By Shaun Robinson


Consider: a recent tweet that blew up online and that, knowing my Garden State heritage, several people sent me.



I get it. People think it’s funny. People think New Jersey is fun to rag on, employing descriptors like “trash” and “crowded” and “stupid.” But these assertions are unfounded, based solely on stereotypes and some kind of vendetta against an objectively wonderful state with great people.

So I wanted to turn the tables and give you, dear reader who insults my home state on a whim, a taste of your own medicine. You’ll find below a series of similarly unfounded, similarly vague digs at every state in the union. I encourage you to find your home state, read what I said about it and get offended by how “untrue” and “completely wrong” my words are.


Maybe then you’ll know how it feels.



Honestly, the only thing I know about Alabama is that it’s somewhere in the South. Like, I guess it’s basically Florida, but with more farms? I don’t really know, but I do know that this is one irrelevant state. What’s the capital of Alabama? Exactly, you have no idea.



Here’s one that shouldn’t even be a part of the United States. Like seriously, this place is so big, it doesn’t even make sense. The only thing Alaska is good at is ruining the scale of U.S. maps. We should give it to Canada, because they deserve it more than we do.



This place is way too hot. Like seriously, why would you even visit, much less live here? Also, I’m pretty sure the university in their state capital isn’t even real, it’s online. No respect.



Talk about irrelevant — I don’t think I could find this place on a map if I tried. I think Arkansas succeeds at being so incredibly mediocre that most of us forget we even have to fly over it to get to more interesting places.



People from California love to complain about how many people live in California, which irks me, because if you live in California, you cannot complain about living in California. Living in California is objectively easy — the weather is fantastic and the coastline is admittedly nice. California has definitely succeeded as marketing itself as a place I’m not cool enough to visit, and I find that disrespectful.


When they were drawing out the borders of Colorado, I think they just gave up after 30 seconds and said, “f— it, we’re drawing a rectangle.” Hardly original border shapes mirror the hardly original anything that goes on here. I guess they have weed? I guess that’s cool.



Some call Connecticut “the New Jersey of New England,” but I think that’s far too kind. It’s a proven fact that there is nothing interesting to do in Connecticut. This makes it all the worse when you have to drive through the state to get to a more notable destination, i.e., literally anywhere else.



This state is like the smaller, crappier version of New Jersey. People from Delaware really like to gas up their beaches. But have you been to the Jersey Shore? I can’t think of a single reason I would ever want to go anywhere in Delaware.



Also known as a place I never want to find myself. Florida is remarkably hot, and from what I can glean, there’s quite literally alligators everywhere. I don’t find riding around on swamp boats particularly alluring, especially not with borderline prehistoric creatures abound. Florida is basically a gigantic meme, and for that reason, a notably poor state.


This state takes the award for least original name in the United States. They didn’t even bother to use “new” — they just straight lifted the name of a place that already existed and is probably much more pleasant. In my eyes, Georgia is just Florida but further north, and so everything I said about Florida also applies here. They also have peaches?



Why, just, why is Hawaii a state? I understand the historical background (don’t @ me, I got a five on the APUSH test) — but why do we continue to offer statehood to an island that’s literally in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? It’s places like Hawaii that create a need for that whole “contiguous U.S.” designation, which is cumbersome and avoidable. I’m pretty sure the only reason Hawaii exists is so you can have your “paradise” honeymoon there, which, in my eyes, is hardly worth the cost of printing an extra star on the flag.



You know what, I’m grateful for their potatoes. But similar to the potatoes it so notably produces, this state is remarkably bland. Does it have a state capital? Maybe? Do people actually live there? Honestly, I don’t know. I’m also never planning on going, because I have probably a hundred better things to do. And don’t even get me started on those stupid “I da hoe” puns. It’s not funny, even if you say it unironically.


What a stupid name. Also, where is Illinois? I really don’t know, and I’m never going to need to find out. This is one of those states that could be swapped out with about five others, and you would never know the difference. The only thing people gas up about Illinois is Chicago, but I feel like people seperate the two in their heads because the rest of Illinois is so incredibly irrelevant. Can you name a single other thing in Illinois besides Chicago? Exactly.



I think Indiana is exactly like Illinois, except they don’t have Chicago, so I guess that makes it worse. Actually, maybe, that makes it better.



Iowa seems like it’s basically Indiana, which I agree is tough to imagine because neither of these places has a single defining characteristic. Come to think of it, I can’t even picture how Iowa is shaped. I’m getting “terribly drawn rectangle” vibes, but that could be completely wrong.



This is also known as the state that succeeds at both containing and offering nothing. Imagine if someone showed you a picture of Kansas, or even a map of Kansas, and told you that you were looking at Nebraska. Would you be able to tell the difference? I wouldn’t.



I think Elvis was born here, but I’m also not sure. You probably aren’t either, which is basically the point. Goofy name aside, this state has truly nothing of note if Elvis wasn’t born here.


Sometimes I’m surprised the United States goes this far south, both geographically and metaphorically.



Also known as “Worse Canada,” because if they put maple leaves up everywhere you’d be none the wiser. Maine is too far from anything relevant, and it is the kind of place where I imagine no one has cell phone service and everyone lives in a tiny house. That barista you know with the superiority complex? He’s probably moving to Maine in six months.



This is one of those states that has a bunch of federal government stuff in it and then acts like it’s a big deal. Going to Maryland is like going to D.C., but significantly less rewarding in every respect.



