When I attended the University of Kansas as an undergraduate, my family and friends thought it was funny to send my greeting cards, post cards and other paraphernalia related to The Wizard of Oz.
This is but one of many reasons to make fun of Kansas. A top ten:
1. The Wizard of Oz.
2. Sen. Sam Brownback.
3. School board evolution debate/Intelligent Design.
4. A state that placed their major city in Missouri.
5. A US Senator (Bob Dole) who brought erectile dysfunction into public discourse--spawning thousands of products and commercials for "male enhancement."
6. A lack of creativity in naming high schools. They have an unusual attachment to naming schools after directions. Take the Shawnee Mission School District. When I attended KU, their schools were named North, South, East, West and Northwest. Even Sioux Falls, South Dakota is slightly more creative (Lincoln, Washington, Roosevelt).
7. The Topeka Sizzlers.
8. Great headlines for high school sports. One of the high schools is the Topeka High Trojans. Another high school (creatively named) is known as Seaman high school. Urban legend says a sports headline once read: "Trojans Stop Seaman."
9. An accent that mixes a Southern drawl and a Chicago pronunciation of "ass" or "sausage" or "God."
10. Kansas State University in "Manhattan," Kansas. Actually, to my knowledge, KSU is distinctly more popular throughout the state, but the people who are loyal to KU are fiercely loyal.
Kansas has many fine attributes like any state. I enjoyed my 3 years of school there. I made great friends. Lawrence is probably one of my top 10 favorite municipalities--a quintessential college town. There is natural beauty that an outsider would not expect to find in Kansas.
In reference to #3, Kansas isn't necessarily the Mecca of Intelligent Design, but it is the source of public discourse about the "failings" of evolution. The Lawrence Journal World reports on an Intelligent Design story to which I have a loose connection to the subject of the story. Dr. Paul Mirecki was the teacher of a Bible overview course I took at the University of Kansas. At a state university, Dr. Mirecki was going to teach the Bible as only a piece of religious literature. It was understandable the conservatives in the class took issue with this methodology. He handled the challenges well. If the article accurately reports the situation--it sounds like the good professor did not handle teaching Intelligent Design as mythology well.
I hope the Univeristy does handle a course on Intelligent Design well--The University of Kansas does not need to become #11 on the list.
On a related note--I tend not to get involved in the discussion of Intelligent Design, let alone making fun of it. The issue for me is that I do not care to engage in an anxious debate where many people seem to be asking the wrong questions. I think our discussions about Biblical truth and its relationship with science are off kilter. Not to mention the crux of the discussion seems to be who can be louder with their arguments.
I did receive an amusing example of poorly framed questions from my fine colleague, Rev. Darth (check out the link to his blog on my links). For some high quality laughter, take this exam.