University of Iowa Professor Stephen Bloom wrote an op-ed in The Atlantic earlier this month examining Iowa’s role in shaping the presidential nominating process. Bloom, who is not native to Iowa, now faces criticism for some of the language he used to describe the people of the state:
Those who stay in rural Iowa are often the elderly waiting to die, those too timid (or lacking in educated) to peer around the bend for better opportunities, an assortment of waste-toids and meth addicts with pale skin and rotted teeth, or those who quixotically believe, like Little Orphan Annie, that “The sun’ll come out tomorrow.”… It’s no surprise then, really, that the most popular place for suicide in America isn’t New York or Los Angeles, but the rural Middle, where guns, unemployment, alcoholism and machismo reign.
Sally Mason, president of the university, was among those who disagreed with the piece. The Atlantic published her rebuttal:
I disagree strongly with and was offended by Professor Bloom’s portrayal of Iowa and Iowans. Please know that he does not speak for the University of Iowa. As president of the University, I have the opportunity to travel far and wide across this great state frequently, and the Iowa I see is one of strong, hard-working and creative people. In this cynical world that can harden even the greatest optimist, the citizens of Iowa continue to believe.
According to Inside Higher Ed, Bloom has received some support, but also hate mail. The piece prompted numerous bloggers to condemn his remarks.