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S t einm et z C o l u mn 0 9 0 L


A defense of Utah

Bv Katv Steinmetz



ffhis week, one of m any Utaphobesl'vemet assertedthat Utah has nothing to offer.
So I decided it was time for a look at what underlies their state of aversion.


editor: SarahD. Wi -t-a-h. For four little letters, they manageto get an
arvfully bad rap.

Such is certainly the casewhen I tell people I was born the More often than
notfiwhomeverI'm talkingt suddenly gives me
a sidelong look that ruy.[, "Closecall. Here I thought she was perfectly normal, while
she'sclearlybeen hatching plans to stealmy boozeand make me part of sometorrid

This happenedagain this week, the Utaphobe in question going so far as to assertthat
the state has nothing to offer. And so I decided it was time for a defenseof that fine
land, a singing of its many and varied glories - as well as a look at what underlies the
haters' state of aversion.

The two most indisputable majestiesof Utah are its landscapesand its skiing. Five
national parks - Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands,Capitol ReefandArches - as

ili'Af#"n (1,4u-student)
Denise August
Sunday, 30,2oo95:34:11
CT oo:23:df
:8a:90:60 8/30/095:34PM
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well as many other protected areas,can be found in its borders, and they house some
of the most striking scenesin the world.

Bright orange rock formations tower like sentries against blue skies. Enormous
natural bridges span rich, muddy riversfl seeminglytransported out of Willy Wonka's
factory. Seasof rounded boulders, placed so you can jump from one to another like a
6t"-Bei1 Care Bear hopping from cloud to cloud, stretch acrosswhole horizons. And
the best sci-fi landscapeshardly rival the "Hoodoos." rocky spires creating mazes
where hikers feel like the children lost among blades of grassitt l"Ho ISh
ffil"Honey, I Shrunkthe Kids."

removed the links for Care Bear and Ho I Shrunkthe Kids. The CareBearlin
went to a Youtube clip of the Care Bear'sintro and the H . I Shrunk the Kids lin
went to IMDB

people who fail to appreciatethis beauty and senseof discoverythat Utah's land offers
are often just too cy'nicalor unimaginative to recognizewhat they're missing.

@ssenger, on his flrst fligh onishedto

ffi landscapeas seeminglyhostile as the barren ittt34glo{
A"rt*ti" * th. craters of the moon ... In my experience,the only people immune to
this vision are those urban to whom-as the late FredAllen usedto
here outside NewYork CiW is Bri Connecticut."'

British journalist Alistair Cookedescribesthis phenomenon in his famed portrait of

America: "The airplane passenger,on his first flight west, is invariably astonishedto
look doum for hours on a landscapeas seeminglyhostile as the barren interior of
Australia or the craters of the moon."

Cookewrites that many people feel an urge to explore the country, but "in my
experience,the only people immune to this vision are those urban types to whom-as
the late Fred Allen used to say-'everywhere outside NewYork City is Bridgeport,

is quote was flip- The sentencebehind the elli comesbeforethe part

beforethe ellipses.( 16 of the "his famed portrait " link.

(It is worth noting that in my copy of his book, there is a photo of Bryce Canyon's

Augusl30'2oog5:34:11PMCT oo:23:dl:8a:90:60
fri'Qf$t"f, Denise(Mu-student) Sunday,
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hoodooson the pageafter this assertion.)

Utah's skiing, though not as unique, is still nothing to sniffat. Perhapsthe best
testament to this i. Fh" f*t tttutl*tten I taught in England at a boarding school full of
affluent boys, a student ski trip was planned, and despite having the Alps within
grasp, they flew halfway acrossthe world to my home stat{. Its mountains are touted
as having "@" for a reason.

Content article written by a n named Milenna from 2oo5. The link can be found

The sidelong glancesmy origins inspire, however, are not simply due to ignorance of
or disregard,for these natural wonders. The real hostility - and hold on to your hatsfi
becauseI'm about to drop the M-bomb here - comesfrom misunderstanding

I'm not going to defend their beliefs. I am, like many others, perplexed at their
history, at Joseph Smith's "visions" of golden plates, at, for instance, Ffr" f*thttut
many of them believe the Garden of Eden in which God placedAdam and Eve to be
located in Jackson County, Missouri.

But I will point out that the group is often unfairly defined by its F-tlbt;llaughable
extremists and eccentricbeliefs. Thinking that Mormons are all polygamists following
the orders of some guy named "Warren" is like believing that all Americans are fat (an
idea quite popular abroad). There are plenty of "normal" Mormons, many of whom
my parents remember fondly from our time living there, especiallyfor the networks of
support they creat"al, fotr and how well they took care of one another.

Assuming an air of lofty superiority and making fun of them is easy;it's also a hollow
triumph on par with crackingjokes about howblondes get fired from M&M factories
for throwing out the 'lM's."

There are related misconceptionsthat further color people'sview of the state. I've
heard countlesstimes, for example,that you can't get anything to drink in Utah - you
know, becauseof those inhuman, wildly Fb"t"-it"q sober Mormons. But that simply
isn't the case.Alcohol is regulated more heavilyby that state government than many
others, but a visitor can have a beer or glassof wine there like anywhere eke[. Ff,E|
Their clubs serveboozeuntil r a.m., that deadline being only thirty minutes behind

fti'AfS4r"n Denise(1,4U-student) :8a:90:60

August30,2oo95:34:11PMCT oo:23:df
Sunday, 8l30l095:34PM
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state. Perhapssomedaythe utaphobes
so try to keep an open mind about the Beehive
and seewhy those four little letters
out there will make their way to the canyonrands
feeling of pride'
instill my heart's little cockleswith a nice, warm

Missouriqn' She
KatA Steinmetz is a columnist and-reporterfor the
moued.toColumbio after spending two years teaching
hasfreelanced for a
England, qnd one yeor in Edinburgh, scotland. she
Springfield, Mo., and
uariety of publicotions,including 417Magazine in
her MIJ masterb degree
the Guardian in London. KqtA plans to complete
in zoto.