John Rector you’ll have to answer to us!

March 4th, 2011

John Rector is the author of a book called The Grove, among others. He hails from Denver but was recently quoted in an article about authors in the Omaha World Herald. The authors were either from Nebraska, had set their novels in Nebraska, or both.

John Rector

John Rector, author and Omaha resident

John decided to set his novel in Omaha. He even decided to move here at some point. Needless to say his quote in the World Herald came as a bit of a shock. He said:

“As an outsider coming to Nebraska, it’s a pretty grim state, especially in winter.” The big dome sky, the flatness, the fact that it’s gray so much of the year. “It’s kind of easy to imagine grim characters and grim plots in such a desolate state.”

What did we do to deserve that? Has he ever been to upstate New York in the winter? We’re working so hard here to let the rest of the world know that we’re a much cooler place than you’d think and then this public figure makes a public declaration about our grimness. Not helping!

After reading this article I became so incensed that I e-mailed the author to share my opinion of his recent PR foray. His response was admirable if not compassionate:

“Aren’t different perspectives a wonderful thing?  Imagine how dull life would be if we all saw the world the same way?”

Kind of a cop out in my opinion. I can only hope that his fame matches his ability to accurately convey Nebraska. Then at least the collateral damage would be minimal.

I fail to understand why people of note often feel a need to knock Nebraska when it comes up in the course of conversation. Recently a national news program reported that Nebraska had come in number one in a poll for happiest places in Nebraska – financially speaking. What an enormous honor. The perfectly coifed and elegantly attired reporter felt a need to speculate on why that might be. Her speculation went something like this:

“I would guess that Nebraska is such a mundane place that people don’t expect much so the fluctuation with the economy would not cause them any hardship because that’s all they know.”

Really? You call yourself a news reporter?

Come on people! Either do your homework and comment fairly or leave us the hell alone!