In a recent podcast episode, I was talking about the opinions and perceptions of different states, or regions of the country that people carry around with them that are sometimes (often?) dubious in nature. I encounter it with my own home state all the time. “West Virginia?!” people always say, before launching into a litany of predictable stereotypes. It used to make me angry, but now it merely annoys. I think it’s the lack of imagination that gets to me. ‘Cause it’s always the same crap, said in semi-jest. Inbreeding comedy… comments about indoor plumbing… moonshine jokes… Absolutely hilarious, and original too. Then, after I give them the squint of disapproval, they quickly add, “Pretty country, though.”
Also, many, many people don’t realize that Virginia and West Virginia are two different states. Just yesterday somebody said something about the governor of my home state dressing up as a Klansman, etc. I told her it was Virginia and she looked confused. I’m from West Virginia, I reminded her, and that didn’t seem to clear up anything.
Or maybe she was talking about Robert Byrd, and I was the one that was wrong?
In any case, I thought it might be fun to just pick a random state and see what opinions and perceptions we have about it. Even if we’ve never been there. It might be a big bust, but it seems like an interesting experiment in theory. I decided to go with Arkansas, for no good reason.
I’ve never set foot in the state, but here’s what I think about when I think about Arkansas:
- Southern, but more Texas-Southern than, say, Georgia or South Carolina. I’m not sure about the differences, but am confident there are some.
- Kinda poor, but not as poor as Mississippi, which is nearby, I think.
- Breeding ground for Clintons.
- Little Rock is the only city I can think of, and I believe it’s the capital.
- Lots of Dollar General stores.
- Lots of Dairy Queens.
- Country music reigns, and there might still be roadhouses where you can hear it played live.
- A lot like Tennessee but not nearly as cool. Like the zitty, bucktoothed sister of a prom queen.
- Pretty country, though.
That’s all I know about Arkansas. And some of it might not even be true. I didn’t do any research, obviously, and that’s the point. I’d like to know your thoughts about Arkansas, just right off the top of your head. If you’ve actually been there, your point of view will almost certainly be different than mine. So, let’s have at it. Use the comments section, if you’re so inclined.
And I need to call it a day here. I have to stop at Sam’s Club in Wilkes-Barre before work, to pick up some snacks ‘n’ shit for the employees who’ll be coming in for a “special project” on Sunday morning. I might get one of those delicious scoop cakes if you know what I’m talking about. Are you hip to the scoop cake? Highly recommended. Anyway… I need to go now.
Yesterday I uploaded a new podcast episode, for patrons. Episode 60! Can you believe that? I’m having trouble believing it. But I think it’s a pretty good episode and you can hear it right here. And this is the summary:
In this one I discuss some disturbing baseball news that’s being reported, the plumber/conference call pressure I’m feeling, some disgraceful Donny Osmond panhandling, year old seal feces, attempted trademarking of the word ‘chunky,’ and a possible ghost in the closet of a college student. And I close it out with yet another Sam’s Club anecdote. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for listening, and thanks for the support!
You guys have yourselves a fantastic weekend.
I’ll see you again on Monday!
Now playing in the bunker
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Arkansas is probably not that different from us in a lot of ways.
It probably depends on where you grew up. The city or the country.
I was back around where I grew up the other day. There are even more churches now – some teetering on cult status I think. And I saw at least 2 people selling Confederate flags along the side of the road.
Mostly everything is more run down and sad.
A Different Jeff says
Welcome to Arkansas: Thank God for Mississippi!
Having driven through and stayed in Arkansas several times, I can say it’s the worst state I’ve ever visited. The people were shockingly, unexpectedly, undeservedly, and consistently rude. I don’t understand it. Nevermind everything else being underwhelming.
Joe T says
I’m not as cultured as the previous commenters. When I think of Arkansas, all I come up with was Nolan Richardson, his Razorback basketball team and their 40 minutes of Hell defense.
Driving through Arkansas I went through the self-proclaimed “Rice Capital Of The World” and thought to myself “I think somewhere in China might disagree”.
I looked it up and it’s a place called Stuttgar
The iconic pictures of the Little Rock Nine going to school.
Lots of health and dental problems.
The Larry McMurtry book/movie “Lonesome Dove.”
