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July 17, 2005 11:29 AM   Subscribe


 
"And Kentuckians die at a rate 18 percent above the national average."

So 118% of Kentuckians die? Or do at least 18% of Americans not die? Holy crap! Where's CNN on this?
posted by chasing at 11:33 AM on July 17, 2005


Part of a series in my local newspaper. (Now I think I should have included this in the description.)
posted by davy at 11:33 AM on July 17, 2005


" Walter Combs, a 69-year-old who has smoked for 50 years, lighted a cigaretted after having lunch with his wife. At a nearby tables, Sally Smith, a 42-year-old who began smoking before she turned 10, took several puffs on hers. Across from her sat Kelly Turner, a 16-year-old who has smoked since she was 11"

"Cheek, who smokes two or three packs a gay, labors to breathe with asthma and emphysema. She tells the grandchildren she's raising: Don't ever take up the smoking habit. You know how Mom-mom struggles with her lungs." But she knows they may instead follow her example.

Sounds like they need to start growing some Tomacco.
posted by bud_fles at 11:55 AM on July 17, 2005


It's not bad habits, it's poverty, and the lack of health insurance, as is made clear in the article itself.

It's also disgraceful, and pitiful. Not the people themselves, but the fact that they don't have access to basic health care.
posted by jokeefe at 11:56 AM on July 17, 2005


At the White House Clinic in McKee in Eastern Kentucky, Dr. Sandra Dionisio, an internist trained in the Philippines, remembers a patient with cancer so advanced she had a foul-smelling, open wound in her breast.

"I see a lot of illnesses similar to a third-world country," Dionisio says.

The factors behind Kentucky's health crisis, a Courier-Journal investigation has found, collide like a perfect storm.

Poverty is at the center, tied to everything from nutrition to health habits to the medical care people receive. Kentucky has 43 of the nation's 340 persistently poor rural counties. Only Mississippi, which ranks neck and neck with Kentucky on an index of health measures, has more.

posted by jokeefe at 11:59 AM on July 17, 2005


jokeefe writes "It's not bad habits, it's poverty, and the lack of health insurance, as is made clear in the article itself. "

Rich people with insurance also die of smoking-induced lung cancer every day.
posted by clevershark at 12:01 PM on July 17, 2005


Kentucky is also one of the most boring states in America. Sorry, but it's true, I had to do a report on Kentucky in sixth grade, and the most exciting thing about them is their coal mines.
posted by Citizen Premier at 12:02 PM on July 17, 2005


It is hard to have a lot of empathy when they are choosing their own destruction at the ballot box.

(Here is a hint: If you want better access to low cost healthcare, less mercury in the air, etc. don't vote for Bush (unless you think that Jesus can save you from cancer, amen.))
posted by limitedpie at 12:07 PM on July 17, 2005


Man, that's a depressing read. And idiots like Citizen Premier who think Kentucky is some boring place that has nothing to do with them should consider this quote: "Some experts believe the state is a harbinger of where the nation is headed." Now tell me again why it is we're spending hundreds of billions on foreign adventures and useless weaponry when we could be trying to do something about this?

On preview: My, life is simple when you're a snarky MeFi atheist who always votes the straight MeFi ticket. No empathy for losers, ma-a-an!
posted by languagehat at 12:10 PM on July 17, 2005


So chasing, you took time out from exploring Cairo to make fun of a Kentucky reporter's grammar. Why? And why are you even reading Metafilter given all the more interesting things you could be looking at?

[DERAIL]
Chasing, if you don't mind, could you do a little report on what if anything remains of the heritage of the Fatimids? For one thing I wonder if many Cairoans know Al-Azhar was founded by Shi'ites -- and Isma'ili Shi'ites to boot. Is there a noticeable number of Shi'ites of any kind in Cairo? In Naguib Mahfouz' book Midaq Alley his characters refer to 'Ali and the Family of the Prophet and so on quite a bit, but I'm not sure why.
[/DERAIL]

On preview: actually, bud_fles, in KY there has been an effort to shift tobacco growers toward growing grapes, and some of the resulting wines have been pretty tasty. I hope that succeeds. Maybe it'll catch on enough for the wine to get even cheaper, putting those antioxidant flavonoids within reach of more Kentuckians who might benefit.

And I agree with Woody Harrelson that we should bring back another cash crop that grows well in Kentucky, hemp. Our local Chambourcins would go well with bong hits.
posted by davy at 12:14 PM on July 17, 2005


Kentucky is far from boring - it's quite beautiful if you know where to look. I grew up hiking around the Red River Gorge, Natural Bridge Park and other areas.

Kentucky is also really poor. Really, really poor. The Eastern sections of the state do better because of a middle class that commutes to Cincinnatti for work. Otherwise KY is a pretty desolate place economically. With this in mind I tend to agree with jokefe - poverty is an important factor. What is also important is the culture of rural (and urban) KY. People are strangly proud about not seeing doctors, having bad habits and living a sedentary lifestyle. People who left school in the seventh grade are proud of it. I love KY, and the people there, but they are destroying themselves. Fried food is more important than finding a job and education, on nearly any level, is treated with skepticism. I don't want to drag politics into this, but really, KY is a red state. It has red state habits and red state problems. As the US falls into the conservative agenda, this is the reality more and more states will have to face. Decades of underfunding education, medical care and public works have lead to this.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:17 PM on July 17, 2005


Citizen Premier: We can assume you received a "D" and a lesson in working harder on research?

Blaming Bush or tobacco is the easy culprit, but there are isn't a lot of effort in Kentucky for the larger cities to help the poorer, rural areas. Let's face it, a majority of citizens in this country were led astray by the medical field. Most haven't bought into national health care minimums because "it smacks of communism."

Kentucky may be first, but I bet every American here has this happening outside their own front door. Good health care has always been for the rich in the country.

I've tried arguing for health care reform for years, but I haven't found a way to change many minds. It's easy to blame, but what positive steps would you take to change the minds of those who, for example, fear losing their choice of doctors?

davy: It's nice to see Galbraith still has some support.

On preview: elwoodwiles: I remember when Kentucky was a Democratic stronghold. Or so it was claimed. I think the state has always been conservative though. Many of the people who live there choose to stay because they don't want their live to change. But no truer words have been said than, "Decades of underfunding education, medical care and public works have lead to this."
posted by ?! at 12:21 PM on July 17, 2005


Oh, and I don't mean to say 'they voted wrong, screw them.' I'm drawing a connection between their health issues, their cultural issues and their political issues. I think they're interconnected; a change in the politics and culture could lead to new and better ways to address health care.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:21 PM on July 17, 2005


"And Kentuckians die at a rate 18 percent above the national average."

