My mom was very excited to learn that Colonel Sanders was originally from Indiana, making him a midwesterner by birth. This brings up the problem of Indiana, which is that there is not another midwestern state which does not look down on and make fun of Indiana. Oh, those Indiana drivers; they get their licenses at the bottoms of Cracker Jack boxes. I had to go to Indianapolis the other day… Poor you. And let’s not forget how ‘Hoosier’ is used as a slur in southern Illinois to basically mean ‘dumb trashy cracker.’
And I think now that I have discovered why Indiana tolerates this without going out and, say, having constant fights with Iowa. Because Indiana knows that it’s got all of the cool shit. I mean, yeah, it might be called Kentucky Fried Chicken, but Sanders was born in Indiana.
Why should Indiana care about the haters?
Anyway, while we were half watching this show about Colonel Sanders (who my dad claims was a notorious polygamist, though they didn’t touch on that in the Food Network show, so who knows if it’s true) and my mom was raving about my tomatoes, in the windows. It made me so proud.
I heard once that the typical thing is for people in a state to make fun of the state immediately south of it, so for example, in Indiana, I hear a lot of Kentucky jokes. For example, if you’re going to a particularly rural, depressed area, you might say you’re going to Rensseltucky instead of Rensselaer. Which, having been born in Kentucky, is odd. Because I’m ridiculously, genuinely, like, amazing cool and I claim both.
Having lived here the majority of my life, and being the only member of my immediate family that wasn’t raised below the Mason-Dixon line, I can tell you why Indiana doesn’t care about the haters: we’ve got all the cool cultural elements of the American South but without all the cultural baggage.
SUCK ON THAT, TENNESSEE.
What I meant to say was “suck on that, Kentucky,” but I got all excited.
Are you kidding?! That was my favorite part. I felt like I was seeing the moment when you were taking it to a whole new level. Not just Kentucky, but the whole damn mid-south is now on notice!
And, since I’m apparently on the verge of becoming supreme benevolent dictator of Tennessee, I feel I should just warn you to remember this day when we march north and annex the hilly parts of Indiana (in all seriousness, god damn, Indiana has some amazingly beautiful parts) in the name of this fine state.
Of course, I will first have to do some work to make sure that everyone knows where Indiana is…
I hate to tell you, but Minnesota, iowa and Nebraska don’t seem to think much about Indianna at all.
Also, we sometimes debate whether or not Indianna belongs in the Midwest-club. We’re pretty sure Ohio doesn’t count, but Indianna is on the border, has enough agriculture, enough nothingness etc… to count.
Lauren — Rennsalaer, IN is named for Rennsalaer in upstate NY (which is an Appalachian county that runs from the Hudson to the Massachusetts line — rural, mountainous, politically conservative, economically depressed). It’s called
Rennsaltucky up here too. Kentucky stands in for ignorant hickass hillbilly.
And having both spent years in Indiana and the bulk of my professional research on its early development, I can’t agree that you are free of the cultural baggage. There’s a reason that Indiana has the biggest Klan membership in the Midwest and it’s not because there’s so many Jews in Elkhart or Evansville.
Oh, I know. Believe me, I know. I was just throwing out some fightin’ werds. There’s a ton of historical (and present) racial baggage here.
Sometime I’ll have to write about the time I found myself unknowingly with a group of skinheads, and when my friend got hurt, and when we went to the police. Turns out they were actually part of a relatively organized crime group. Gun and drug running, I believe.
Where in Indiana did you live?
I’m a little further north than hill country. Enough that we have The 9th Street Hill and Chauncey Hill, because they’re the only hills in town. But in all seriousness, I don’t think I can leave Indiana because I’m so attached to the landscape. I love the flat lands, how it’s rural but still being slightly industrial, the trees, the grass, the green. How everything goes gold in Autumn. Mmm.
Yeah, well, Kentucky’s got eight, count ’em, eight, national championships, and all you Bobby Knight worshipping Hoosers have got is five.
That don’t include the two Louisville won in the eighties.
Also, you all went to class basketball, while we still got a one size fits all state basketball tourney, where the little school can, as sometimes still do, win it all.
And seriously, two words: Kelvin Sampson.
Suck it Indiana. Suck it hard.
Did it get back to me that we were talking about Indiana?
Cause, let me tell you. I am a walking Indiana expert, and we don’t much care about the haters. Because we know there’s a certain something about Indiana that defies classification. It’s mystical and going on forever, like the sea.
Harlan Sanders is not only “from Indiana” he also spent a great deal of time in my hometown. The restaurant where he learned his chicken-frying skill is one we went to all the time. I think it may be gone now, but man, did they have some good food.
Stephen King’s dad is from Ft. Wayne and he (SK) spent some of his formative years there.
Charlie Manson was in juvenile hall in Boys Town Indianapolis.
There’s all kinds of cool little factoids hiding around the place. I mean, come on. James Dean. That twit of a poet Ezra Pound. Me.
Indiana oozes cool.
And you know, we know Illinois talks smack about us. But the way we see it, Illinois got one thing they’re proud of (Lincoln) that they share with two other states (Kentucky and Indiana) and beyond that they’re just the state you pass through on your way to Chicago. They talk smack because they’re jealous.
Bring it, Ms. Coble!
You notice that all those folks in Kat’s post left. Including Kat. I’m just saying.
You’ve heard of missionaries, right?
We’re here to bring the good news of Hoosiertians to all the world. Look on our works, ye mighty, and drool with jealousy.
Last time I looked on Stephen King, he was attending a Steve Earle show. On crutches. While wearing a Marah t-shirt. In other words, he was acting like a New Yorker. I think the two of you may be missionizing in different directions.