Thursday, January 25, 2018
The 38 States of America
I was given the book Strange Maps, which has been moderately fun. About halfway through, this one shows up. It is an excellent example of an idea that looks crazy at first, but becomes more sensible as you look at it. It's never going to happen, of course, and the geographer C Etzel Pearcy who thought this up knew that from the start. Too many practical difficulties with changing even small amounts of disputed territory, as the residents of New Hampshire and Maine know from the Portsmouth Shipyard controversy. (Commenter Granite Dad is still exercised about this.)
The emotional attachments would escalate from mast protests to shooting wars in a hundred places. Grand Rapids may be happy to shove Detroit off, but they get Chicago, which I think they might hate more. I don't know if the renaming would reduce arguments or increase them. I might be okay with being part of the State of Kennebec, but I wouldn't be getting that choice, because I'd be on the outer border of the Commonwealth of Plymouth, which I don't like. Happy to see Massachusetts cut in half, though. Does Texas care all that much about the panhandle?
Still, Pearcy had good arguments for why he drew the lines where, and as near as I can tell from the places I know well, they make some cultural sense. Pearcy tried hard not to divide up metropolitan areas, drawing the lines through less-populated places. In New England, that means a line from Foxwoods to Laconia, then SSE to the ocean between Portland and Portsmouth. Connecticut and Western Mass become part of a state centered on NYC - which they pretty much are anyway. Maine, Vermont, and the rest of New Hampshire had more cultural unity in 1973 when this came out, but I think it could still be found. Adding in that bit of Upstate NY around Plattsburg makes sense.
I can't tell where Lexington KY and Williamsburg VA are ending up. Again, less of an issue in 1973, more so now.
Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at 10:47 AM