So 118% of Kentuckians die? [etc.]


No, read it again, it says the rate is higher. While this interpretation may also be wrong, what it says to me is that 118 Kentuckians die in the same time period in which only 100 Americans die. At least it's not impossible.
posted by tss at 12:23 PM on July 17, 2005


So chasing, you took time out from exploring Cairo to make fun of a Kentucky reporter's grammar. Why?

Because, to some people, if poverty is white and rural, it's not tragic, it's funny!

That attitude has done tons of damage in this country and it saddens me to see people cling to it.
posted by jonmc at 12:24 PM on July 17, 2005


People are strangly proud about not seeing doctors, having bad habits and living a sedentary lifestyle. People who left school in the seventh grade are proud of it.

It's a weird facet of human nature that often, if people mock you with a stereotype often enough, you start to wave that stereotype in their face just to show contempt. This can often be self-destructive.
posted by jonmc at 12:27 PM on July 17, 2005


davy writes "Our local Chambourcins would go well with bong hits"

Well that's certainly not going to do anything to correct your intake of greasy foods!
posted by clevershark at 12:31 PM on July 17, 2005


davy, I apologize for the dumb comment right out of the gate.

And yes, I'm in Cairo. As for the Fatimids, apparently it's the trend to refer to medieval Islamic Cairo as Fatimid Cairo these days. The Al-Ahzar mosque guide was aware of the Shi'ite connection, but I haven't done an exhaustive "man-on-the-street" survey of Cairenes, no. And I'm currently reading Mahfouz' "Adrift on the Nile." Maybe I'll get to "Midaq Alley" next.

But you're right, I probably have other things to do than look at Metafilter right now.

Any other questions, davy?
posted by chasing at 12:36 PM on July 17, 2005


The scary thing is that this is a microcosm of what much of the U.S. is turning into, given the infective "red state" agenda.
posted by rolypolyman at 12:38 PM on July 17, 2005


I don't want to drag politics into this, but really, KY is a red state. It has red state habits and red state problems. As the US falls into the conservative agenda, this is the reality more and more states will have to face.

I don't know about this. Nebraska is one of the reddest states in the country, has some of the poorest counties in the country, yet somehow avoids many of KY's problems.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:39 PM on July 17, 2005


jonmc:
That's true, but I think there is something less intentional, something deeper in the mindset I'm referencing. Of course I'm making a large generalization - there are people in KY who do value education, unfortunately this often leads them to leave the state for greener (less blue - that's an unfunny pun) pastures. I think America has a strong history of anti-intellectualism and skepticism of education. That tradition is alive and well among certain folks in KY. Dropping out of school doesn't mean they're stupid - it means they're smart. Smarter than the system and the city folk that designed it. They're not reacting to the stereotype as much as they are retaining a certain historical/cultural perspective. It's that perspective that makes this problem so difficult to solve.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:39 PM on July 17, 2005


Woah I tought I was looking at Africa..but a more close representation could be..maybe Vietnam ?

The total gross state product for 2003 was $129 billion. Its
Per Capita Personal Income was $26,575, 41st in the nation.


That's low..and I guess the income distribution isn't good either.

The truck driver still smoking after the paralyzing stroke..suggest pure abandonement to me and a poor social structure..isolation, strong individualism and lack of interaction with others. As an ex-smoker, I can certainly attest to the fact social pressure plays a strong factor..even if the final decision and resolution was entirely mine.

The most striking aspect..it's U.S.A and it's piss poor...I really don't know how they managed to keep the population from revolting, giving the striking factual differeces between poor and rich.
posted by elpapacito at 12:40 PM on July 17, 2005


there are people in KY who do value education, unfortunately this often leads them to leave the state

Sadly, they often wind up in neigborhoods like Uptown in Chicago, or Billytown in Baltimore, or certain neighborhoods in Detroit, where they're still ghettoized. After WWII plenty of people, white and black, migrated from small towns in the rural south to big cities. It's one of the most ignored facets of american history.

Dropping out of school doesn't mean they're stupid - it means they're smart. Smarter than the system and the city folk that designed it. They're not reacting to the stereotype as much as they are retaining a certain historical/cultural perspective. It's that perspective that makes this problem so difficult to solve

It seems like a sort of perverse pride in a way- "I'm smart, I don't need these rich city people to tell me that!"- which is understandable, even commendable in a weird way, but it's ultimately self-destructive (though not as destructive as what outside forces have done to the region).
posted by jonmc at 12:49 PM on July 17, 2005


I have to disagree with elwoodwiles on his connection of politics and results. Look at a map of the 2004 reults in Kentucky (http://www.uselectionatlas.org/USPRESIDENT/GENERAL/pe2004USA2.png) on a by-county basis, and compare that to the map in davy's link and you'll see many of those same counties with serious medical problems voted Kerry. There's a strong Democratic Party connection in most of Eastern Kentucky, and has been since the 19th century. The heavy Bush votes came from south-central Kentucky and suburban areas near Cincinnati.

I grew up in that area, and most of the health problems are a subset of the economic issue. Eastern Kentucky was always a fairly isolated area, but because of the terrain, there was never much farming, which meant an agrarian middle class never grew in that area. The only source of wealth in the area, coal, was almost entirely owned by people outside the state, even the country. During the industrialization in the middle of the 20th century, about 2/3s of the residents moved out, and the remaining population base is too small or far away for much of a manufacturing base. Culture plays a role too, since one of the few crops that could be grown with much success was tobacco. That was one of the few sources of pride for people in the area, a product they created that people all over the world knew about. Perverse as it sounds, there are people that were proud to smoke because it was supporting the local economy.
posted by Mcable at 12:58 PM on July 17, 2005


?!, Gatewood also has a column . Scroll halfway down that page to see it; note that I have nothing to do with the awful design of that rag's web site.

And clevershark, if you're a non-smoking vegan who runs 50 miles a day, good for you. Now STFU.

(And chasing: apology accepted, thanks for the info, and please post more pictures of and text about your Cairo experience on your blog; maybe it'll be less depressing to read than the article I linked to.)

jonmc, I was born and raised in Baltimore and really didn't move away till 1996, and I never heard of any "Billytown" there. The closest I can think of is my old neighborhood, Hampden, which I just discovered has a Wikipedia article and a local news site.
posted by davy at 12:59 PM on July 17, 2005


[WAY OFFTOPIC]

davy,

I can't e-mail you seperately because your member page lists no e-mail, but what's your Cairo connection (if any)? If you don't want to continue with the derail here, you're welcome to comment on my site and I'll reply there...

