The November issue of Vanity Fair arrived today, with a couple of Tennessee topics. Amid the ads showing sullen-faced young people wearing expensive clothes, writer James Wolcott fires repeated volleys at politicians who claim that red state inhabitants are paragons of virtue while residents of blue states might as well have license tags reading Sodom or Gomorrah.
He then trots out ten sets of lists showing the top states in various onerous categories such as highest incarceration rates, suicide rates, and number of executions. I stopped reading the piece and began flipping through the numbers to see how Tennessee fared.
Actually, not too bad. Tennessee shows up in only three of the ten lists. We are Number 12 with a bullet in the highest rates of death by firearms in 2003, Number Nine in highest divorce rates, and –pass the gravy–Number Four in rates of obesity.
Once again, everyone in Tennessee should thank God for Mississippi, which shows up on six lists, and heads two of them–highest rate of female incarceration and of highest rate of obesity.
Cue Elvis singing “Mean Woman Blues.”