US Dopers: Tell me about Indiana.

So, the eyes of the nation and the world turn to Indiana as the Democratic primary process marches on (staggers? crashes? whatever).

And, searching my memory banks, I’m drawing a blank.

Lots of US states, I can find on the map. (e.g. - “Florida is America’s penis” - a gem contributed by some now-unremembered Doper in a thread a long time ago. North Dakota: Saskatchewan’s basement. And so on.)

Others, I can remember notable things about them:

  • Connecticut: the Connecticut Compromise.
  • Illinois: Land o’Lincoln, Chicago hot dogs and corruption.
  • Massachusetts: the Tea Party.

I won’t bore you with the list.

But Indiana? Zip. About all the ol’memory banks can dredge up is something about Hoosiers and Dan Quayle.

So tell me, Dopers, is it me, or is that the best that Indiana has contributed to the American polity? And where the hell is it, anyway - near Illinois or something?

Or, as Brain Glutton put it more pithily:

Well, you know it all already, as evidenced by your list. You did forget corn, and corn and more corn, only occasionally enlivened by some soybeans. It’s called the Hoosier state, as in “hoosier your mama?” Just kidding–no one knows what in hell a Hoosier is. Hoosiers tend to drive badly, but this is likely confirmation bias on my part.

IN is right next to IL(to the east) and about 10 miles away from me. I never go there (well, willingly). Here’s some snark: northwest IN is full of ex-Chicagoans who were in full white flight. They commute to Chicago to make real money (I know nurses who “commute” from as far away as South Bend). IN is known to have an active KKK segment (sorry, no cite. I did just read this mentioned somewhere here, but I had heard it before).

IN has not a had a high profile in national events–Dan Quayle was the high point of the last 20 years or so… Completely irrelevant anecdote: I met Marilyn Quayle at an event sponsored by my husband’s former employer way back when. The announcer got carried away and introduced them as “the next President and first lady of the United States of America!”. Typical Hoosier hot air. :stuck_out_tongue:

Oh, and IN is also known for not knowing what time it is. The debate to change to a uniform time still rages, especially in southern IN. Put it to you this way: would you want people who do not know what time it is to be making longreaching political decisions? I rest my case.

Indianapolis, its capital, seemed like a nice city when I went through it on a greyhound bus about five years ago, but the rest of the state was rather bleak looking and pretty unattractive. Besides that, it being home of the Indianapolis 500, being able to name a few of its more prominent cities, and it being one of the states bisected by the Eastern and Central Time Zones, I couldn’t really tell you much, myself.

The Kokomo in Indiana is the one the Beach Boys sang about, right?

The time zone problem is a bit stupid, but I don’t think I can blame the border residents who lived in areas that, for decades, informally put themselves in the time zone of their larger over-the-border neighbors. The adoption of DST effectively split portions of larger metropolitan areas that happened to be in two states simultaneously. Really, Indiana outside of the metro Indy area seems to mostly consist of suburbs to cities in other states and/or farms.

So, notable things about Indiana (and I’ll try to keep snarkiness to a minimum, though I’m often not too thrilled with living here):

  • sports: home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy 500; very big on basketball (HS and college levels), pretty big in most amateur sports; pretty decent American football team at the moment.

  • politics: Home of a single President, Benjamin Harrison. Home to current Senators Dick Lugar (whom I usually see touted as one of the “good” Republicans, especially concerning foreign relations matters), and Evan Bayh (moderate Democrat who’s often touted as being a possible presidential candidate). Yeah, there’s the Dan Quayle thing, too.

  • music: The state that brought forth the Jackson clan. Take that for what you will. Home of Babyface, John Mellencamp. And… uh… others, I’m sure. One oddity-- the outdoor amphitheater in Noblesville, Deer Creek Music Center (or, as it is currently known, the Verizon Wireless M.C.), has been a noted favorite venue for many performers, and was Jerry Garcia’s favorite overall.

