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I am Geo-Socially Arrogant

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I am from New York City. I attend a university in Ohio.

I love my home in the East, but I grew up in fair contention with the local leftist hysteria. In political discussions at family or social gatherings, one of the common laments was how the enlightened leftists in the East (and on the West coast) were burdened by the overwhelming ignorance and stupidity of those living in "flyover country" or whichever derogatory term they used for the inland regions. I grew up with people who others in the country would call "Northeastern liberal elitists".

I never agreed politically with these types; my father was alone in his social realm in being an old-line New York City capitalist (I don't think they exist anymore) who despised the trendy collectivist idiocy of those around him. I took after him, and I thought that it would be best for me to leave my beloved city and go to school where I wasn't surrounded by these sorts of people. I ended going to the alma mater of my grandfather, and I do like the university a lot.

In the manner that Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton may be relieved to see a white person walking behind them on a dark city street instead of a black person, I have come to feel the same way about people in Ohio versus New York. I am really cannot stand it and I feel like an awful person.

People here are just as collectivist as the New York leftists, but they are too stupid to even understand this trait, whereas the altruists here are pretty clear about their intentions. I'll provide some examples I have observed.

- In New York, we enjoy watching the Giants play on a Sunday or the Yankees play against the Red Sox. At the end of the day, however, we understand that it is a sporting event and we get on with our lives and carry on with the business of the day. In Ohio, it's different. In Ohio, there is almost a religious aspect to being, for instance, a Buckeyes fan. In the regional culture, it is socially encouraged behavior to irrationally channel all of your emotion into supporting a collegiate sports team. People are generally jackasses on football days and they all drink really shitty beer and seriously scream and spit and throw cans at people from visiting schools who just wanted to come and watch their football team. It is absolutely disgusting to see how far these people take this childish obsession. The amount of trash that is celebrated as "tradition" is absolutely moronic. But I get it, and what I am about to say hurts, because it's the truth of the situation. If you live in Ohio, or anywhere in the rust belt, and you have no other meaningful culture, you may need this kind of escape from your life when you get old enough to start having doubts about the veracity of your Christian upbringing. It's going to one form of irrationally over-invested collectivist fervor to another. It explains why everyone here makes such a big deal about LeBron James leaving Cleveland and going to Miami. Everyone who can get out of Ohio does get out of Ohio, so his sort of "betrayal" hits a chord with the locals. It isn't any coincidence that all of the "best fans" in professional sports live in cities where there is nothing else to do.

- People here are really simple. My best friends so far are all international or out-of-state students who actually have an awareness of places outside of Ohio and a willingness to engage in conversation not restricted to football or pop culture. Ohioans are really generic in tastes, which is interesting, because for such a jingoistic place as Ohio, there isn't a lot to be proud about. I could understand, for instance, Texans being proud of being from Texas because Texas actually has a vibrant Southwestern culture. In Ohio, the crowning culinary achievement is something called - unsurprisingly - a "Buckeye", which is peanut butter fudge dipped in chocolate. Few Ohioans will eat anything other than "American" food, and take a stupid sort of pride in exclaiming "eeww, I'm not going to eat Japanese food!" Eating with them is impossible. They believe Buffalo Wild Wings to be the best (it sucks) and the Olive Garden to be fine Italian dining.

- Everyone is out to destroy Ohio, according to Ohioans. If it's not Michigan, it's those damn New Yorkers and their "Wall Street Values". In the 2010 election, the sentiment of everyone was that these evil bankers in New York were out to destroy them and Ohio needed to go back to "Ohio values". [insert joke about vinyl-clad homes here]. Union organization is a religion here too, but the children of these union workers that I have spoken to (my peers) do not understand how modern union organization and special interests work to destroy the economy and incentives for businesses to locate in states like Ohio with large union support. It's all very aggressive and violent. Yet, these Ohioans who call themselves "real Americans" claim to know what freedom is and love liberty and so forth. They don't.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. As much as I despise the leftists in New York, their criticisms about people in "flyover country" are not ill-founded. They're pretty accurate, most of the time. I feel a superior culture in New York, and Ohioans know this too. When I tell an Ohioan that I am from New York, they say, "Oh, New York! Wow! That's really cool!"

It is really cool, because New York is better than Ohio, and that's the tacit understanding between myself and the person I am speaking to when I say this. They don't even bother telling me where they're from, because I know they have an interest in New York, and I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in Akron or Dayton, and they know this too.

