that Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is betting “shrimp cocktail with plenty of horseradish” against New Orleans in the Super Bowl.
As a former Hoosier I actually do understand this. As I grew up, I truly thought that “shrimp cocktail with plenty of horseradish” was the pinnacle of good eating and the high life. In fact, on my honeymoon in French Lick I ordered two servings of it.
But let’s be honest. The Saints may actually have to throw the game to avoid this “prize.”
- I can’t put it any better than this: Super Bowl Cities Summarized Though Individual YouTube Clips. Watch the videos, read the commentary. The ribbing on New Orleans is pretty good, but on Indianapolis it’s even better.
It has a good football team, which is celebrated by the local populace by appropriating another region’s signature icons and culture because Indianapolis lacks one of its own. Wave those Terrific Towels, everybody! You’re the 12th Man! A chain restaurant of your choice wants to host your Super Bowl party! They got sliders!
Each comment is funnier than the last.
- Dan Quayle.
My sides are hurting. I haven’t had this much fun since, well, since Saturday night. And we all know how that turned out.
But don’t get me wrong. I’m not joking. I’m not. This is very, very serious stuff. Very. Very. Serious. To suggest otherwise would be downright un-American.