Say it with me... "The Land of Ahhs." One of the Kansas state slogans.
How insulting. Not even the Chamber of Commerce or the Kansas Tourist Board or some schlocky advertising agency or whoever could come up with a better state slogan than to tip an unimaginative nod toward The Wizard of Oz.
Honestly, when people visit Kansas, I doubt many mouths drop in awe at the beauty of our boring, flat landscapes. Or rednecks. Or good ol'-fashioned cracker barrel behind-the-times religious hypocrisy, racism and homophobia.
No, a tourist (and why in God's sake would a tourist end up HERE?) would more likely go "Kansas...AHHHHHHHHH!" You know, kinda like the Tokyo populace in all of those (English-dubbed for us real 'Mericans, you know; don't need no subtitles and don't get me goin' on all that Parasite hooey, either, by gum!) Godzilla movies: "Ahhhhhh, Ghidra!" (Time to digress a bit more: how come Japanese natives always know the names of the giant monsters before they're ever introduced? Did the English speaking audience lose something in the crappy dubbing? I mean, names like "Hedorah" and "Gigan" don't really just come naturally. Ah well, back to my regularly scheduled gripe...).
I can just imagine the brainstorming behind the Kansas slogan meeting...
"Bring me something new to the table! Go!"
"Um...how about this, sir? 'K...K...K...Kansas is C...C...C...Cool!"
"You're an idjit, Smithers! We don't need to remind the rest of the world we still have an active Ku Klux Klan here in Kansas. You're fired! Next!"
"Kansas rhymes with Schmansas and that means excitement?"
"How in hell is that supposed to make our state great again, Wilshaw? Doesn't even make sense! You're so fired, you're fired out of a cannon! Bring me something that pops!"
"Ah...well...um...'Kansas Pops Like Corn'?"
"If you're still standing here in the next five seconds, I'm gonna rip out--"
"Kansas, the Land of Ahhs."
"Who said that?"
"Oh, I'm sorry Mr. Blowhard. I just...had...this idea about The Wizard of Oz and..."
"Dougie, the coffee boy?"
"Yes, sir. Sorry, sorry, sorry, I'll go pack up my stuff and--"
"I like it! The rest of you are fired!"
On and on it goes. You should hear some of the other Kansas slogans. Well, hell, if you've read this far, I may as well list 'em: "There's no place like home (another insipid short-sighted Oz thing; like that's ALL Kansas has to offer. Hmm...maybe it is.);" "ARRR Kansas: The Pirate's Kansas (I defy ANYONE to even explain that one to me!);" "Kansas: As Big As You Think (well, Kansas is known as one of the most overweight states in the country);" and my personal favorite (which says it all) "Kansas: Stupid is the New Smart."
Ta-daaaaaa! And how depressing. My point is it's pretty sad when the only thing the so-called Kansas brain trust can come up with about my state is either Oz allusions or stupid, unfunny t-shirt slogans.
I suppose I should be happy that the much ballyhooed and planned major tourist attraction, "The Land of Oz" was scuttled. Could've had something to do with sticking all of the Midwest's little people into Munchkin costumes for entertainment exploitation.
All of my books take place in Kansas. It's my cross to bear. But the one book that most typifies the dark little seeds planted deep below the beatific picket fences and farmlands and Rockwellian masks of Kansas is my short story collection, Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley. Read it and understand Kansas a little better and then stay away for the luvva Pete!