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Professor Bloom's hit piece on Iowans


10 Replies

Speer, December 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm

“I’m at an undisclosed location,” Stephen Bloom tells me. “I left because I don’t want some of these crazy people who are reading everything they want to read into my story to know where I am.”

The University of Iowa journalism professor — currently a visiting prof at the University of Michigan — is still getting hate mail and threatening calls from critics of his Atlantic magazine piece, “Observations from 20 Years of Iowa Life,” which was posted Dec. 9.


Speer, December 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm

In this land, deep within America, on Friday nights it’s not unusual to take a date to a Tractor Pull or to a Combine Demolition Derby (“First they were thrashin’, now they’re CRASHIN’!”). There are few billboards along the washboard-bumpy, blacktop roads that slice through the countryside, only hand-drawn signs advertising sweet corn, cattle, lemonade, or boar semen. 


Speer, December 21, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Those who stay in rural Iowa are often the elderly waiting to die, those too timid (or lacking in educated) to peer around the bend for better opportunities, an assortment of waste-toids and meth addicts with pale skin and rotted teeth, or those who quixotically believe, like Little Orphan Annie, that “The sun’ll come out tomorrow.”


Speer, December 21, 2011 at 8:10 pm

 The coming of the railroads changed all that, and today, Keokuk, is a depressed, crime-infested slum town. Almost every other Mississippi river town is the same; they’re some of the skuzziest cities I’ve ever been to, and that’s saying something.


Sandaltan ., December 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I am in hopes that Professor Bloom has stayed in Michigan long enough to believe himself qualified to write a similar article for The Atlantic about the Yoopers who inhabit the Upper Peninsula.  And then, accepts an invitation to maybe…..do some snowmobiling or snipe hunting in the UP.



Csprint, December 21, 2011 at 9:00 pm

I read the piece and it is about spot on, and I’m from Cedar Rapids.  Some of it is about what Garrison Keillor has been reporting about the Midwest in the “News from Lake Wobegon” for years.



“Bicycle Bill”, December 22, 2011 at 12:54 am

I certainly hope that the people on the left and right coasts who subscribe to “Atlantic” do read this article and believe everything Mr. Bloom has written (with a few exceptions; Helen, darling, you are always welcome back).  I hope that they do assume Iowa is a cultural wasteland populated by inbred ex-farmers and undocumented aliens working at thankless jobs for subsistence-level wages.  I hope they continue to consider Iowa (and the rest of the midwest, like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and yes, even downstate Illinois) to be nothing but “flyover country”, and never show their faces anywhere between the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers — or if they do, they confine themselves to those places that seem to be doing their damnedest to become urbane and sophisticated and in the process are ruining those things that made them what they were in the first place….

Because then we can continue to keep the rest of this little bit of paradise to ourselves, without some smug so-and-so trying to come in and “improve” it.

Thank you, Mr. Bloom.  Whether or not you intended to, you’ve done Iowa and those of us who love it a huge favor.



John L, December 22, 2011 at 7:03 am

Much of the same could be said about the southern part of the United States.  And there are groups of people there that are not that way. To blanket the whole of Iowa as he did is ignorant and small minded…just what Bloom seems to be against.


Sandaltan ., December 22, 2011 at 11:49 am

A Southern transplant to the Hawkeye State explains the fuss over Boom’s
article and the Iowa rules he broke; bless his heart.  This article
made me LOL twice. 


Bloom is no Garrison Keillor, I have listened to Garrison Keillor on the radio and on stage in Saint Paul.  Keillor is funny, Bloom has failed in his attempt to be funny.



tjdale, December 22, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Is this Heaven?

No, It’s Iowa!!!!!!
Nuff Said.


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