Friday, September 26, 2008

The United States of Mind

I just love it when other people's painstakingly conducted research confirms my gut feelings, sneaking suspicions, and ill-informed observations.

The other day, The Wall Street Journal published an article entitled "The United States of Mind." Haven't you ever felt like a certain state just had a certain kind of vibe? Or that all the people from [state] are just a certain way? This article quantified those kinds of general impressions and turned them into a nifty, color-coded map for our judgment-making convenience.

I love Oregon. I really do. I grew up there, so of course that has a lot to do with it. When asked what it is I like about Oregon, though, there's not a lot I can say. I like the greenery, I like the proximity of both the mountains and the beach, and I even like the weather. But those are all boring, non-dynamic physical attributes. What I really want to be able to say is that I love Oregon because of what it is, or rather, what its people make it.

Thanks to this new research, I think I can safely say that I love Oregon because it is introverted, agreeable, moderately neurotic, and open.

You know where else I really enjoyed living? Vermont. And take a look at its stats, specifically how it compares with Oregon:

When we were in Vermont, I could tell there was some intangible quality that made Vermont and Oregon similar, beyond all the greenery and recycling weirdos. And now my suspicions are proved correct.

And I always knew there was just something about Arizona that I wouldn't be able to get over, even if I did manage to fall in love with rock yards and unkempt transients hanging around everywhere:

Compared with the kind of state that I love, Arizona is slightly too extroverted, not agreeable enough, way too conscientious, and not very open.

Finally, a way to put the feeling of "I just don't really like it here" into words.

How about your states?


Lark said...

Don't move to Nevada. I checked out the article and it confirmed my feelings on Nevada as well. What is so funny is the quote from the Vegas mayor saying he was surprised that the state wasn't ranked higher in one category (sorry I can't remember which one). He felt like we were nice to tourists because they would give us bigger tips. Idiot.

Fromagette said...

Maybe that's why I want to stay on the west coast. California and Washington (where I have the closest ties) were very similar.

Liz Johnson said...

None of my states are really the same and it's kinda freaking me out. I like Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Maryland, Ohio, and Georgia. I can't find a consistent theme. Weird mix, no?

Susanne said...

So, you tend to like introverted, open states very well, but how does that compare with the other places you have lived especially Damascus and Jordan? For some reason I think of the Damascenes as more tradition-bound and somewhat extroverted in the sense that they seem very hospitable and love talking with foreigners. Or is that a wrong assumption on my part? Maybe you prefer one thing in foreign countries and another thing in the States?

Just got to thinking about that after reading this post. I really enjoy "states stuff" like this ... oh, accent talk, too! :-)

Bridget said...

Susanne, foreign countries get a totally different judging system from me. I don't know why; they just do.

Your assessment of Syrians sounds pretty accurate to me, though of course there are exceptions.


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