Henry Grabar is a staff writer for Slate’s Moneybox and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
Reddit's hilarious answers to this question: If the U.S. were a high school, who would your state be?
Sometimes, the hive mind just does it better.
This weekend, thousands of Redditors brainstormed an exciting new method of stereotyping American regional identity. If the U.S. were a high school, which states would fulfill which high school stereotypes?
A few of the top answers:
Oregon, by DVDAmoog: "Oregon is that white dude with dreadlocks."
Washington by GoopyCheese: "Washington would be that awesome kid who's cool enough to roll with the cool kids, but not too cool to hangout with the weird kids."
Alaska, by JoeTromboni: "Alaska is the fat kid with a beard who wears flannel, and gets A's in shop class."
Rhode Island, in three parts:
Connecticut, by Krewton911: "Connecticut is the rich kid who wears pastel shirts and shorts, mid calves, and plays lacrosse."
Puerto Rico, by tyzik: "Puerto Rico is the kid that doesn't even go to the school, but is always hanging out in the parking lot."
Louisiana, by jetpacksforall: "Louisiana is that crazy kid you made the mistake of hanging out with that one time. You stole a boat, made out with his sister and wound up walking back to town the next day at noon. Everyone knows hanging out with Louisiana will eventually get you arrested or killed."
Montana, by blazerboy3000: "Montana is that massive kid on the football team who looks scary, but is actually nice."
And, finally, a narrative answer for Kansas, by shaggyzon4:
"Kansas. On the first day of class, Kansas picks a seat somewhere in the middle of the room. Kansas is a rather quiet student, very average. Sometimes, Kansas gets the right answer when the teacher calls on him. Sometimes, Kansas gets the wrong answer.
Then, the topic of evolution comes up in science class. And Kansas stands up in the middle of class and yells "BULLSHIT!" at the top of his lungs. Then he sits back down, arms crossed over his chest, glowering at the teacher.
The next day, Kansas acts like nothing happened. He doesn't talk about the incident unless someone brings it up first. He's still cool, but all the kids think he's a little weird.
That's us. Kansas. The quiet, ultra-conservative kid who tries to get along most of the time, but just snaps every so often..."
And there are plenty more narrative scenarios where that came from.
Could you see all these people sitting in social studies together? If it were a sitcom, would you watch? And could we do the same for U.S. (or international) cities?
Top image: Electronic Superhighway, Nam June Paik, at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington D.C. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.