Frontier Former Editor

September 23, 2008

Well, it does explain why I don’t get many dinner invitations . . .

Hard to believe its been almost 40 years . . .

Hard to believe it's been almost 40 years . . .

When I think of the Wall Street Journal and the word ‘health,’ I usually think of reports of stockbrokers leaping to their deaths after the closing bell, but the good folks at Rupert Murdoch’s new bitch seem to have something of moderate interest here.

“Certain regional stereotypes have long since become cliches: The stressed-out New Yorker. The laid-back Californian.

“But the conscientious Floridian? The neurotic Kentuckian?

“You bet — at least, according to new research on the geography of personality. Based on more than 600,000 questionnaires and published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, the study maps regional clusters of personality traits, then overlays state-by-state data on crime, health and economic development in search of correlations.”

According to this little piece of enterprise reporting, the lower 48, the upper 1 and the offshore 1 were rated on a scale of 1-50 (1= most, 50 = least) on five basic qualities. The Old Dominion’s rating on those qualities?

  • Extraversion: 45
  • Agreeableness: 44
  • Conscientiousness: 39
  • Neuroticism: 21
  • Openess: 11

So, if the slogan is true that Virginia is for lovers, then it’s for that sullen, uptight, careless, annoying, in-your-face girlfriend or that Robert DeNiro ‘Taxi Driver’-like boyfriend. The first four categories, however,  do go some length to explain some of our more notorious recent products, like George Allen and James Gilmore.

But, if you like living in a state where every spinster has the potential to have a dead boyfriend in their bed and a large bill for quicklime, then Mississippi may be your kind of place:

“Or take a cue from Ted Ownby, who studies Southern culture at the University of Mississippi. His state came up highly neurotic — and he suspects his neighbors would be proud.

“”Here in the home of William Faulkner,” Mr. Ownby said, “we take intense, almost perverse neuroticism as a sign of emotional depth.””

Yep, and all Virginia did besides mother a few presidents was to run Stephen Austin and Sam Houston out of the Commonwealth and to speculate on some real estate just north of the Rio Grande . . .

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