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Des Moines, Iowa


Oprah thinks Iowa is "getting better"

Geoff Wood

I don't know the specifics but I'm guessing that I'm not in the target demographic for O, The Oprah Magazine. However, I caught a tweet today that announced that Oprah (or more likely one of her staffers) had decided Iowa (the state) was in fact 1 of the 100 "people, places, ideas, and stuff [the magazine is] loving more than ever."

Iowa clocks in at #32 and is one of three geographic places on the list (we rank behind formerly looted, ransacked and hurricane-devastated Oak Street in New Orleans and ahead of the hydrogen-bombed Bikini Atoll).

32. Iowa 
Legalizing gay marriage in 2009 + producing artisanal charcuterie (try La Quercia's organic prosciutto) + University of Iowa football landing among the top 25 college teams for the fifth time this decade + ranking second on 's Happiness Index = one seriously happening Hawkeye State. 

Don't get me wrong, it's great for our state to get publicity. I agree that Iowa has improved and I'm in a somewhat unique position to see that since we moved back here last summer after five years living out-of-state. However, I do question their formula they provide above. The legalization of gay marriage is certainly worthy of such a determination (and, in my opinion, should be celebrated) but I question the other three.

Item 2 - Apparrently, we now produce "artisanal charcuterie". I admit, I had no idea what "charcuterie" is but according to the interwebs it's the "branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products". I've never tried La Quercia's prosciutto (nor do I have any idea where in Iowa "La Quercia" is located) but I bet it doesn't hold a candle to Mr. Porkchop on RAGBRAI.

Item 3 - Hawkeye Football. Really? I get it, Hawkeye football is good. I'm not a fan but that's neither here nor there. Quoting their ranking doesn't make a lot of sense since it's the judgement of external sports media (and coaches secretaries). Collegiate sports are divisive in this state; the Hawkeyes are no more the Iowa's team than are the Cyclones and it doesn't make sense to use either.

Item 4 -'s Happiness Index. I s'pose it's a good thing that this website's subjective combination of "Non-mortgage debt as a % of Annual Income", "unemployment rate" and "foreclosure rate" for our state is more favorable than it is for 48 other states, it doesn't mean anything to me as Iowan.

As I said, cheers to Oprah for recognizing Iowa (although being on the same plain as a hurricane ravaged neighborhood and an American bomb testing location makes me worry about what she formerly thought of us) but next time dig a bit deeper and showcase our true accomplishments.