Okay. Shutting up about it. Sorry, everyone.

[/WAY OFFTOPIC]
posted by chasing at 1:05 PM on July 17, 2005


which is understandable, even commendable in a weird way, but it's ultimately self-destructive (though not as destructive as what outside forces have done to the region).

Good point, in a round-a-bout way. There is a bit of a feedback loop going on. Rural areas get expoilted by urban areas, so the rural areas reject what they view as "urban" values such as education, which in turn allows the rural areas to be further exploited.

On preview: I realize I'm skating a fine line on the political side of this issue. I didn't want to connect the states politics with Bush as much as to the conservative movement in a more general way. It's true that many in Kentucky did vote Kerry, though I think the state went 60% Bush (I may be off a bit, but it wasn't a close call by any means.) Kentucky is a place where people feel strongly about tradition and individualism. Unfortunately their ideas of tradition and individualism have lead to underfunded public systems and unhealthy habits.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:09 PM on July 17, 2005


davy writes "And clevershark, if you're a non-smoking vegan who runs 50 miles a day, good for you. Now STFU."

Sheesh, fuck you if you can't tell that I was making a joke (pot, munchies, eating fast food). FWIW I've been known to indulge in a bit of weed on occasion, but it doesn't seem to have robbed me of my sense of humor...
posted by clevershark at 1:11 PM on July 17, 2005


"The most striking aspect..it's U.S.A and it's piss poor...I really don't know how they managed to keep the population from revolting, giving the striking factual differeces between poor and rich."

There is no visible class difference in parts of rural Kentucky. When 95% of the people around you are just like that, who do you revolt against?
posted by Mcable at 1:17 PM on July 17, 2005


I don't know about this. Nebraska is one of the reddest states in the country, has some of the poorest counties in the country, yet somehow avoids many of KY's problems.

A clear example of what you get for drinking muddy water and living on a steady diet of squirrel brain burgoo.
posted by nervousfritz at 1:21 PM on July 17, 2005


I have a feeling that politicians like to talk about health care reform as a way of endearing themselves to their constituents but I'm guessing none of them believe it's something that can or should be done...we americans are just too fat and unhealthy. the system would be bankrupt in a matter of days...
posted by ronenosity at 1:31 PM on July 17, 2005


there are isn't a lot of effort in Kentucky for the larger cities to help the poorer, rural areas

I live in Covington, Kentucky - the second largest city in the state, and the per capita income here is $16841. Not a lot there to share!

We spend quite a bit of time in McCreary County, on the Kentucky/Tennessee border, and the poverty there makes Covington look like the Gold Coast. The man who sells us firewood has lung disease from his career in the coal mines. He wheels an oxygen tank along side him everywhere he goes. He's told us that sometimes, the medicare send his oxygen a few days late.

Doing without oxygen for a few days?

My husband immigrated to Kentucky from England. He assures me that there's no concept in Britain of America's rural poor. The people living in the "hollers", in wood-heated shacks without indoor plumbing, are one of America's best kept secrets. The area that they live in is beautiful - but you can't eat beauty.
posted by tizzie at 1:50 PM on July 17, 2005


Oh, and I don't mean to say 'they voted wrong, screw them.'

Then I'll say it-- "they voted wrong, screw them." This is a Red State problem caused by Red State economics. Fixing it will cost money, and it's money that flows from states like mine (that give more to the feds than they get back) into poor states like Kentucky. And then Kentucky votes republican and the cycle continues.

Guess what, Kentucky? Those pointy-headed faggot communists up north are beginning to believe in paying your own way. Good luck finding the self-reliance that you talk up but don't practice. We're going to give that money to poor people who don't give us the finger while they cash the check.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:51 PM on July 17, 2005


I've been down there, and I can tell you those people get shat on all the time. Firetruck won't drive up the holler to put out their burning house because they might get muddy, or be inconvenienced if they get stuck.

Broad Form Deed anyone?
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:53 PM on July 17, 2005


Mayor Curley: I am not sure who actually votes down there, it's probably a bunch of corporate villians from the casting department of a Barbara Kopple film that check one big box.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:57 PM on July 17, 2005


off the top of my head: Loretta Lynn, Mohammed Ali, Abraham Lincoln, Colonel Sanders, Naomi Judd, Louis Brandeis, Allen Tate, John Marshall Harlan, Adlai Stevenson, Allen Tate, George C. Wolfe. All Kentuckians.
I'm sure there are so many more.

and, I seem to remember, Jefferson Davis (even he's not exactly a great Kentuckian, imo, but he surely ios one of the prominent ones).

Kentuckians have very good reason to be very, very proud of their great State. anyway, as L-Hat points out, the thought that all that money that recently went to Bechtel and Halliburton could have helped the sick, in Kentucky and in the rest of the US, is a terrible, terrible thought.
too bad that giving decent health care to the sick and the elderly does not make for great photo-ops to politicians, you know, cool stuff like posing in a borrowed uniform in front of big-ass flags and "mission accomplished" banners.
posted by matteo at 1:57 PM on July 17, 2005


OK, I wrote Allen Tate twice. I like him a lot
posted by matteo at 1:58 PM on July 17, 2005


Will someone please explain how the supposed liberals who are blaming Kentucky for its own problems are any different from the conservatives who insists that the urban poor have only themselves to blame?
posted by TedW at 2:06 PM on July 17, 2005


jonmc, I was born and raised in Baltimore and really didn't move away till 1996, and I never heard of any "Billytown" there.

People I've met from the area and books I've read set there say it refers to a section of South Baltimore. No offense intended.

and mayor curley: STFU.
posted by jonmc at 2:06 PM on July 17, 2005


TedW: I believe the difference is that the urban poor generally vote for liberals or moderates, in an effort to get themselves some help.

The "supposed liberals" here are blaming Kentucky for caring more about gay marraige bans than their own health and welfare.
posted by mosch at 2:24 PM on July 17, 2005


and mayor curley: STFU.

You're wasting your breath jon. Mayor's little rant is the same rant he's given several times since he came to metafilter, the whole "my state supports your state so screw you" victim claim. What's ironic is the similar race problems boston has with the south, but mayor chooses to point the finger elsewhere while ignoring his own back yark.

It would be nice if he could change the wording a little, but cut and paste is so convenient.

I believe the difference is that the urban poor generally vote for liberals or moderates

Which has improved their situation so greatly, huh?
posted by justgary at 2:29 PM on July 17, 2005


Rate of children living in poverty in Kentucky is 18%. Low income - 43%.

