On August 8th, The New York Times popular political columnist Maureen Dowd managed to insult the state of Tennessee and everyone in it while taking yet another potshot at the much-maligned former Veep Al Gore. Clearly, Ms. Dowd, who would never be condescending, was merely indulging herself in the use of a common, if terribly misinformed, American stereotype, in which all Southerners are believed to be shoeless, toothless, moonshine-swilling hillbillies married to their cousins. She called Tennessee a God-forsaken place, where [the people] wouldn t know a metaphor from a two-by-four. Of course, most residents of this noble, nearly paradisiacal agrarian state, where everyone lives close to the soil and at one with nature, knows perfectly well that a two-by-four is a good inch thicker.


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