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Iowa Heartlanders 23

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Posted 2022 March 5

Heartland is one of those vague terms where everyone knows what it means, except that nobody knows quite what it means. We're all certain that it refers to the central portion of the United States, and it carries the implication that the people who live there represent the very quintessence of America, except of course that the people who live there would never use a pretentious word like quintessence. Then again, that "represent the very quintessence" part doesn't count for much. You can go pretty much anywhere in the United States, and the people who live there will probably tell you that they represent the very quintessence of America. Some of them might even use that word while telling you that. Also—

I'm getting off track. Let me back up a bit.

The point I'm getting at is that no one's really sure what the boundaries are. Again, this true for most parts of the country — I've lost track of the number of times I've seen people discuss whether Maryland is part of the South, for example. But I was curious, so I tried to look it up. The results were less than helpful. One map I found showed what the readers of the New York Times thought the Heartland is, which strikes me as roughly equivalent to asking a bunch of white men in their 60s to explain hip-hop to you. Wikipedia says it's usually seen as either the Midwest (itself not the most firmly defined term) or the part of the country that doesn't touch an ocean; this isn't very helpful, either. One explanation actually included my home state of North Carolina; not once in all the decades I've been living here have I ever heard anyone here call North Carolina part of the Heartland.

I also saw descriptions that said it was basically the states that touch the Mississippi River, the states near the geographic center of the Lower 48, and the Great Plains area. Oh, and I also saw a shit-ton of stuff about the TV show Heartland. I'd say a metric shit-ton, but I'm fairly certain people in the Heartland, wherever it is, will have no truck with the metric system.

In any case, there were only a handful of states that met every definition, but wouldn't you know it, Iowa was one of those states. So at the very least, I can say with confidence that Iowa is part of the Heartland.

Having established where the Heartland is, we now move on to the next question, which is what a Heartlander looks like. The first thought that comes to mind is the painting American Gothic, but that's probably a bit stereotyped (although in my defense, it was painted in Iowa). The team gets around this by drawing a deer. Or should I say a hart? I'm not sure if this was a deliberate visual pun or not, but deliberate or not the visual pun does exist. I hope it was deliberate, because if so then the use of a deer was actually kind of clever rather than just random. It's a good depiction of a deer, too: stylized but not cartoony, with an expression that somehow manages to be intimidating without being aggressive. According to the team, the deer was chosen to be the representation of the team in the logo because it "captures the essence of the strength, determination, and work ethic of Iowa". I'm not sure deer actually represent these things — in my experience they're rather twitchy beasts — but this drawing definitely conveys these things.

And incidentally, notice the wording in that quote. Captures the essence of the strength, determination, and work ethic of Iowa. Essence, not quintessence. I told you people in the Heartland would never use a word like quintessence.

Final Score: 7 points.
Penalties: Region (egregious), 5 pts; Irrelevance (half-penalty), 7 pts.
Bonuses: Cool-Logo, -5 pts.

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