The Northeastern elitist types may love the idea of being social planners, but they don't sly about their intentions. Ohioans claim to be one sort of crazy, mythical, noble breed of "American", but they're not. They cream for Glenn Beck in a flannel top and jeans in a wheat field somewhere talking about "morality". It's all bullshit here.

When I am done with school, I am definitely moving back to the East coast (perhaps New Hampshire; they are much more free and less expensive than New York) and I regret ever having the ridiculous notion that people in the Midwest were ever "my sort of people" and a great "down-to-earth" culture in which to spend my college years.

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I'm from Ohio and so is my family. I am nothing like what you describe, my family is nothing like you describe nor are any of my friends from there as you describe. There are also several members from this board that are from Ohio and from them I've seen no indication that they spend their free time drinking cheap beer, spitting and eating chocolate covered peanut better fudge.

You may not realise, as you are obviously young, how unintentionally funny your rant is. You are ranting against ignorant groupthink while treating these people as a mob. Ohio certainly doesn't have the level of high culture that NYC does... but for years they had one of the finest art museums in the nation (alas, I hear it has fallen on bad times). Try treating Ohioans as individuals for I assure you I have worked and lived all over the world and there are ignorant uncultured morons everywhere. Adjusting for population density there are in fact more of them in NYC than in any major Ohio city.

A thought- in your hometown you knew people. You knew where to go to meet the kinds of people whose company you enjoyed. It takes longer to do that in a new town. What you may not be realising is that your attitude is going to keep you from meeting what few quality people may be available.

Your negativity is not going to earn you high quality friends. Don't be counterproductive to your purpose.

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As much as I despise the leftists in New York, their criticisms about people in "flyover country" are not ill-founded.
And vice-versa, no? As much as you despise the Glen Beck-fan type of Ohio native, their criticisms about the elites on the coasts are not ill founded.

Essentially people who come close to either stereotype are not good, but one does not have to choose between one or the other. Like many a dichotomy, there is a third way. In this case, it is to be educated, world-aware, non-religious and cosmopolitan, without being a left-winger who wants to control people's lives. One does not have to be an Objectivist to adopt this third way: one can an educated New Yorker who wants to keep government to its minimum, or one can be an Ohio native who is educated about the world.

BTW, this type of divide rural common sense vs. elite education is not unique to the U.S., nor to our point in history. If education taught philosophy and economics that was rational, the elite types would have the edge. However, the way things are, the geniuses are often the ones making the genius-sized errors, leaving the common-sense types right even if they got there using an unsophisticated approach that they have a hard time arguing for. So, on the one hand you have people who can give you lots of detailed arguments for all the wrong conclusions, versus those who hold some decent positions dogmatically.

Added: Within every sub-culture there are some folk who question those around them. Find them, and befriend them, for they are the independent ones.

Edited by softwareNerd
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Very (as said, unintentionally?) funny entry. But I believe you are describing College frustration and self-frustration for believing that you could get an antidote to urban liberalis with a dose of wheatfield years. Probably your university has changed a lot since the time of your grandfather.

I feel sympathetic too, I' from a big city with similar stereotypes and attitudes, and I moved for a year to the Latin American version of "Red Country" and was overwheled by the prevalence of stupid people interested EXCLUSIVELY in makeshift motor bikes, alcohol and women.

And yet I found a tiny groupl, not by chance but by looking for it, and I enjoyed my stay. I also enjoyed coming back to the city.

America (most states, definitely Ohio) is a very distributed country, unlike just about any other country on Earth. I'm certain you'll find in Ohio a lot more interesting individuals than in any generic rural area in any other country but the US o' A.

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We all have felt this way from time to time, especially when college begins to fill your head with the trappings of elitism. While it is natural, it is to be avoided/corrected, for one simple reason: one has to be objective.

The only cure is life experience, meaning that your views will change as you get older. In the mean time, I wouldn't repress those thoughts, but I would silence the tongue and wait for more data before drawing such sweeping generalizations.

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It is arrogant and it is elitist. Like someone else said, there are just as many people who are off their rockers in the big cities as there are in the rural areas. I come from Orange County (in Southern California right outside of LA), and, believe me, there are people who are like this everywhere. You cannot judge people as a collective mob, they have to be taken as individuals.

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...there are people who are like this everywhere. You cannot judge people as a collective mob, they have to be taken as individuals.

I don't disagree, but it's probably easier to find independent-thinking people in areas with higher population density anyway.

Edited by Eiuol
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I don't disagree, but it's probably easier to find independent-thinking people in areas with higher population density anyway.

Only because there is a larger pool of people. It still comes down to INDIVIDUALS. But yes, I can agree with that :D

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