Being from New York with a Bronx accent, if some douchebag says “Toidy Toid and Toid” one more time to me, I won’t be held accountable for my actions.
surreal killer says
I picture a lot of hunting and fishing could be done in Arkansas. A sportsman’s paradise if you will. I’ve never done more than pass through the state, but am familiar enough with the geography as a USFS contractor.
surreal killer says
and Japanese: I imagine that folks in Arkansas speak Japanese most of the time. Especially when they are eating the primary regional food of Arkansas, which is sauerkraut. Also, I am guessing that the favored mode of transportation is side-saddle ostrich riding.
Too funny, keep going, I want to know more!!
surreal killer says
Buddy Hackett is the patron saint of Arkansas. Astronauts used to be sent to Arkansas to train in a weightless environment back in the 1960s, as gravity had yet to be introduced in this state until 1973. Arkansas is considered to be as far “off Brodaway” as a theatre production can get.
I probably shouldn’t participate because I lived there for 16 years. I was in the North West corner. I laughed when I discovered that area was called NWA. It is an insulated bubble of big bucks Walmart, Tyson Chicken and JB Hunt Trucking. The U of A was in my town of Fayetteville. Nolan Richardson had a lot in my neighborhood that he never built on. Fayetteville is also home to the second largest biker rally next to Sturgess. I’ve lived in other states that I consider worse, North Carolina and New Jersey come to mind.
Best thing to come out of AR is my old horse Willie. Now that he is in South Carolina I call him my Arkansas Traveler.
Had a great childhood adventure in Arkansas! Our family went camping a lot when
I was a kid. The Missouri Ozarks was a regular in the summer rotation. I was about 10
and had a buddy come along that trip. We both had just seen “Smokey and the
Bandit” at the theaters. So one morning, we got on our cool banana seated bikes and
were determined to make the Arkansas state line. For hours we pushed bikes uphill,
then FLEW down hills. It’s always amazed me there wasn’t carnage. Crossed the
state line, destroyed a few Milky Ways, downed them with Frostie root beers that
we found at this little store. It wasn’t as much fun on the way back. When we got
back later that night my Grandad asked where we had been all day. We said
Arkansas!!! He laughed and laughed. And made us extra burgers.
That was a great poem.
Why is it not pronounced in the latter part like Kansas? My only thought. C’ya!
A person who lives there is called an Ar-Kansan. I think he needs to be called an Arkan-sawyer ,
I’ve never been to Arkansas. I picture it as a wretched place full of Wal-Marts and trailer parks. Lots of churches of the hollerin’ type. Front yard planters made out of truck tires. Meth.
Sebastian Valmont says
I briefly lived in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It’s a gorgeous state with great hiking, camping and other outdoor opportunities, but leaves a lot to be desired socially. Eureka Springs is the “liberal” capital of the region (except for maybe Hot Springs,) but it’s a tiny town with lots of drama and nosy people. Beautiful city with great architecture, though. I’d go back and stay a night at the Crescent Hotel, which is supposedly haunted. The other cities I visited were much poorer, run down and methier. I’d avoid the cities and stick with the national and state parks.
I recently watched an episode of Drunk History on the Little Rock Nine. If the prevailing attitude toward diversity is still the same, I’ll choose to drive around the state rather than through it. Not that I fit into any minority class at all, I just don’t feel the need to subject myself to that level of hatred and small-mindedness.
I’ve driven across the country 2.5 times, and Arkansas had the prettiest sunset I’ve ever seen. That’s the extent of my Arkansas knowledge.
Reading this update and subsequent comments probably exceeds the total time I have ever spent considering the State of Arkansas.
Have no opinion on Arkansas, but I wondering if I am governor of Virginia yet.
Live Rust says
Keith Richards was arrested driving through Arkansas during the Stone’s 1975 tour while driving from Memphis to Dallas. Got released mainly because the Judge needed to visit the liquor store before it closed at 5 p.m. on a Saturday. Really a funny story behind the whole ordeal.
Arkansas Resident here:
Yes we are a backwoods state, that spawned the Clinton monster. We are sorry, we had to get him outta here before he had everyone killed.
We’re very rural, with pockets of transplanted yuppie slime in Spring Dale and west little Rock.
Our government is so corrupt, we even wonder how people keep getting reelected.
Hot Springs is a meth’d up Branson.
Petit Jean bacon is a local thing,
Vinos brew pub in little rock ( Google it) is a hidden gem.
Is there still a Krystals in West Memphis?
Yes. We even have a Chick-fil-A now.