Iowa caucus special — who you callin' skuzzy? | Arkansas Blog

Friday, December 23, 2011

Iowa caucus special — who you callin' skuzzy?

Posted By on Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Begging your pardon for my obsession with this topic. It is partly engendered by my long affection for Iowa (father, mother, sister, uncle all spent college time there; have had great friends there; even spent a vacation there once, in August, believe it or not.)

It is also engendered by dislike for the Iowa presidential caucuses and the weird subset of voters, particularly on the Republican side, that dominates the national discussion so tiresomely.

I mentioned earlier the controversy set fire in Iowa by a piece in the Atlantic by a long-time Iowa journalism professor, Stephen Bloom, who shares my disaffection for the caucuses. He didn't stop there. He wrote an extended Iowa snark, full of stereotyping fun of the state in which he lives. I thought it was obviously exaggerated for effect and reflected fondness for the place, too. Iowans weren't so sanguine about references to a "skuzzy" state full of wasteoid meth abusers and cornfed dopes. They went nuts.

Reaction hasn't cooled yet, apparently. Here, the Des Moines Register interviews the University of Iowa journalism school director about how the essay might hurt the school's reputation and recruiting. What the hell? He think he's fielding a football team or something important? Oh, sure. The dean paid a little lip service to academic freedom and the First Amendment, but it didn't sound like his heart was much in it.

It's all kind of interesting to me, and timely with the caucuses just about on us. I can only imagine the reaction to a similar episode by an Arkansas taxpayer-supported academic. Anyone out there want to give it a try?

BTW: That video above, by some irreverent Iowa young folks, is NSFW. Thanks to Jim Romenesko for invaluable links.

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