“Don’t worry, we’re not going to actually read this. We honestly don’t care.”
~Current residents of California
At this point, there’s not much more we can do to prepare you for this segment. If you’ve been reading from the beginning of the series, you know that we’re going through every state to list their most American quality. If you don’t know we’re doing that, hi there, sort of weird that you found this page after googling “Blake Lively Bestiality Sex Video” and you might want to talk to a professional about that particular fetish, but otherwise you can go back to the beginning of this series by clicking here. Or you can just keep reading as we list the 31st through the 35th state to join this fine Union. Starting with…
CALIFORNIA: Admitted on September 9th, 1850
California is the most populous state in the nation (by quite a wide margin), the third largest state by landmass, and the one most likely to break off and drift into the ocean to chill with Australia. It’s a state that was built on gold, and has been the central hub of the American entertainment industry ever since producers realized they could avoid paying Thomas Edison royalties if they just got as far away from him as possible. If California were a country, it’s GDP in 2011 would have made it the 12th largest economy in the world, which is one polite way to say, “Ha, suck it Spain! You’re next, Canada!”
Of course, at its very heart, California acts as a perfect microcosm of America. There are hippies, movie stars, Hispanic gangs, black gangs, gays, conservatives, and a whole mess of confused cowboys that call California there home. You can go to Redwood forests, warm beaches, ski slopes covered in snow, or even the goddamn desert all by driving just a few hours from a central location. It’s a state where you can find nude bikers in San Francisco screaming to the heavens at how conceited and artificial the people of Los Angeles are, and where the residents of Los Angeles respond by pointing out that they weren’t really listening, since it’s only 1PM and they haven’t had their chai latte and line of coke taken off their dashboard yet. Every aspect and sub-demographic of America can be found there, from fast food aficionados craving an In-N-Out Burger to health food aficionados that are doing life wrong. And with the American notion of “offering false hopes and dreams to naïve young adults who, let’s face it, are probably going to end up doing at least a few dozen pornos to make end’s meat,” you can find representatives of every state within the confines of California. Well, except for Texans. Texans wouldn’t be caught dead in California, even if it is the ideal place to jack it.
MINNESOTA: Admitted on May 11th, 1858
When we think of Minnesota, we think of lakes, football, and Prince. But no matter how much canoeing you do, or how many boat sex parties your professional sports teams have, in our hearts we will always view Minnesota in one awestruck way.
As the birthplace and home of SPAM.
Yes that’s right, everyone’s favorite brick of mysterious salt meat hails from the same state that brings us the vast majority of our Olympic curling team. Not content to simply raise our nitrates to Americanly dangerous levels, Minnesota embraces SPAM the same way Maine embraces Lobsters, or New York embraces their own sense of self-worth. There is the SPAM museum, which literally calls itself the “Eight Wonder of the World” while imploring you to join them for a “meat-packed day of fun.” Their state fair sets up something called “Spamville.” Hell, they even have a SPAM festival called “SPAM Jam” which conjures up one of the most unsettling culinary mental images we’ve had in a while.
These guys like their SPAM, is what we’re getting at. And we like them for it.
OREGON: Admitted on February 14th, 1859
Oregon is home to the TV show Portlandia, is the nation’s second leading producer of hops, and is weirdly into their football team. But one thing that we truly love about Oregon is how much they love killing trees. They had a series of fires that raged so strongly that it lasted for 18 years, and while some people (cough, Europeans, cough) would say such wanton destruction of green life is tragic, the proper American response is to say, “Fuck nature.”
While Oregon enjoyed spending a few decades watching Nature nature itself right in the nature (we may or may not have recently lost our office’s only Thesaurus) they also expedited the process by making sure to cut down as many trees as they possibly could. For a while. As in, their first sawmill opened up thirty years before they even became a state. At their peak, they were cutting down nine billion board feet of lumber on any given year. Now if you were to say, “AFFotD, what the hell is board feet? That sounds like something you read in some research paper and quoted as gospel so it’d look like you weren’t reaching to say something other than ‘Oregon does everything Washington does, just on a slightly smaller scale’ or ‘Oregon is perfect for those who aimed for Seattle and missed’” and to them we’d say…well, yeah, pretty much, but that doesn’t mean we can’t salute Oregon for sticking it to nature by killing such a mindbogglingly large amount of their trees in a manner many of us can only dream of. And hey, buck up Oregon. You’re consistently one of the top tree-killers in the nation, you’re the state with the third largest amount of wineries, and you’re the third biggest craft beer producer in the nation. You’re doing all right for yourself, even if Portland is stuck in the 1990’s.
KANSAS: Admitted on January 29th, 1861
Kansas, as a state, conjures up visions of vast stretches of wheat, as far as the eye can see. For many foreigners, this is the definitive view of Middle of America (foreigners in this case means “New Yorkers”). And people under the age of 30 who played Guitar Hero might recognize the state as being responsible for that song Carry On My Wayward Son, while homosexuals who lived through the 1980’s might snicker and say that they know Kansas because they’re friends of Dorothy.
But we’re going to piss off Kansans by saying that our favorite thing about the state is that Superman grew up there.
Yes, that’s right, Kansas’ day in the sun is coming because of the arbitrary association between a fictional town and the indestructible superhero who once fought Hitler and did the exact opposite of fighting racism towards Japanese people at the same time. But that’s because Superman is more American than you can possibly imagine—he projects our hard-fought belief that we’re going to live forever and indulges the shit out of us, because as Americans we don’t like to be told we’re wrong. He also is a dick but that’s just an unrelated fact that we like to point out.
But he still remains to this day our nation’s most iconic superhero, who happens to utilize red, white and blue. Oh, and the writers of Superman once exposed the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan in a radio special that greatly diminished the group’s capacities. So, good job fictionally raising Superman, Kansas, that was pretty solid of you guys.
WEST VIRGINIA: Admitted on June 20th, 1863
West Virginia now tends to get a reputation as the default location of America’s redneck population, and MTV isn’t really doing much to help change that perception. But we’re not here to make cheap digs about Rednecks. After Jeff Foxworthy, there was nothing left to teach.
Instead, we appreciate West Virginia for how they joined the nation.
When delegates from the northwestern counties of Virginia that now form West Virginia met with the rest of Virginia’s representatives to vote for Virginia to secede from the United States, West Virginia’s delegates voted 30-17 against leaving America, knowing that America is, well, America, and that leaving America because Abraham Lincoln was made president would be like divorcing Kate Upton because she bought a dress that you weren’t crazy about. When Virginia went ahead and succeeded anyway, probably while shouting “We don’t need your historically significant logging and coal mining industries,” which is a weird non sequitur to toss out there during a political vote, West Virginia staged a series of Wheeling Conventions before eventually holding a popular vote where 18,408 people voted in favor of creating a new state, while 781 voted against. So essentially, when Virginia decided to leave America, West Virginians banded together, thrust their hands into the face of Virginia, and said, “Fyuck you! We’re staying!”
And we thank you for that, West Virginia. We really do.
With that, we continue our slow inexorable march towards the end of this series. As we stand with only fifteen states remaining, we find ourselves much like those people who started collecting quarters when they started making a different one for each state. After 35, we’re sort of ready to be done, but we’ve made it this far so we might as well do our due diligence.
Until next time, keep on staying American, American states.