Art and Geography

Here's good old Idaho representing. Alabama, too. My artistically minded friends and family have chosen their haunts well.

Apart from the rest of the findings, this statement, "Nationwide, 45 percent of American adults said they personally performed or created artwork in 2014," is worth taking a look at. Mr. Ingraham suggests that poverty and lack of education are factors in whether or not people create art. It's just as likely the case, however, that poverty and lack of education are factors in whether or not people say they personally create or perform art.

For some people, "art" may not be a category that they distinguish from other activities. One of the states on the chart with a low participation in the arts is West Virginia, which is home to some of the best fiddlers in the country. But most of those fiddlers probably don't think of themselves as creating art. It's just a way of life, a way to relax in their spare time, certainly not aspiring to be art as defined by the rich and well-educated.

Then there's the oddly sweeping claim in the last paragraph: "Geography, again, is destiny." Statistics aside, places do shape who you are, in ways too mysterious for me to understand. But "geography is destiny" a bizarre thing to say in an article that begins with a pink and purple map. It has the gravity of a moral pronouncement.

Statistically speaking, Ingraham may be right. But "destiny" isn't the word he wanted to use. "Destiny" feels personal, and there's nothing less personal than a statistic.