< Back to front page Text size +

Rebranding Alaska

Posted by Christopher Shea  January 27, 2009 05:05 PM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Alaska, from the perspective of politicians with national aspirations, has an image problem: John McPhee's "Coming into the Country" is just one of many journalistic and historical accounts that portray the state as a place apart, psychologically as well as geographically, a destination for Americans who wanted off the grid long before "going off the grid" hit the lexicon. Right-wing anti-government dead-enders, crunchy back-to-the-landers who pluck salmon from the streams with their bare hands, Main Streeters disdainful of "the lower 48" (recall that Sarah Palin's husband was for a while a member of a secessionist group, and that Palin herself fulsomely addressed said group). Then there's that culture of political malfeasance, ex-U.S. Senator Ted Stevens barely deigning to acknowledge his conviction on corruption-related charges last fall. All in all, a tough sell, marketing-wise, as an outpost of the American heartland. (Never mind that quasi-socialist system of distributing oil profits.)

All of which might explain why Sarah Palin is repositioning herself as she looks to the future -- and, more to the point, repositioning Alaska. A striking graphic on the Web site of the erstwhile VP candidate's Political Action Committee (SarahPAC, natch) places the largest American state -- in terms of land mass -- roughly where Oklahoma, Kansas, and Eastern Colorado belong.

An outpost of the heartland? Why aim so low? Now Alaska is the heartland. (And notice she didn't dare mess with Texas.)

What's the matter with Kansas?

H/t Troy Schneider

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


Browse this blog

by category