The USA has NO Official language
<<Could it be that you have your own stereotypes and misconceptions about us Northerners, JohnnyC? ;-) >>
I hope not. I'm one of them! I was born and raised in Toronto, which is pretty far north, but thanks for asking when most people would just flame me!
I most recently heard the phrase "fly-over states" from a woman from San Francisco who was complaining about the Midwest. I guess the irony was that we were on a plane when she made the comment. In my post above I was responding to the poster who commented that: "those batshit insane conservative states are all mostly unpopulated wastelands..." I have mixed feelings about that comment. First, I don't think it's true and I felt like I needed to play the devil's advocate. Also, people reading these posts in other countries, and who will never visit our shores probably already have stereotypes in their minds and I wanted to present a more balanced argument.
On the other hand, I loved the phrase "batshit insane conservative states". We probably all have it in us to paint with broad brush strokes and to stereotype but we should recognize that we're doing it when we do it.
I've heard "fly-over zone" to describe the US interior. Not that esoteric, even if you don't hear it much in casual conversation.
I would say that I even live in it, but sadly, most people forget that my state's even included in the US....(sniff)
Compared to the Northeast corridor (the most developed part of the US), the interior of the US, the Pac NW, and the South are unpopulated. You can drive 10 hours without seeing any sign of human life. What, that's not unpopulated to you? What is, then?
The Rocky Mountains, northern Arizona and New Mexico, East Texas, most of the Deep South, the Appalachians, the Great Lakes, etc., it's all beautiful! It's not "fly over" country. It's less densely populated than the northeast, sure, but ya'll have a good couple hundred years on the rest of us.
<<Compared to the Northeast corridor (the most developed part of the US), the interior of the US, the Pac NW, and the South are unpopulated. You can drive 10 hours without seeing any sign of human life. What, that's not unpopulated to you? What is, then?>>
Guest, you say that as if overpopulation is a good thing. In my humble opinion, it is far from it. I would agree the North East is the most overly developed part of the U.S. We have done a very good job of turning what was once a great verdant forest into a hell hole of cement, glass, and steal beams.
But as far as stating that you can drive for ten hours without seeing any sign of human life, well, I am currently living the least populated state in the country and couldn't drive for an hour or even twenty minutes without seeing another person. I don't think this can even be managed in Death Valley or on the Alaskan Highway. I have lived in a metropolis and I've lived in a town of two thousand. And I've found that I like a nice medium sized city. I don't have to deal with the traffic, the smog, the high crime rate, and if I want to, I can be out touring the countryside in fifteen minutes where I don't need the artifice of a city park to feel close to my ancient arboreal niche. It is very ignorant to think, that in this day in age—with computers, cell phones, the internet, and I-pods— any part of the United States could be out of touch with the mainstream.
From Howl Part II, Allen Ginsberg
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows!
Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long
streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose fac-
tories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose
smokestacks and antennae crown the cities!
Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch
whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch
whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch
whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen!
Moloch whose name is the Mind!
Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream
Angels! Crazy in Moloch! Cocksucker in
Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch!
Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom
I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch
who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy!
Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch!
Light streaming out of the sky!
Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs!
skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic
industries! spectral nations! invincible mad
houses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!
They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pave-
ments, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to
Heaven which exists and is everywhere about
Italian Music in Dakota, Walt Whitman
["The Seventeenth - the finest Regimental Band I ever heard."]
THROUGH the soft evening air enwinding all,
Rocks, woods, fort, cannon, pacing sentries, endless wilds,
In dulcet streams, in flutes' and cornets' notes,
Electric, pensive, turbulent, artificial,
(Yet strangely fitting even here, meanings unknown before,
Subtler than ever, more harmony, as if born here, related here,
Not to the city's fresco'd rooms, not to the audience of the opera
Sounds, echoes, wandering strains, as really here at home,
Sonnambula's innocent love, trios with Norma's anguish,
And thy ecstatic chorus Poliuto;)
Ray'd in the limpid yellow slanting sundown,
Music, Italian music in Dakota.
While Nature, sovereign of this gnarl'd realm,
Lurking in hidden barbaric grim recesses,
Acknowledging rapport however far remov'd,
(As some old root or soil of earth its last-born flower or fruit,)
Listens well pleas'd.
Of course it's beautiful, the nature's the only reason to visit the US, aside from New York City and San Francisco. It's not like there's that much stuff here.
I would actually recommend people who want to visit or study in the US stay away from NYC or San Francisco (and LA for that matter, sorry Bill). They're fun for a day trip or a week long vacation, but that's about it.
I saw this great documentary on TV about a group of British cyclists taking part in a Trans-America cycling run (Race Across America) startling off in San Diego (on the west coast) and ending up in Atlantic City (on the east coast). It was quite a marathon, and they had to cycle for an average of 18 to 20 hours per day, allowing for just 4 or 5 hours of sleep, and only the briefest of rest periods, allowing for natural breaks and stuff. I think the route overall was about 3k miles.
They went through California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. I was either blisteringly hot (in the deserts, with snakes on the roadway! Eeeks!) or bloody freezing (in the Rockies and the Appalachians) but the most amazing thing (apart from the fantastic scenery in the mountains or the awful, boring monotony of the featureless prairies) were these endless miles and miles and miles of lovely dead straight roads - virtually free of any traffic. You could see these roads ahead stretching out to the distant horizon but with no cars or anything on them apart from the cyclists themselves.
What bliss! You'd never go far on ANY British road, even in the Highlands of Scotland, without passing another vehicle.
<<Of course it's beautiful, the nature's the only reason to visit the US, aside from New York City and San Francisco. It's not like there's that much stuff here.>>
The quoted post is obviously a troll and therefore can't be taken seriously. I hope people won't try to respond to the argument.
<< would actually recommend people who want to visit or study in the US stay away from NYC or San Francisco (and LA for that matter, sorry Bill). They're fun for a day trip or a week long vacation, but that's about it.>>
I have to say, ironically, I agree with Skippy's comment about L.A... Los Angeles has become a parody of itself. I'm sure it was cool 50 years ago when Fred, Ethel, Ricky and Lucie were visiting from New York, but today it doesn't feel to me like there's a soul here. I don't get any "vibe" at all. There are some places in the LA area that are appealing but for the most part LA is a sprawling metropolis of run down stucco apartment buildings.
I love NYC and recommend it. Little Italy on Mulberry St. is worth visiting (while it's still there) but to get a real flavor for NY, I'd visit Brooklyn and check out the other borroughs as well.
SF? People seem to either love it or hate it. I'm not a fan of the city. I've been there hundred times on business but never for pleasure. It just seems dreary to me, but most people I know in LA love San Francisco. I've never understood the appeal, but to each their own.