Tuesday, August 24, 2004

thanatopsis geography lesson

Forbes magazine has a list of the best places to die in the US. Utah is in first place, and Oregon is in second. This works out pretty good for me, since I'm already in Oregon and there's no way in hell I'll set foot in Utah again. (Seriously - I won't even get in a plane that's flying over Utah... just in case.)

Their analysis is based on health care quality, legal protection, the percentage of cancer patients who die in the hospital versus those who die at home or in a nursing home, the percentage of Medicare patients using hospice services when they die, and the severity of estate taxes. With Utah at #1, I'd expect to see something in there about how happy people are that an imminent death will finally get them out of that state... maybe they rolled that into the 'quality of health care' number?

[via farkleberries]


Blogger krishna said...

This is the first time I have come across a survey on the best places to die. I read that Utah has splendid mountain peaks. It would be great to die staring at such magnificence. And, the word Utah sounds mysterious, too. It is as if the place hides secrets from the millenniums in its bosom. Salt lake city has a charm that Portland with its association with cement does not seem to possess. I see that you are aware of Utah's charm as you do not wish to set foot in that place lest you shall be caught in its web. I am trying to play the devil's advocate.
Thanks for the reference to Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant.

Blogger Foobario said...

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Blogger Foobario said...

In the movie 'Braveheart', Edward Longshanks opines that "the trouble with Scotland... is that it's full of Scots." Utah as a place is beautiful - a short drive from Salt Lake City can leave you in mountain canyons with rivers running through them or deserts that look like something Salvador Dali and Dr. Suess might have dreamed up on an all-night bender. But of all the places I've lived (hell, or even visited) I've never seen a more whacked culture.

"The devil's advocate" is a fitting role to take in this instance, because so much of the problem (as I see it) with Utah culture is that its religious obsession with 'evil' seems to outweigh its devotion to 'good'. (A broad generalization, to be sure, but one that is totally consistent with my experience growing up there.) Like so many other institutions (the US government comes to mind) they figured out a long time ago that the best way to catch people in the web (also fitting imagery... you're on a roll) is to loadly proclaim a belief in one thing while doing the exact opposite thing - this pre-emptively snubs even the *possibility* of intelligent discourse on the subject. They've gone way past 'irony' and into the realms of 'absurdity'.

Most of my old friends have left Utah; almost all of us ended up on one far shore of the US or the other, even those who don't share my strong aversion to the place. Even just in my town I often run into people I knew in Utah, and friends in New York and San Francisco have the same experience. I don't think this is mere coincidence.
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