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  • TAE on “Plain America”

    Posted by David Foster on April 10th, 2012 (All posts by )

    Last week Ginny critiqued an article by a University of Iowa professor, in which said professor (who moved to Iowa from San Francisco 20 years ago) had some not-terribly-positive things to say about the people among whom he has spent the last two decades and remarked that of the places he has lived, many of them foreign countries, “none has been more foreign to me than Iowa.”

    Coincidentally, while resorting documents in my office I ran into the July/August 04 issue of the (sadly now defunct) magazine The American Enterprise, which has several articles on the theme “Plain America,” that is, western, midwestern, and rural America. Happily, the whole issue is online, and these essays are thoughtful and thought-provoking. They include:

    –a piece on the cowboy archetype, by Andrew and Judith Kleinfield
    –growing up in Fargo, by James Lileks
    –culture in Inner America, by Bill Kauffman
    –rediscovering our Midwest, by Joel Kotkin
    –small lives well-lived in small places, by Blake Hurst
    –the significance of the Lewis and Clark expedition, by Karl Zinsmeister
    –some thoughts by the then-governor of Colorado, Bill Owens

    These essays make a good complement to Ginny’s post. The text display format used at the linked site is not greatly to my liking, but it is readable, and it’s well worth doing so.