And as for those Red State Republicans? High concentrations of voters in suburban counties where the median home value is $74,000, vs. $26,000 in McCreary County.
posted by tizzie at 2:30 PM on July 17, 2005


What's ironic is the similar race problems boston has with the south, but mayor chooses to point the finger elsewhere while ignoring his own back yark.

Exactly. Boston has a rather nasty racial history, so he really dosen't have anything to brag about, but he needs someplace to look down on. And with attitudes like his so prevalent, is it any wonder that liberals might not be popular in places like Kentucky? People might not want to lend their support to those who hold them in contempt.
posted by jonmc at 2:32 PM on July 17, 2005


elwoodwiles said: Dropping out of school doesn't mean they're stupid - it means they're smart. Smarter than the system and the city folk that designed it.

Having lived more than half my life in a small, very poor, rural Oklahoma town, I agree that this is the predominant mode of thought for many folks. Self-reliance is a point of pride and though admirable in many ways (how I hate the whining of my fellow Angelenos) it's pretty sad when the family schizophrenic is locked away into the barn to live, and "prayed over" instead of letting "big-money egghead doctors" prescribe some medication.
posted by Kloryne at 2:32 PM on July 17, 2005


And by the way, these people don't vote most of the time. Too afraid the IRS will track them and show up at the door.
posted by Kloryne at 2:35 PM on July 17, 2005


and mayor curley: STFU.

Why? Why is it wrong to suggest that I shouldn't have to pay for the oxygen tank of someone in Kentucky who hates me?

And why are you always present when discussions about The South come up and why are you always defending it? Weren't you born in New England, you big Quisling? Do you just live in New York so you can take an occasional shit on General Grant's tomb or something?
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:39 PM on July 17, 2005


The economic "boom" in Boone County, in my statistic above, is impact from a Toyota manufacturing plant that located here about ten years ago. Sadly, it's 140 miles from the mountains.
posted by tizzie at 2:39 PM on July 17, 2005


It's not bad habits, it's poverty, and the lack of health insurance, as is made clear in the article itself.

Oh yes. Eating badly, smoking several packs a day and alkoholism have absolutely nothing to do with it.
posted by c13 at 2:39 PM on July 17, 2005


Why? Why is it wrong to suggest that I shouldn't have to pay for the oxygen tank of someone in Kentucky who hates me?

And you hate him, too. Oh, rapture. I've simply come to the conclusion that you need someone to hate, and as an educated Northern liberal, racial and ethnic minorities just won't do, so you've made poor white southerners your personal scapegoat for the worlds problems.


And why are you always present when discussions about The South come up and why are you always defending it? Weren't you born in New England, you big Quisling?


I need to be from the south to defend it? That's like saying I need to be black to decry racism. And it's you who pops up in every thread about the south and it's problems to say "Tough shit, bubba, I hope you die because you're not like me." I'm just doing my part to make you uncomfortable about it.
posted by jonmc at 2:48 PM on July 17, 2005


and, oh yeah: the music I love (rock and roll, country, blues, bluegrass, jazz)? Southern creations. The greasy food I'm so fond of? The south does it best. Numerous freinds of mine? Southern born.

And as New Hampshire born person, you shopuld know that there are towns there as provincial as any Kentuckian hamlet you could name. But the bottom line is this, whatever people do to deny it, these people are fellow human beings and deserve to be treated as such. period.
posted by jonmc at 2:52 PM on July 17, 2005


justgary: What's ironic is the similar race problems boston has with the south, but mayor chooses to point the finger elsewhere while ignoring his own back yark.

jonmc: Exactly. Boston has a rather nasty racial history, so he really dosen't have anything to brag about, but he needs someplace to look down on. And with attitudes like his so prevalent, is it any wonder that liberals might not be popular in places like Kentucky? People might not want to lend their support to those who hold them in contempt.

I didn't fucking mention race. And I'm not going to get sidetracked into your "Boston's just like the South", except to say that you're both profundly ignorant to think that this whole region is South Boston in 1972. It was 30 fucking years ago, and much of the south hadn't even outlawed lynching while it was going on.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:54 PM on July 17, 2005


"Tough shit, bubba, I hope you die because you're not like me."

I assure you that I'm not saying that. I'm merely saying "I don't care if you die."

And I'm also saying "I want a divorce from your state, so if you die it's not my problem."
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:58 PM on July 17, 2005


The article mentions state-by-state health rankings. Does anyone know where I can find those rankings?
posted by letitrain at 3:00 PM on July 17, 2005


"I'm sure there are so many more."
Don't forget Hunter S. Thompson.

"Will someone please explain how the supposed liberals who are blaming Kentucky for its own problems are any different from the conservatives who insists that the urban poor have only themselves to blame?"
No difference.
posted by Mcable at 3:02 PM on July 17, 2005


It's funny how the eating badly, smoking and "alkoholism" seem to follow poverty. I think poverty is the driver here.
posted by caddis at 3:02 PM on July 17, 2005


Ask yourself this, Mayor, would you be as comfortable saying the things you say about Kentuckians about someone living in the Old Colony projects or over in Roxbury?

"Boston's just like the South", except to say that you're both profundly ignorant to think that this whole region is South Boston in 1972. It was 30 fucking years ago,

And a couple weeks ago here in liberal blue-state NYC, a black guy got beat down for being in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time. When I first lived in New York, it was right after an equally ugly racial incident in Bensonhurst.

And in all these cases, plenty of people in upscale white enclaves tut-tuted about the barbaric racists, while ignoring their own surroundings.

My point is this: if one is going to proclaim moral superiority for a region, one's region should in fact be morally superior.
posted by jonmc at 3:02 PM on July 17, 2005


And not that there's a big difference, but I was born in Massachusetts and raised in Maine (not that there's anything wrong with New Hampshire). And yes, parts of Maine are wretched and when I'm Stalin I'll have to clean them up.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:02 PM on July 17, 2005


But the bottom line is this, whatever people do to deny it, these people are fellow human beings and deserve to be treated as such. period.

Amen.
posted by caddis at 3:05 PM on July 17, 2005


Jesus, Mayor Curley. A Kentuckian would really like you to shut the fuck up.
These people are dirt fucking poor. Nobody will help them, and they don't have the education to begin to see why they have problems. Politicians trick them into villifying others. They have been fucked over in ways you can't even imagine, asshole.
And guess what? There are liberals in Kentucky, you fucking prick. I'm one of them, and I know a whole slew of others. What are we supposed to do? I'm not going to get run out of my own state because right-wingers are taking it over, I'm going to stay and fight.
So, in conclusion, fuck you and the horse you rode in on. I'm sorry this is a bit personal, but you do not ever say that you don't care if another person dies or not, just because you don't like what they think. And you especially don't say that shit about people who have been given real shit hands in life.
posted by 235w103 at 3:12 PM on July 17, 2005


i don't remember seeing anything in the article about alcoholism. the article does clearly state the the u.s. has a lower life expectancy than canada, japan and germany. well, they smoke like fiends in japan and germany, and pretty much all of europe, probably all at comparable rates as kentucky. i agree with jokeefe and caddis. it's the poverty, stupid.
posted by brandz at 3:18 PM on July 17, 2005


I'm sorry this is a bit personal, but you do not ever say that you don't care if another person dies or not, just because you don't like what they think. And you especially don't say that shit about people who have been given real shit hands in life.

