America and the Tranquility of the Midwest

Middle America is flyover country — real life takes place in the east and west. But Marcel Kloosterman believes that life is quite worth living in the Midwest.

“You’re from Nebraska, right? You are allowed to leave Nebraska,” Steve Colbert advised Alexander Payne in his popular satirical program “The Colbert Report.” Their conversation centered on the much-lauded road movie “Nebraska,” directed by Payne, which showcases the splendid farmland of that state in its full glory. But those images appear not to have lasted.

Flyover Country

Colbert’s attitude matches the negative impression of the Midwest that exists in America. States such as Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and the Dakotas — situated in the heartland of America — get the worst of it. Together with Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota and Missouri, they form the Midwest of America or, as many Americans elsewhere refer to it, flyover country. Nothing to see except prairies and cornfields, populated by conservative and religious rednecks. The word “boring” is applied noticeably often to the Midwest. For a real show, you need to either be on the East or the West Coast. The area in between exists simply to fly over.

Save the Good Life

Still, life in this cursed region is not so bad. There is little crime, the houses are relatively affordable, and unemployment figures are low. You can find peace and quiet here, and the people are generally friendly and reasonably affluent, and feel safe. In Nebraska, they talk about “the good life” — it can even be seen on the state welcome signs, and as the state tourism commission has discovered, that declaration should not be messed with. They wanted to unveil a more modern state slogan by May 1, 2014, in the hopes of attracting more tourists.


But that was easier said than done. For a time, the peace in Nebraska was rudely disrupted. Angry reactions were posted on Facebook and Twitter. “Save the good life” was the clear message; the slogan had to stay. Eventually, the whole plan was abandoned. The euphoric caption, “The people have spoken, and ‘the good life’ has been saved,” appeared in a local newspaper. You see, besides tranquility and the good life, people here appreciate certainty, and so, everything remained as before. It might not be as spectacular as Hollywood or New York City, but you’ll always know what to expect in the Midwest.

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