Ed Driscoll

In the Cornfields, No One Can Hear You Scream

“Is This Hell? No, It’s Iowa.” And who else but Iowahawk himself can find — this time in a dumpster behind the Hamburg Inn — such items as “the first draft of University of Iowa professor Stephen G. Bloom’s anthropology dissertation for Atlantic magazine explaining the bizarre cultural mores of the primative Aborigines who pay his salary:”

IOWA CITY — On January 3, Iowans will trudge through snow, sleet, sludge, mud, ice, corn, beans, pig feces, flaming lakes of ethanol, gale-force blizzards — whatever it takes — to join their neighbors that evening in 1,784 living rooms, barns, community halls, recreation barns, silos, wigwams, and public-school Corn God sacrifice altars in a kind of Norman Rockwell-meets-HR Geiger old timey bygone-era past-that-never-was town-hall folksy-regular-folks go-to-town-meeting at which they’ll eat and debate, and then battle with corn hoes and pitchforks to choose their presidential candidates along party lines. The local tribal elders call this “Kaukkassqaatsi,” the Iowa word for “run on sentences.”

We now know these as the Iowa Caucuses, which create a seismic shift in the presidential nominating contests. In 2008, after Obama catapulted to the top of the Democrats’ rain-dance card, the resultant seismic tremors swept him to victory at the Democratic Convention. The tremors were also thought to be the cause of the volcanic eruption of long-dormant Mount Pleasant, which tragically destroyed over half the final term papers of my students in C3101, Introduction to Communication Studies.

Since Obama is the presumed Democratic candidate in 2012, this year it’s the Republican candidates who must now woo the sad, semiliterate populace of this benighted barren outpost beyond the frontier of rational civilization. They’re falling over each other in front of grain elevators and cornfields, over biscuits and hogslop in breakfast cafes, in ghost-haunted tornado-ravaged baseball cornfields, and at potluck dinners (casseroles are the thing to bring), under the covered bridges of Madison County with lonely sex-starved Italian war widows, glad-handing and backslapping and eyepoking as many Iowa voters they can. Great photo ops, you know. Hoisting a baby in the air is good politics. So’s gulping down a brat (short for “bratwurst” – contrary to popular myth, Iowans seldom eat misbehaving children).

You know what to do next.