No, you have every right to take exception, and I certainly understand why my indifference could be seen as offensive. But those people are already dead. I would love to see a United States where poor people had more to look forward to than tobacco, junk food and Cossack vodka. But this is what capitalism does-- some cogs are manufactured to be discarded almost immediately. And it's sad. Back when I used to think that the system could be changed I would get very depressed about it.

But the system can't be changed, and these people are never going to have good lives. Instead, our local resources get diverted even though we actually provide our poor some decent services and could do even better. And then those living ghosts in the red states vote, and they vote to interfere with our lives.

So they're already dead, except that they make things harder for the people who are fighting to make things more livable. Can you see why I might be indifferent?
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:32 PM on July 17, 2005


Sidebar: alcohol can't be legally sold in most of rural Kentucky. That's an odd artifact of Prohibition and the Southern Baptists. Alcohol consumption is way below average per capita in those parts of the state. That's one reason you don't see it mentioned.
posted by Mcable at 3:33 PM on July 17, 2005


Mayor: But these people AREN'T dead. They are alive, and they do actually enjoy life sometimes. If you were to come down to Kentucky and go out in the country and actually meet up with these people and see how, in spite of their circumstances, they're able to live and enjoy some modicum of life- I mean, hell. I've never been hungry, and I think my life sucks sometimes. These people have it a lot worse than I do, yet they manage to, on the whole, stay positive, or at least deluded enough to allow themselves to be happy.
I don't think that they are lost causes; I can't think that, because I'm related to half of them. Why did I get lucky enough to go to college? To be able to leave all of them? I don't think so.
If you actually want to get them on your side, don't just sit there and tell them that their lives are not worth living. Come on down, we can share a plate of grits and go on a stump tour, convincing the holler people to vote for Hillary in '08, or whoever they're going to nominate.
I can't just assume that all of these people don't matter, just because their lives are not as materially rich as mine. Hell, what makes me any different? Why shouldn't I die? Because I was able to get on to the Internet and talk to you? Because if you're okay with me dying, and I think you'd have to be, if you think I have a shit life, just say it. But not caring about whether people die or not is not just indifference, it's inhuman. Everybody who drinks or smokes or eats themselves to death because of the lack of opportunity, each of those deaths degrade us all.
posted by 235w103 at 3:46 PM on July 17, 2005


The people living in the "hollers", in wood-heated shacks without indoor plumbing, are one of America's best kept secrets.

I remember being up late one night doing homework, and one of those World Vision "feed the children" hour-long commercials came on. The conditions the people of this country were living in were disgusting & inhumane, with their only running water a sewer-like stream through their broken down village. It was some of the most abject poverty I'd ever seen, but what had my jaw on the floor was that it was Kentucky, The USA! I'd been told that they had 3rd world poverty there but hadn't really believed it until seeing that ad. There's also an ad for poverty stricken Arkansas, which also only runs in the dead of the night. They really focus on showing the delicate little blonde girls in torn dirty dresses, with big hungry blue eyes. I guess that's most shocking to the viewers.

I've always thought Kentucky seemed like an interesting place, with some incredibly beautiful natural areas. There's a town there called Mckee, it was settled in the late 1600's by a mefi member's ancestor who won a large prize of money from William Prince of Orange, for fighting for protestant succession. Also to add to matteo's list of noted Kentuckians: The late, truly great, Rosemary Clooney, Muhammad Ali, actor Patricia Neal, nobel winning scientist Phillip A. Sharp, 3 time pulitzer winning author Robert Penn Warren., artist/ornithologist James Audubon, Daniel Boone, Kit Carson. If someone googles it, there's sure to be so many more than that.
posted by zarah at 3:52 PM on July 17, 2005


The article mentions state-by-state health rankings. Does anyone know where I can find those rankings?

To answer my own question, the United Health Foundation study. Way to go Minnesota, New Hampshire and Vermont! It's probably not the study mentioned in the article, however, since Kentucky is listed at #39, with 11 states worse off.
posted by letitrain at 3:55 PM on July 17, 2005


don't say that shit about people who have been given real shit hands in life

I met one guy down there who ran a one-man coal mine, working a vein that was about 20" high, blasting deep into the mountain. At $5 a ton he kind of well off, and supported his older relatives.

He had a giant mostly toothless grin and volunteered to help rebuild a burnt down one-room school house.

We went swimming at a local pond, he like the rest of the men was permanently black from the neck up and shirtsleeves down. I can just imagine his lungs.

I doubt he ever voted, he wouldn't know were to begin the process.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:02 PM on July 17, 2005


Kentucky is a really gorgeous place, but it is poor. The thing about a lot of these people living in rural poverty, which is similar to many other states with rural poverty, many are too proud to seek assistance, or much assistance. I think with rising medical costs it has become harder than ever to maintain that stoic, proud and self reliant attitude. Nevertheless it remains. I have a lot of respect for them.
posted by caddis at 4:06 PM on July 17, 2005


We can assume you received a "D" and a lesson in working harder on research?


You can assume that if you want to. But even though I failed sixth grade, the reports I did always got an A+.
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:07 PM on July 17, 2005


Citizens began meeting about the tax laws that exempted the coal owners and the property laws that allowed coal companies to strip mine a landowner's surface without his permission.

If there's any group that should be easy to tax, it would be coal mines. It's not like they can take their mines elsewhere.
posted by drezdn at 4:10 PM on July 17, 2005


In fact, to amplify Mcable, some of our world famous distilleries and up-and-coming wineries are in "dry" counties.

A lot of the drunk driving in rural KY can be explained by not being able to walk to a bar or liquor store -- in some places you have to drive 100 miles each way. Unless of course you want to drink the local methane moonshine or pay whatever the local bootlegger wants, which might explain why some counties are still legally "dry".