  • literature: Home of the late, great Kurt Vonnegut. And other authors. But, yeah, Vonnegut. (There’s also local pride in the poet James Whitcomb Riley, though I find that anyone outside of Indiana who even knows who he is just kind of rolls their eyes. Very folksy stuff.) Did I mention Kurt Vonnegut?

  • misc.: Big in pharmaceuticals (home to Eli Lilly, former home to Miles, lots of biomedical companies, etc.). The state relies heavily on manufacturing, moreso than any other state in the US. An unusually good selection of universities (IU, Purdue, Ball State, Rose Hulman, Notre Dame). Great access to national transportation (lots of railroads, major interstates, etc.), which is both cause and effect of the heavy presence of manufacturing and industry.

  • lurid tidbits: The KKK presence is still apparently around, though I’ve had no run-in with any members for a decade or so. (The KKK isn’t a single organization anymore, and one regional KKK group was/is apparently HQed here). The KKK pretty much controlled Indiana in the 1920s, though they quickly lost power thanks to the gruesome D.C. Stephenson case-- a Grand Dragon who raped and murdered Madge Oberholtzer. In the 1960s, Indianapolis was also the site of the notorious murder of Sylvia Likens, recently turned into the film An American Crime. A lot of folks here still won’t watch the film, and the lady who orchestrated the murder, Gertrude Baniszewski, is still referred to as an archetype of evil.

Let’s see what I can recall:

– Notre Dame University is in Indiana.
– The Jackson 5 are originally from Indiana (Gary, Indiana).
– The sitcom “One Day at a Time” was set in Indianapolis, Indiana.
– The film Breaking Away was set in Bloomington, Indiana.
– Frank Burns of “MASH” (the TV show) was from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

I believe there’s also some kind of car race that happens there annually, but I’m not sure. :wink:

Nicely done, Student Driver.

For those not from the Midwest or Chicago area and who may not be familiar with IN, keep in mind that its state slogans and ad campaigns tend to be a bit odd.

A famous one I remember from years ago (and ad for tourism): “There’s more than corn in Indiana!” which I kind of liked for it’s cheekiness, but they never went on to say what MORE there was…

And this odd one that decorated the license plates when I was in HS: “wander”. That’s all–“wander”. Of course we wanted the IN drivers to wander back to IN and the joke was that they wandered away from IN because there is nothing but corn there. We Midwesterners can be cruel. :slight_smile:

That’s the slogan for Indiana Beach, an amusement park that has as its mascot a crow. A crow eating an ear of corn, who says the slogan and caws. Doesn’t exactly slam home the “more than corn” part.

I was a kid/teen during the “Wander Indiana” years, but I recall that natives hated the slogan. Can’t imagine what it’d be like to be on the receiving end of those ads.

My own experiences as a summer weekend visitor in several small towns in Indiana is that people there have a bizarre combination of conservative judgmentalness and mind-their-own-businessness that I’ve not seen anywhere else. It’s definitely a socially conservative red state, and I don’t think, outside of Indianapolis, I could open a massage therapy business there without investing in a chastity belt and mace. But on the other hand, they’re more than happy to set up a table at the Saturday’s farmer’s market for “the girl from that place down the road where they run around nekkid” to sell herbs and salves and even the occasional tarot deck.

On the other other hand, “they” did call the feds on one of those “places down the road where they run around nekkid” where I hung out, and that was…interesting. No evidence of child abuse or drug use or satanic ritual whatever was found ('cause there was none happening), so nothing came of it, but it was weird wondering if the same nice guy helping me unload my car on Saturday was the one who narced on us simply for being weird.

Oh, and more than one Indiana judge has used paganism as a reason to prohibit child custody in a divorce case. One, about two years ago, even demanded that the child of two divorcing pagans be put into a Christian school. Yeah, that was fun.

