TED Conversations

greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement


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How does it feel to live in a "flyover state"?

Some people say life in the U.S. is most exciting on the coasts, East Coast and West Coast, and they jokingly call the other states "the flyover states," meaning they're not too exciting and you just fly over them as you go back and forth between the coasts. For those of you living in "the flyover states," is this a fair characterization? How does it feel to live there? For people on the coasts, is your life more exciting?

For people in other countries, is there a similar division, that life is considered most exciting on the coasts?

I live right on the edge of Los Angeles, and I'm kind of torn. Part of me thinks it's pretty exciting to live anywhere. Another part just loves L.A., feels like it's the only interesting place to live on Earth.


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    Jan 28 2013: You can tell how evoloved people are by how far they have gotten from the ocean.
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      Jan 31 2013: edward, sorry, but I can't tell if you're serious or joking, or both. If serious, how are they more evolved?
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        Jan 31 2013: Not serious and can't believe the question is! Isn't there something inherently arrogant about the question? I guess if you want a serious answer I will say it feels really good to no longer live in soon-to-be-bankrupt California. And New York is having a long run of bad luck which I feel pretty good about not being a part of. All those bi-costal sophisticates are just streaks in my beautiful Arizona sky. Now I'm serious.
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          Feb 1 2013: Sorry, Edward, I didn't mean it to be arrogant, I tried to convey in the headline and text that some people say this but I didn't know if it was deserved. After I posed the question, I realized that another name for inland states is the "heartland," which is quite flattering. Do you think the woes of California and New York have anything to do with being coastal, or is it something else?

          If you're making a point that Arizona and its skies are more beautiful because less cluttered and congested, that's a beautiful thought I hadn't considered.

          Although you were joking, I really wonder if there is something more evolved about the inland places and people? After all, if we first crawled from the oceans and then moved along inland, the people inland would have the longest history on the land.
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        Feb 1 2013: I don't know if you tend toward arrogance and I did not mean to imply you do. It is the question I question. I believe species change over time but I do not, for one second, embrace Darwinism as science. So the idea of gauging development by distance from the ocean was strictly tongue-in-cheek. I think East coast folks are excessively proud of their domain as illustrated by Thomas Dewey who said,"If you are outside of New York City you are camping!" They tend to believe they have a corner on all that is good in America. Now, folks in the Land of Fruits and Nuts, particularly L.A. tend to be pretty sure they have a corner on all the latest and greatest trends, in fact they believe they set all the trends. Very often coastal dwellers are different. . . than everyone.

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