AKRON, OHIO – Rest assured, Ohio is not a tourist hot spot.
If you’re not from here, there’s no huge reason to visit.
Let’s face it — stereotypes exist for a reason. And while Ohio is the kind of place where you envision families piling into ugly station wagons, it has its charms.
Not an overwhelming number of charms.
But yes, it is a swing state.
And if you’re from here and you visit, it has its delights — the slowness, bizarrely amazing pizza, a lack of traffic, and motorcyclists who don’t call you the c-word for not letting you make a left hand turn from the right lane.
In the strangest of journalism fights, an Akron Beacon Journal columnist is peeved because a HuffPost TV writer trashed the state as unsophisticated.
“Gosh-darn stereotypes about Ohio aren’t funny,” blares the headline of a column by Rich Heldenfels. His column — “HeldenFiles” — is a play off his name and just oozes sophistication, doesn’t it?
The HuffPost TV critic in question is Maureen Ryan, who wrote a story on the incoming Daily Show host Trevor Noah. And get this. She wrote that his stand-up act was “relatable” and “mainstream.” She said his routine “would have gone over just fine at the Giggle Shack anywhere in Ohio.”
Heldenfels points out Ryan’s glaring error — there is no Giggle Shack in Ohio. It’s in Georgia. He also produces a short list of the famed people who came out of Ohio — serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, Family Feud host Steve Harvey and comedian Drew Carey among them.
He says the HuffPost writer needs to spend more time here and that the state is far more diverse than anyone realizes. He’s annoyed that Dance Moms featured “Candy Apple’s Dance Center” in Canton and — horribly — featured cows, horses and a barn. Except…guest what? There are cows around here and horses and lots of barns.
“What irked me was the implication that Ohio is some kind of Hicksville,” he wrote. “That being ‘in the heart of the mainstream’ was tantamount to being placid and edge free.”
Heldenfels forgot to mention some of the state’s other edgier claims to fames. Earlier this year, there was the Akron Poop Bandit. He earned his nickname because he’s the guy who shat on 19 cars. His shitstorm of a story spread internationally. And who can forget Ariel Castro, the kidnapper who held three women captive for a decade? There’s a Lifetime movie about him.
Thankfully he committed suicide in 2013.
I’m sorry to tell you this, Heldenfels, but Ryan isn’t wrong.
And I say this with the full conviction of someone who grew up here.