(Oh and chasing, I have no connection to Cairo, I just read a lot; I clicked on your name to see if I could email you, and instead found your web page and travel narrative.)
posted by davy at 4:12 PM on July 17, 2005


is it any wonder that liberals might not be popular in places like Kentucky? People might not want to lend their support to those who hold them in contempt.

yeah, but they sure as hell seem to be a solid, reliable voting bloc for the politicians who say that national health care (the thing every industrialized country in the world has, except one) is communistic, evil, and will never to happen in the USA. the same politicians who mounted an impressive campaign to burn at the stake the satanic Hillary Clinton and poor Ira Magaziner 12 years ago when they tried to do something for the people like the oxygen tank lady in Kentucky.

now I don't really agree with the Mayor, but voting clearly against one's own economic and social self-interest only because one likes better the politicians who talk tuff and have discovered Jesus in the bottom of a whiskey glass and bomb a lot of people and also hate teh fags as much as Jesus clearly did, well, that game plan doesn't seem to be working very well for the Southern Poor.

having said that, I think that even if FDR coalitions are a thing of the past for the Democratic party, it is probably still possible for them (forgetting about Diebold for a second) to try to win back the White House with a candidate who, like Clinton did, manages not to piss off Southerners as much as, say, "French-looking", windsurfing Senators from the Mayor's State do
posted by matteo at 4:22 PM on July 17, 2005


Kentucky is also one of the most boring states in America.

Obviously, you haven't crossed the river into Indiana. I lived in Kentucky for six years while attending the University of Louisville, and although traces of hillbilly vibe were evident on occasion in urban Louisville, I found it much more interesting than a number of places I lived. Thriving local music scene, oodles of heritage and rooted culture, some of it disturbing, and an odd sort of small-town feel wrapped up in a decaying urban setting. Traffic's not bad either, and (this has changed, I'm sure) there was a thriving market in beautiful, restored brownstones coming onto the market due to plague vacancies. Lots of contradictions, beauty, history, and doses of creepiness on occasion to keep things interesting.

Everywhere else I've lived has felt like an extended mall, or (Utah) an extended mall with pretty mountains in the background, providing a gentle reminder that you live on an earthquake fault.
posted by mecran01 at 4:24 PM on July 17, 2005


You can assume that if you want to. But even though I failed sixth grade, the reports I did always got an A+.

You mean you didn't do that report this year?
posted by caddis at 4:26 PM on July 17, 2005


now I don't really agree with the Mayor, but voting clearly against one's own economic and social self-interest only because one likes better the politicians who talk tuff and have discovered Jesus in the bottom of a whiskey glass and bomb a lot of people and also hate teh fags as much as Jesus clearly did, well, that game plan doesn't seem to be working very well for the Southern Poor.

You know as well as I do that it's not that simple. The right has been great at co-opting this demographic. The left has to be better, and the approach the mayor curley's of the world are taking is providing fuel for the right's fire is all I'm saying.
posted by jonmc at 4:36 PM on July 17, 2005


I don't wanna get between jonmc and the Mayor, but jonmc is the goddamdest southern northerner I ever met! (And a certain amberglow is the most new york of the new yorkers! -- And they even get along.) That guy is more southern than me, and I grew up down the street from a monument to Button Gwinnett.
posted by zpousman at 5:14 PM on July 17, 2005


I don't wanna get between jonmc and the Mayor, but jonmc is the goddamdest southern northerner I ever met!

Heh. Nah, despite my affection for a lot of southern things, I'm a damyankee. I just don't like people spouting arbitrary hatreds and then trying to justify them as anything other than prejudices. If it was a southerner ripping on NYC, I'd be just as angry. And there are parts of NYC as provinicial as an any Alabama hamlet.
posted by jonmc at 5:25 PM on July 17, 2005


I really don't know how they managed to keep the population from revolting, giving the striking factual differeces between poor and rich.

And think of all the guns they're probably sitting on.

The left has to be better, and the approach the mayor curley's of the world are taking is providing fuel for the right's fire is all I'm saying.

You can bet they'd rather die than admit the Yankees were actually right all along. It's the same foolish pride we see in our president: make a mistake, but follow it through to the bitter end just so you don't have to admit you're wrong, wrong, wrong.

There are two ways the left could co-opt the situation: the first would be to go back on every piece of progressive legislation aimed at minorities over the past 50 years (civil rights, women's rights, gay rights) and claim they've seen the divine light.

The second would be to try and raise the level of education to a point where they understand that differences are what make this country strong, socialism is not communism, and the damned Yanks might actually have their best interest in mind, even if they did raize Georgia a hundred and fifty some-odd years ago.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:26 PM on July 17, 2005


the damned Yanks might actually have their best interest in mind,

I don't disagree, C_D, I'm just saying that we have to be careful not to be condescending and/or paternalistic in how we communicate that.

(and yes, it would be nice if tone and approach didn't matter in politics, but we're all grownups here, let's face it, it does.)
posted by jonmc at 5:30 PM on July 17, 2005


Mayor Curley, I have no doubt that there is some truth in your opinions. It's your simplistic view that the situation is black and white with no grey, and your considerable anger every time the south is mentioned on metafilter that leads me to believe you simply have serious issues when it comes to southern states.

And not to speak for jonmc, but with the southern representation pretty much non existent on metafilter a little yankee support is not unwelcome.

And by support I simply mean by not treating the South as evil incarnate or with sweeping generalizations.
posted by justgary at 10:30 PM on July 17, 2005


You can bet they'd rather die than admit the Yankees were actually right all along.

...the damned Yanks might actually have their best interest in mind...

The same Yankees and other outsiders who own and owned the mines and made damn sure they couldn't organize or make a decent life for themselves? There are reasons the people of west Kentucky and other coal-mining areas are/were distrustful of outsiders, becasue historically, outsiders have used them up and threw them away in order to get all that cheap energy used to make places like Boston and people like Curley feel privelaged enough to spit on those that allowed them to post comfortably on the internet.

Yeah, it's nice for us to know what's really happening in the world, but unless you think scorn and contempt are going to magic up infrastructure for internet connections or somehow allow poor counties to be able to fund schools properly, (because if you have low poperty values and income, it dosen't really matter what percentage of tax you allocate to education, especially if the wealthier and more populous areas of your state won't change education funding laws,) then blaming them or saying "They need to stop voting against their own interest!" ain't gonna do shit. I agree, that there are political solutions for their problems, and they aren't coming out of Kentucky, (or the Republican or Democratic parties, for that mater,) but the problem is getting past the 150 years of being crapped on, and it takes a lot of work to get past that. The patronization and hate expressed by a few in this thread, and of course, elsewhere, is just more of the same to them. Why should they believe outsiders now?

