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The Examined Life

Purple America

By Joshua Glenn
November 7, 2004

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DO YOU FIND those stark red-blue maps of America alienating and a little frightening? So does Jeff Culver, a Seattle-based graphic designer and brand strategist. "The 'geographical divide' that much of the media has been presenting was really beginning to influence the way I thought about our country," he says in an e-mail. "Divisions may remain deep between individuals, but to slap a red or blue label on a state for any purpose other than counting electoral votes is an incredible misrepresentation of the truth." That's why Culver, who is currently out of work, warmed up his Excel and Photoshop software, downloaded election data from, and created what he calls the "purple map," pictured above, which shows just how red some supposedly blue states are and vice-versa. On Wednesday, he submitted his map to the popular blog, where it remains on view.

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