New Orleans Some math nerds from the University of Vermont thinking they would get some publicity for the U of V ran some numbers on ten million Twitter tweets by coding words as “happy” or “sad” and then fixing them on a map to determine which states are the happiest and which are the saddest. This thing sounds bogus to me. I’ll give them Hawaii with a big grin, but Louisiana as the saddest, bullstuff, no damn way that’s possible!
Maine #2, Vermont #5, and New Hampshire #8 in the happiness parade…hmmm, think there’s a regional bias much, boss? What happened to the well deserved regional icon of the dour New England farmer? I’ve been there, and compared to Georgia (#47), Mississippi (#50), Alabama (#46), Arkansas (#43), South Carolina (#40), North Carolina (#41), and even Tennessee (#37), those sourpusses can’t match the warmth and hospitality of the South. This is well known and established fact. We have here a perfect example of the difference Nate Silver talks about in his book between “sound” and “noise.” This is a bunch of junk NOISE!
And, of course the Vermonters admit to bias in their coding of the words. For example, they coded key words like “McDonald’s,” wings”, “heartburn,” and “ham” in tweets as negative or “sad” words. Come on! If our family was tweeting around Thanksgiving the word Petit Jean ham is about the happiest thing we hear that time of the year as folks drive from Arkansas down to New Orleans for the feast, and, they damn sure better be hauling down a big, fat Petit Jean ham with them in the cooler in back of the pickup. In those long stretches of highway, sometime McDonald’s is a lifesaver. They actually clean the restrooms. Did you know that? And, they don’t care who comes in or for what. I don’t know what they do in New England about that problem, but it must be nasty. Furthermore, heightening the cultural bias these Vermonters think that “tofu” is a happy word. Are you freaking kidding me?!?
Which brings us to the even bigger problem pushing the south down on the happiness scale. The researches according to the Baton Rouge Advocate say that, “Louisiana is revealed as the saddest state primarily as a result of an abundance of profanity relative to other states.” What the heck?!” There is no way to say, much less tweet, the word “tofu” without a curse word, I don’t think. And, when SEC football season opens up every year, it is impossible for many tweeters to not use, let’s say, colorful language when referring to the teams from neighboring states. I’m not even sure if they play football in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and whatever else is up there, and if they do, I think it’s clear they don’t exactly excel in that area. It could be the tofu. Just saying.
The sun shines on an old dog’s ass every once in a while so I’m not going to dispute the fact that Beaumont, Texas might not be the saddest city in the USA. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years in Beaumont, and I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t a pretty sad and depressing experience. The additional fact that for some reason they have been working on the construction of Interstate 10 in and around the so-called “golden triangle” around Beaumont, just adds to the horror at passing through the area even at 75+ mph. They say that chichi, wine guzzling Napa, California is the happiest city in the USA, but that may have to do with the fact that those folks are never sober and constantly tweeting under the influence.
Supposedly, Science magazine in another study a couple of years ago said Louisiana was the happiest state in the country. Could have been the year the Saints won the Super Bowl. I’ll check, but there was a lot of blasphemy that year, too, so who knows. Now if we had jobs and healthcare down here, we would really be grinning, but I’m not sure how that would show up on this study other than, “Thank god, I got a damn job today!”
Garbage in, garbage out.