(Civil_Disobedient, I'm not attacking you here or anything, just using your quotes for a jumping off point.)
posted by Snyder at 11:48 PM on July 17, 2005


I'll agree with JonMC, for all the reasons that he (and 235w103, and justgary, and Snyder, and others) state. Mayor Curley, you obviously have some sort of irrational beef against the South, and your needlessly-smug tone is irritating as hell. Your talk about "these people" is not only overbroad and condescending, but also ignorant. I'm saying this as a Southerner (born in West Virginia, lived there across the border from Kentucky for several years, grew up in North Carolina): kindly fuck off.
posted by Vidiot at 12:04 AM on July 18, 2005


it would be nice if tone and approach didn't matter in politics, but we're all grownups here, let's face it, it does

Yes, it does if you're actually trying to accomplish anything, rather than just using MeFi as a soapbox to express your frustration. I doubt very much MC talks in real life with such vitriol.

and your considerable anger every time the south is mentioned on metafilter that leads me to believe you simply have serious issues when it comes to southern states

His anger was not specifically aimed at the southern states, but at individuals who find themselves in terrible positions that are their own doing. You see this tone often in threads about cigarette smoking (though not necessarily by Mayor Curley).

The patronization and hate expressed by a few in this thread, and of course, elsewhere, is just more of the same to them. Why should they believe outsiders now?

They don't have to listen to outsiders: this is just simple self-interest at work. Yet for some (or many) reasons, they are unwilling or unable to make the very obvious changes necessary to rectify the situation.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:21 AM on July 18, 2005


The people living in the "hollers", in wood-heated shacks without indoor plumbing, are one of America's best kept secrets.

Yup. My wife and I have been watching the PBS documentary on Appalachia, and even when you know a lot of the history, seeing the images and hearing people tell their own stories hits you hard.

the damned Yanks might actually have their best interest in mind

My ass. The Yanks have their own interests in mind, just like everybody else. Nobody has a monopoly of virtue, everybody's looking after themselves. See Snyder's comment.

There's not really much point in trying to argue with the Mayor. I'm not sure what his aggressive shtick is all about -- some combination of despair and the desire to provoke? -- but I don't think he means half of what he spouts, and he can be a good guy when he's not being Mister Masshole.
posted by languagehat at 5:21 AM on July 18, 2005


And there are parts of NYC as provinicial as an any Alabama hamlet.

jonmc, you have no idea what hearing that expressed by someone else does for me, being (as I am) a Kentuckian (Lexington) who lived in NYC and dealt with the idiotic tirades of the North East set against the provincial, backwards, foolish South. I have never seen such insulation, such provincialism, as I did in New York. At least people from my hometown often express a desire to, you know, see the world: many of the lifelong New Yorkers I met raised an eyebrow when asked, "Isn't there anywhere better than New York? In any way?"

On the poverty in Kentucky, all I can say is that taking a long drive on Paris Pike from Harrodsburg, through Lexington, into Millersburg and beyond, is a rather eye-opening experience. It's like a moving metaphor for the disparity between the rich and poor in the South. Sad and pretty. You know how these things go.

And we ain't boring. Just...a little slow. But what's wrong with that?
posted by ford and the prefects at 5:26 AM on July 18, 2005


A postive step in Kentucky - a broadband initiative to bring them intarnets to the rural poor - especially to the schools.

Also - "Keep Louisville Weird", a terrific marketing effort for independent businesses.

Shakertown, Keeneland, the Big South Fork, Maker's Mark, George Clooney - we have a lot to brag about. (and just one big upcoming embarrassment...)

Any of you damn Yankees care to visit (especially dear jonmc) and I promise you we'll be anything but boring.
posted by tizzie at 5:36 AM on July 18, 2005


Oh, and did I leave out Lebowski Fest? (meet-up thread here)
posted by tizzie at 5:42 AM on July 18, 2005


I gotta say, with the history of union violence and agitation in mining states, I'm surprised that no one has been able to get the rural poor whipped up into enough of a fervor to get attention. East KY is Democratic, and that's a likely reason for why they're screwed by their statehouse. But man, when I read things like this, I can't help but think that they need someone to get 'em whipped up, armed and marching if they ever want to get the government services and infrastructure that will allow them to get the hell out of their poverty (and it is the poverty that's screwing them).
(As a side note, things like this are why I'd like to see a move away from race-based affirmative action, and toward class based.)
posted by klangklangston at 6:19 AM on July 18, 2005


The poorest county in the state, Owsley, has a death rate 80 percent above the national average.

damn.
posted by OmieWise at 6:27 AM on July 18, 2005


Mcable writes "Alcohol consumption is way below average per capita in those parts of the state. That's one reason you don't see it mentioned."

I would love to know how these numbers are figured. I've lived in more than one "dry" county in Appalachia, including some of the poorest counties in NC and Tenn, and moonshine was very common. People knew where to get it and drank it all the time. I've been to a moonshine bar outside of Newport Tenn. So it may be true that taxed alcohol purchases are very low per capita in some parts of Kentucky, I'm not sure that it follows that alcohol consumption is low.
posted by OmieWise at 6:33 AM on July 18, 2005


C_D, thanks for translating Curley's snarl for those who tend to react badly to it. His prose is vicious but his points are valid, as usual.

jonmc, how did you manage to suggest that "we have to try not to be condescending or paternalistic" without a hint of irony?
posted by mek at 6:42 AM on July 18, 2005


talk to me when you grow up, junior.
posted by jonmc at 6:52 AM on July 18, 2005


don't get all self-referential on me.
posted by mek at 7:22 AM on July 18, 2005


Speaking as a born-and-raised Kentuckian, having lived most of my life in a rural part of the state, this has been an interesting thread for me. I have a few observations:

Citizen Premier: Kentucky is also one of the most boring states in America

This strikes me as an odd criticism - I always thought we were stereotyped as Bourbon Whiskey-making, thoroughbred horse-breeding-and-racing, cockfighting, Hatfield-and-McCoy-feuding hillbillies. "Boring" would seem to apply more to Iowa or Indiana or one of those other flat states in the midwest.

limitedpie: It is hard to have a lot of empathy when they are choosing their own destruction at the ballot box.

We voted for Clinton in '92 and '96... Kentucky will vote Democratic again if/when the party nominates someone slightly more appealing than Kerry.

elwoodwiles: Kentucky is also really poor. Really, really poor. The Eastern sections of the state do better because of a middle class that commutes to Cincinnatti for work. Otherwise KY is a pretty desolate place economically.

Actually, it's the Eastern, mountainous part of the state that is the poorest. Northern Kentucky, which is basically part of the greater Cincinnati area, is doing pretty well. Central Kentucky (Lexington, the bluegrass region) is also not really economically depressed. The Lousville metro area has its share of urban poor, but is still home to the headquarters of several large corporations, etc.

