foolishness miscellaneous

The Art of Stating Boundaries

September 29, 2010


Sometimes you HAVE TO divide the pie.

It’s no secret that I’m easily consumed in any and everything that distracts me from work. Not that I don’t ever get work done, I’m just often distracted from tasks at hand when something interesting or entertaining catches my attention. I don’t purposefully procrastinate, such things find ME. While sometimes I believe my attention span is shorter than the average adult (I won’t go as far as to say it’s ADHD), but clearly I’m only easily distracted from certain tasks, and completely focused on others.

Prime example: Yesterday I was conversing with my 2520 labmates about southern rap. (See? Not all researchers are boring. We keep it real). I can’t remember exactly how we got on this topic but we started talking about the differences in southern rap—particularly rap from Texas versus other areas in the “dirty south”. This then led to the discussion on whether or not Texas was a “southern” state. Obviously it’s southern geographically, but culturally speaking people think of it separate from southern states that were part of the Confederacy (ugh, I here I go talking about it again!). I posed the question on twitter. Somehow, the validity of Texas as a “down south” state brought up tons of questions about other states’ eligibility in their respective regions. And the entire idea of a “mid west” seemed completely lost on many people—myself included—and we just couldn’t make sense or agree to the placing of states in region as they’re currently set up. The debate got quite interesting and lots of people were weighing in. And just for shiggles, below are some of my favorite comments

@GemoftheOcean now I look at VA with a lil side-eye. I don’t think Texas is “dirty south” rap but it is a type of Southern rap.

@GemoftheOcean @OG_Humble_One @miss_tlee TX is almost literally its tourism slogan, like a whole other country. Its personality stands out

@GemoftheOcean i dont think its very southern either and i lived there for +10yrs. why they wanna be southern-like — beats me!!!

@GemoftheOcean the Stanky leg came from Dallas. #caseclosed

@GemoftheOcean @miss_tlee @ManAboutIt I think the Midwest is the most ambiguous region. Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, (cont)

responses to my wanting to cut out WV (and burying it in the Appalachians) & ppl offering to sacrifice other states as well…

@GemoftheOcean but if u take out WV you’d have to take out Kentucky. It’s a slippery slope.

@GemoftheOcean Haha ok split PA right down the middle and for goodness sake get rid of Harrisburg. We’ll have PA and West-PA

So, being the person I am, I became obsessed with making regions so took on the task of re-naming the regions and assigning states to them to make geographical sense. I mean, there had to be some systematic, sensible way to divide the region into regions without a lot of confusion! Why didn’t anyone else think of this?! Sheesh. And because the idea of people being confused on something as significant as regional categorization, I had the urge to work relentlessly on re-regioning the united states. I consulted both my #twitterfam and my labmates on this  very controversial and tricky issue. Many people thought the big states should be split to reflect their complex nature—i.e. SoCal vs NoCal, Philly vs Pittsburgh, NYC vs upstate NY, Houston vs the rest of Texas, Texas vs the rest of the nation, etc. That’s too much work and I didn’t think it mattered much on a strictly geographic location premise (perhaps later I’ll expand beyond that). But for now, I considered states in their entirety (no splitting!), though I do recognize the cultural/industrial/economic duality of some states.

Here’s what I came up with:

Western Region: CA, NV, OR, WA
Rocky Mountain Region: CO, ID, MT, WY, UT
Southwestern Region: AZ, NM, TX (also to be known as Little Mexico)
Midwestern Region: AR, IA, KS, MO, NE, ND, OK, SD
Great Lakes Region: IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI
Appalachian Mountain Region: KY, PA, TN, WV
Eastern Region: CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NJ, NY, RI, VA, VT
Southeastern Region: AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC
**Since HI is in Polynesia and AK is part Canadian/ Russian, they’re ignored here. **

Now, I know some people might have an issue about Pennsylvania and NY, and say that Tennessee and Virginia should be included in the “southern region”. But remember, this more about geography than culture and our colonial past. And quite frankly, Virginia just isn’t part of the southernmost part of the US! VA is smack dead in the middle of the eastern coast (hence why it’s part of the “eastern region”). I won’t go into intricate detail about how I made my decisions for each of the regions–though feel free to ask in the comment section–but I broke things up (or is it down?), based mostly (note the emphasis) on major geographic landmarks—such as the great lakes, mountain ranges, and coastal regions. And as much as I hated to use the term “midwest” (because it’s a stupid term that is vague and somewhat inappropriately used) but it was the only thing I could think of other than saying “Great Plains region,” since the GPs don’t extend into Iowa, Missouri, or Arkansas. Oh well, *shrugs*.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my new regional setup? If you had to make any changes, what would yours be? What’s a better term to use for the region known as “midwest”? And most importantly, should we let Texas secede from the union and become the separate nation it desperately wants to be?

Happily dividing the united states,
~Gem of the Appalachian Region (…by way of the Western & Southeastern Regions)

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  • Reply MsEsquire77 September 29, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    I think Tennessee should definitely be in the Southern region but other than that your map is one point. Although I think it’s hilarious that THIS is the type of stuff that gets you distracted! However, as I’m currently commenting on blogs instead of scheduling client visits I can’t really pull out my soap box…

    • Reply Gem of the Ocean September 30, 2010 at 12:49 am

      LOL girl TN is in appalachia where it belongs!

      and yes, this is the type of RANDOMNESS that gets me caught up. has it really improved the quality of my life or others? maybe. has it set me back in phd-completion time?? absolutely. *smdh*

  • Reply Gem of the Ocean September 30, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    so, as an FYI to anyone who might be reading, some one made a good case for why AR should be part of the south and not the midwest (a term i HATE btw). i agree. yay for democracy!

  • Reply nicknotnikki October 7, 2010 at 1:21 am

    I actually call the Midwest “all them square states”.. I think they’d prefer to be called the midwest…

  • Reply Gem’s NFL Week 5 “Best Week Ever” Recap « That's What GEM Said October 13, 2010 at 4:34 am

    […] from here on out, I refuse to pick any N. Mexico team to win for the rest of the season. Not even against D Lions. Hmph! […]

  • Reply George April 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks for finally talking about >The Art of Stating Boundaries | That’s What GEM Said <Liked it!

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