Posted by
Jim Goad
• 01.15.13 07:15 am

I left Chicago’s ball-shattering cold yesterday morning and drove south through Indiana.

As a result of my sojourn, I have concluded that Indiana is the most consistently ugly state in the Union, and I’ve been to all 50 of them.

Trudging at top speed through roughly three hundred miles of bleak, stark, flat, rusted, grey scenery, I came to realize that Indiana achieves a miracle by making Nebraska look inhabitable by comparison.

The only part of my ride that was visually compelling came right as I entered the state, with a brief sprint through the rotted industrial Hades known as Gary, AKA “Chicago’s Toilet.” Here’s a typical house in Gary:

What does it say about your state that its most scenic attraction is a crime-ridden warzone that looks like a hybrid of Dresden and Chernobyl?

Indiana is saddled with Delaware‘s inexplicable and unjustifiable uselessness, yet many of its residents have the gall to top it all off with a dumb sort of Texas pride. I’m sure the word “Hoosier” means something to a certain demographic—i.e., those dumb enough not to move from Indiana the moment such opportunity arises—but to me it means, “Someone who resides in Indiana without having seriously contemplated suicide.”

I’m typing this from a riverboat casino hotel at the southern tip of this ghastly state. The hotel’s Wikipedia page contains a passage that summarizes the state’s purposeless confusion and futility:

The 750-pound statue of Caesar will be put in storage until they figure out what to do with it.

In an hour or two I’ll be safely in Kentucky and headed further south. Until they figure out what to do with Indiana, I hope to never see it again. I’d suggest giving it back to the Indians, but I suspect that even they don’t want it.




  1. Ecgtheow says:

    When I make the drive from my home state of Tennessee to visit my friend, I pay the obscene toll on the Chicago Skyway so I don’t have to look at Gary. It’s the visual representation for the nadir of humanity. Stopping in Louisville to enjoy a pint or two at one of the best beer bars in the world solely merits the drive.

  2. Hoosier Daddy? says:

    Ironically, you could’ve gone to one of the prettiest parts of the state without too much effort. The Indiana Dunes are not far from Gary and it’s really beautiful. Lake Michigan looks like the ocean and if it’s clear you can see the Chicago skyline. And Gary is a part of Chicago, the fact that it technically is in Indiana is a fluke of geography, it is in no way representative of the rest of Indiana (except some parts of Indy).

  3. I suggest you drive through Brown County in the fall. Or take a cruise south on I-65 on a warm summer night and see a huge star-filled sky, then continue on and drive by past hundreds of windmills disappearing into the horizon on both sides. Or visit Columbus, voted sixth on the American Institute of Architect’s list of the top 10 American cities for architectural quality and innovation. But mostly I hope that you realize that you can find both the ugly and the beautiful in every state.

  4. waitwhat says:

    Love these posts, keep em comin.

  5. tgordon says:

    A proud Hoosier born and bred, all Jack and Diane (Yes, Mellencamp fucking rocks) bullshit aside, I had to laugh at this one. The gray industrial winters can be real soul crushers, but the rust belt has some perverse charms if “ugliness” can be considered intriguing. I’m from South Bend, and well…ughh!

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