Mayor Curley: But those people are already dead ... and these people are never going to have good lives... So they're already dead, except that they make things harder for the people who are fighting to make things more livable.

Well, others have already already responded to these asinine comments, but I feel like sharing a little personal history:

I was born to teenage parents in rural Kentucky... I grew up in a small 12 foot wide trailer on a farm. My father worked as a laborer and did some farming on the side. This was in the seventies, when the economy really DID suck. Luckily for me, we didn't know we were "already dead", so I was able to go to college, get a good job, not have to depend on government cheese, etc. etc.
< \horatio alger>

Civil_Disobedient: ...damned Yanks might actually have their best interest in mind, even if they did raize Georgia a hundred and fifty some-odd years ago.

Some people have the misconception that Kentucky is part of the deep south... If you're going to drag the Civil War into the discussion, keep in mind that loyalty was pretty much equally divided between the Union and Confederacy.
posted by JeffL at 7:49 AM on July 18, 2005


Here, Citizen Permier, maybe you should do another report. You might learn something this time.
posted by tomplus2 at 8:17 AM on July 18, 2005


And guess what? There are liberals in Kentucky, you fucking prick. I'm one of them, and I know a whole slew of others. What are we supposed to do? I'm not going to get run out of my own state because right-wingers are taking it over, I'm going to stay and fight.

*Applauds*

The American labor movement was built as much in the coal towns as in the sweatshops of NYC, and Chicago.

And IME, it's not the "dying poor" who are overwhelmingly Republican.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:41 AM on July 18, 2005


I would just like to vouch for Uptown in Chicago. I love the area, I live right down the street from Broadway, and I never feel that it is a ghetto or that I'm in danger at any point. I'm sure at some point the neighborhood will be gentrifeid since it's nice location to the el and the wriglyville area. We're renting right now, but uptown would probably be our first choice to buy a condo in. It's a great area, and I'd much rather live there than in any of the lakeview/lincoln park areas.
posted by corpse at 12:19 PM on July 18, 2005


Kentucky is also one of the most boring states in America.

This strikes me as an odd criticism - I always thought we were stereotyped as Bourbon Whiskey-making, thoroughbred horse-breeding-and-racing, cockfighting, Hatfield-and-McCoy-feuding hillbillies. "Boring" would seem to apply more to Iowa or Indiana or one of those other flat states in the midwest.


Agreed. I grew up in Louisville, and Kentucky is hardly boring. I wouldn't move back, but (aside from California), I consider it the most beautiful state in the country (if you can ignore the Eastern half, which has been destroyed by coal mining). It's certainly no more "boring" than any other midwestern state.

At least Louisville lets bars stay open until 4 am, unlike the nanny states of New York City, Chicago, Boston, etc. (Of course, several counties in KY can't sell alcohol ...)

The article is slightly "local news," but an excellent counterpart to the Economist class survey.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:41 PM on July 18, 2005


Chicago has 4am (5am on Saturdays!) bars, just not as many as their used to be, but there is usually a couple or 4 in each neighborhood.
posted by corpse at 12:53 PM on July 18, 2005


I grew up in Louisville, and Kentucky is hardly boring.

Where iin KY is it not boring? Louisville is generally DULL.

At least Louisville lets bars stay open until 4 am

Maybe you were too drunk to know you were bored?

I'm here because my "Significant Other" is here. (Why she's here is none of y'all's business.) It's okay, Louisville's surely prettier and less depressing than Baltimore or the Tenderloin, but still.

The high points of my summer so far have been this month's First Friday Gallery Hop and seeing Macbeth for free in the park twice.

And by the way, I had misgivings about this FPP but I did it anyway. This makes three thread-starting posts to these pages I've lived to regret: one here, one on Metatalk, and one in Ask Metafilter.
posted by davy at 1:10 PM on July 18, 2005


Louisville is generally DULL.

I dunno. I'll admit that's basically why I left for good at the age of 24. Actually, no. 1 would be the segregation and racism (which includes the "redneck culture," though some will argue vehemently that it's not a racist culture). No. 2 would be the winter. Then comes teh dullsville. And the lack of attractive, intelligent women.

BUT ... decent museums, acceptable vegetarian food, a visible (if extremely quiet) gay community, respected artists, great theater, excellent ballet, a growing Vietnamese population, minor-league baseball, Churchill Downs ... it has its highlights (for me). Plus, if you love sweltering summers, the Ohio Valley is for you!

I am quite familiar with Richmond VA, Vandalia OH, Clarkston MI, Spokane WA, etc etc ad nauseam, and they're all just as boring as Louisville (OK, Richmond was pretty fun).

And there was always plenty of "action" going on at the Shell station down the alley from my last apartment (Rubel and Broadway - across from the dreaded Phoenix Hill Tavern).

Maybe you were too drunk to know you were bored?

If you're too "anything" to *know* you're bored, are you really bored?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:11 PM on July 18, 2005


davy: Why would you regret this post? The discussion got a little annoying at times, but that's not your fault, and it got people focused for at least a moment on a much-ignored topic. Good for you, say I.

I have no position on the boringness or otherwise of Louisville.
posted by languagehat at 3:18 PM on July 18, 2005


NYC has 4 in the morning closing time with most bars in my experience doing it on the weekends.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:44 PM on July 18, 2005


I have no position on the boringness or otherwise of Louisville.

Ditto, though I agree it seemed an odd statement to make, particularly if you've ever been through the appropriately named Great Plains.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:16 PM on July 18, 2005


I have never seen such insulation, such provincialism, as I did in New York.

Indeed.

It amazes me how many people think that paying way too much for everything while having to deal with huge crowds and relatively poor weather equals living in the best city in the world.
posted by oaf at 9:19 AM on July 19, 2005


Hey, could be worse. Could be Jersey. ;)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:20 AM on July 19, 2005


these people are never going to have good lives....
... So they're already dead.


So what should we do? shove them into cattle cars?

Curley, you scare me.
posted by login at 10:38 AM on July 19, 2005


Based on three decades in the town -- I have a position on being bored in Louisville...

It's only boring if you don't have the imagination or wherewithal to create or find your excitment.

tizzie: Covington is the second largest city in the state? I'm gone three months and everyone leaves Lexington? Why wasn't that in the paper? Unless you mean square acreage and not population. And even then...when did they slide by Lexington?

mrgrimm: "And the lack of attractive, intelligent women." That's what you get for hanging out at Phoenix Hill.
posted by ?! at 8:09 PM on July 23, 2005


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