Indiana is like Illinois. We both have lots of corn and soybeans, small Amish populations, picturesque post-industrial Rust Belts, and a relentlessly upbeat “can do” Midwestern attitude, but the Land O’ Lincoln has better political scandals, while the Hoosiers have better scenery.

We also have Abraham Lincoln, but we’re really tired of him, we’d like to switch to John Cougar Mellencamp for a while.

I have found that the college towns (like Bloomington) are pretty nice, with lots of interesting stuff. But outside of these, the people are like from 100 years ago-a sample the Indianapolis paper prints a “Prayer for Today”-and basketball is the official religion.

Ugh–you can have Mr Can’t Decide What My Name Is. And IN does not have better scenery. IL has wonderfully diverse scenery, from alluvial plains to rugged stone cliffs and outcrops to forest to beaches. IN is flatter and less geographically interesting than IL. You’re right about the Amish, though-although that is now quite an industry (being Amish). YMMV (as you “wander”. heh) :slight_smile:

Indiana: The state in the Midwest that thinks it’s below the Mason Dixon line.

for a fun explanation of what the word “Hoosier” really means check out:
Dave Barry’s column

Sigh I lived in Indiana for twenty years. My family are all from Indiana. I love Indiana. Sorry.

Fort Wayne, its second largest town, is the hometown of Carol Lombard, Stephen King, and Bill Blass (also Jenna Fischer from The Office).

Also Philo T. Farnsworth, who is officially credited with inventing the television. My great-uncle Byron had one working in his basement around the same time, though, so I’m told.

Bleak about sums it up.

Indiana is famous for its top-quality Bleak.


You leave Illinois & enter Indiana…you notice.

Eh, turn right and go about 200 miles. It gets really, seriously, gorgeous .

I’m sick of hearing people bash Indiana. You’ve just seen the boring parts of it. Every state has boring, bleak parts. You should come to Bloomington, IN.

I live in Bloomington, and have lived here for almost my entire life. It is a wonderful town. There are trees and beautiful greenery everywhere. I’ve heard people say the IU campus is the nicest college campus they’ve ever seen.

A 5 minute drive from the center of the IU campus and you’re out in the country. The countryside of Southern IN is totally, totally different from the central and northern parts of the state. There are beautiful rolling hills here that soar up into the sky and offer unbelievable views of hundreds of acres of trees and farmland. Brown County in the fall is one of the most beautiful places in the country, in my opinion. It’s very hilly and scenic, totally unlike the flat north that most people unfamiliar with Indiana picture when they think of the state.

The brother of the Dalai Lama lives here in Bloomington and he owns several businesses and restaurants.

I know John Mellencamp personally and he is an awesome guy. Nobody ever calls him Johnny or Cougar or anything anymore. He’s just John Mellencamp. He drives a yellow Viper.

There is a huge local music scene. Bloomington is home to two prominent indie rock labels, Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguwar. Secretly Canadian has Jens Lekman, Magnolia Electric Co., Danielson, Richard Swift and David Vandervelde, all people who you have probably never heard of but who are very famous in the world of indie rock. Jagjaguwar has Okkervil River, Black Mountain, Daniel Johnston, Oneida, Swan Lake and Oakley Hall. Bloomington also has a huge world-music festival, the LotusFest, every year with many very prominent ethnic music acts from all over the world. There is also a huge underground scene of local garage rock and punk bands, basement rock shows, a true “college” music scene like a little mini-version of the ones in Austin or Seattle.

Lake Monroe, just 15 minutes away from downtown, is the largest lake in the state and is absolutely beautiful.

Seriously, you should visit here if you don’t believe me. It will be a very memorable city and you’ll no longer associate Indiana only with Dan Quayle and basketball.

It’s the drugs, isn’t it Argent?

Are you trying to be funny? I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Read what I actually wrote, why don’t you. If you actually saw this town, you would know that Indiana is more than just “bleak.” Every state has fucking bleak parts. If all you ever saw of New York was the northern rust-belt towns upstate, and not the city, you’d also think it was “bleak.”