Husker bashing seems to come around once a year as
Nebraskans head to another bowl game. This year, of
course, the Rose Bowl has drawn extra criticism
especially from West Coast writers and particularly
from LA Times columnist TJ Simers.
Simers seems intent on getting some kind of
publicity anyway he can and riled fans with his
comment of the Rose Bowl RV park becoming a Hick Haven
and plans putting on his best overalls to greet
Cornhusker fans and helping them meet Bob Barker.
Well, UNL Journalism prof Joe Starita mailed TJ
- - -
Dadgummit, TJ. Was fixin to get this to you
sooner, good buddy, but the Pony Express just
thundered past our soddy, the dern turkey feather
quill up and busted on me last night, the little lady
got bit by a badger in the root cellar this morning
and then ol Merle stopped by no more than a few
minutes ago to see if Id help him slop down a fresh
load of Yorkshire sowbellies.
So you can see its been a tad bid hectic out here
in Hick Heaven, but I figure I otta send out a few
things you must notta had enuf room for in your fine
column on Nebraska.
Shucks, TJ, yall dont need to roll out no red
carpet on our account. We been survivin out here in
the middle of nowhere for 150 years now. Raisin one
fourth of the nations beef supply. Growin enuf corn
and wheat to feed our fellow Americans . . . rearin
kids who rank sixth nationally on them fancy
standardized tests. Producin the countrys cheapest
electricity . . . breathin heaps of fresh air all year
round and going about our business amid one of the
nations lowest crime rates.
Dang it TJ, Im dyin if Im lyin but I heard all
them media reports one night when we was huddled
around the family radio.
All that stuff about rolling blackouts, inversion
layers, race riots. But I didnt pay it no heed. You
know how all those media folks are shallow,
superficial, forever trafficking in cheap stereotypes,
insufferable in their moral superiority, content to
sit in an air-conditioned office 10 floors above
reality and smugly pass judgment on people theyve
never met and places theyve never been.
You know the type. But thank the Lord youre not
one of them, so I reckon Im just kinda preachin to the
choir here for sure.
And I'm sure glad you mentioned Crazy Horse in your
column. I just kinda read between the lines and more
or less instantly grasped your profound sense of the
famed chief and how revered he is among the Lakota.
How in his last moments he refused an Army cot because
he wanted to die on the land of his people -- a people
whose culture and history he had given his life to
defend because -- as he once told them -- a people
without a history is like wind on the buffalo grass.
Well, I most surely must apologize now, TJ, for I can
only image how shamefully trite this must sound within
the context of your own peoples long, storied history
and stable, well-grounded culture.
And did I say how indebted I am that you mentioned
Johnny Carson? Hes a real nice feller and as you know
hails from Norfolk -- a small town in northeast
But Im bettin ya just didnt have room to mention
the $2 million he gave for a regional cancer treatment
center, the $1 million to the local community college
and the $600,000 for the new high school theater. Talk
about a big-time hick! Well, heres Johnny, a quaint
retro relic who believes in giving back to the people
and culture that nourished him. You no doubt have done
the same for years so Im as we like to say out here
probably beatin a dead horse.
Hey Uncle Burt wants me to ask you something: What
were you doin last April 1? No joke, really. Because
thats the day Navy Lt. Shane Osborn jerked his huge
reconnaissance plane out of an 8,000 foot free fall
saving the lives of 24 crewmembers after they collided
with a Chinese fighter.
Sorry to interrupt again, but cousin Howie just
butted in and said thats probably the same day you
were conflicted over ordering tofu with or without
bean sprouts and whether to eat it before or after
your manicure, seaweed wrap and high colonic. But like
I said, Howies ornery, so pay him no mind. I shooed
him away by saying it takes a lot of guts, a different
kind of bravery and valor to do what you do.
At any rate Lt. Osborn is from Norfolk and they
had one heck of a parade, a real cornball, Hick Haven
special, when he returned safely home.
Well, TJ, ol Merle just rumbled up with that last
load of hogs I was tellin you about . . . Oh wait a
minute please. Its Aunt Tillie again.
Gee, I really dont know how to say this, but
guldarnit . . . Could you really get four tickets to
the Price Is Right?