University of Iowa journalism professor Stephen Bloom recently sparked outrage in Iowa with this essay, published on The Atlantic website on December 9. In it, he derides Iowa as a backwards wasteland and its inhabitants as uneducated, intolerant hicks. Since this is Iowa Dog Blog, and Bloom uses his dog to further condemn Iowa, I thought I should respond.
First, here’s what he says about his lab, Hannah, in relation to Iowa:
“I can’t tell you how often over the years I’d be walking Hannah in our neighborhood and someone in a pickup would pull over and shout some variation of the following: ‘Bet she hunts well.’ ‘Do much hunting with the bitch?’ ‘Where you hunt her?’
To me, it summed up Iowa. You’d never get a dog because you might just want to walk with the dog or to throw a ball for her to fetch. No, that’s not a reason to own a dog in Iowa. You get a dog to track and bag animals that you want to stuff, mount, or eat.
That’s the place that may very well determine the next U.S. president.”
So Professor Bloom thinks that all Iowans believe that dogs are meant for hunting? Well, Professor, that’s because all Iowa dogs are hunters:
Bloom is happy to let several stereotypes and a couple of random encounters sum up an entire state’s population, but I think that true dog lovers know that the reasons we get and love our dogs are as varied as the items they “hunt” for in life.
What do your dogs hunt?
* Professor Bloom’s response to the criticism his essay elicited is arrogant and obtuse. Though our state’s fine hunting dogs tried to stay on the trail of his humility, it was a short hunt; it couldn’t be found.