Basically, the state where everyone acts like they’re better than you, but unlike in California, they insult you at the same time. Everyone knows the drivers suck. And you know what else I hate? When states call themselves a “commonwealth.” Shut up. It’s not 1750, and no one’s impressed anymore.


Is it Michigan? Is it Minnesota? Is it a lake? Honestly, when I look at a map, I have no idea. I think this is the one with two parts, which is notably a stupid design.  



I’ve heard they have a lot of mosquitoes, which really sucks if it’s true. If this is the one with two parts, then that also sucks, too.



The state that’s fun to say, but not really fun to think about.



I think the only reason I’ve heard of Missouri is because they were able to compromise so well back in the 1800s. To me, this is one of those “middle of the country, kind of” states, where everyone that lives there has a very “middle of the country, kind of” outlook on life.



Have you ever met anyone who lives in Montana? I certainly haven’t and probably never will. And even if I have, I wouldn’t know, because people who live there would never have any reason, much less need, to bring it up.



Also known as Kansas. I guess they have wheat and probably some cattle? They named the state capital after a man who accomplished signficinalty more in his lifetime than Nebraska ever will in its.



It’s surprising that people would make an entire state out of a desert, but that’s exactly what happened with Nevada. Las Vegas is in this state, which is definitely not a plus. I don’t think anyone comes to Nevada with the intention of making good decisions, and moving there certainly isn’t one either.

New Hampshire

I don’t know where the original Hampshire is (England maybe?), but wherever it is, it has to be more interesting than this state. I can picture a lot of mountains and trees, but not really anything civilized. Don’t they have the whole “liberty or death” thing here? That’s a nice thought, but I think it’s been long enough that it’s definitely time to stop.


New Mexico

Here’s the runner-up for least original state name. Any time you have to copy the name of another country means you gave up way too early in the state-naming process (and yes, I know that this land all used to be Mexican territory, so don’t @ me). Really hot and honestly nothing to do here. I just feel like everyone would probably rather live somewhere else.


New York

When people think about New York, they forget that 95% of this state isn’t the city. Upstate New York sounds like a place where people aggressively do nothing, and nothing happens to them in return. It becomes Canada at some point? There’s a big waterfall?


North Carolina

This is one of those states that’s hard to tag — like, it’s in a more interesting location than Indiana, but it’s also basically Indiana in a different location. Not really better or worse than South Carolina, though admittedly less treasonous.


North Dakota

Ah, yes — the most irrelevant state in the country. I wouldn’t even visit this state if I was paid to, because I would just feel like I was constantly wasting my time. I’ve never heard of there being a state capital in North Dakota, nor have I ever met anyone from this elusive place. One Dakota is definitely one too many, and if I had to rank them, this would be the worst one.



This state is the punchline of a terrible dad joke, and that’s about it. I think they have a really stupid-shaped flag, too, but don’t quote me on that. Also the state that pollutes all the air, I think.


Runner-up for state with the worst shape. I’m talking about the panhandle, where I’m pretty sure everything is made of dust and the only weather is a dust storm. Also, first place for worst capital city name. Really? Oklahoma City? Oklahoma is where creativity goes to die, and you can quote me on that.



This is just a really weird state, and it gives me a weird feeling. I get the sense that everyone in Oregon either lives in a tree or kind of is one, if you know what I mean. This is one of those states that I feel like only exists if you believe it does.



This is another one of those stupid “commonwealth” states. But let’s not beat around the bush, Pennsylvania always manages to exceed expectations for how big and boring it is. Has a single notable news event happened in Pennsylvania, ever? I’m going to go with no. There’s lots of farmland and probably a lot of people, but I’m also really not sure.

Rhode Island

Don’t think we’re ever going to forget about the time Rhode Island refused to sign the Constitution. Today, though, this state is so small it might as well not exist. The name is incredibly misleading, and so is any tourism campaign that tries to make you think Rhode Island is worth a visit. Fortunately, this state’s small size means it doesn’t take long to drive through it on the way to an actual destination.


South Carolina

You know, because one Carolina wasn’t enough. The lesser Carolina, in size (I think?) and also stature. For some reason, I picture palm trees when I think of South Carolina, but it’s definitely not that nice in reality.


South Dakota

I’m going to say it because it needs to be said — if Mount Rushmore didn’t exist, nobody would ever go to South Dakota. I couldn’t name a single city there.



The only thing more certain than finding nothing to do in Tennessee is that if you use its name as a pick-up line, you’re getting a swift kick to the privates. I feel like this state is kind of in the South, but also kind of not, and that ambiguity makes thinking about Tennessee more stressful than it’s worth.



Oh, boy. Texas is just obnoxious — it’s loud, big and way too full of itself. It gets way too hot in the summer, which I guess makes sense because I’m pretty sure it’s majority desert anyway. Any state that gets kind of serious about secession needs to either a) stop, or b) grow a pair and actually do it. Until Texas wades itself out of this wishy-washy middle ground, I maintain no respect.


You know, Nevada with a lake and significantly less alcohol. I honestly don’t have anything else to say about Utah, and I doubt you do, either.



Here’s another state that, like Oregon, kind of gives me the creeps. I feel like everyone in Vermont has this air of pretentiousness to them that just passes down judgment if you do anything other than eat vegetables and hike. Definitely the kind of place where there’s more recycle bins than people.


Don’t think we’re ever going to forget how Virginia never gave up its land to make D.C. a perfect diamond. That was, and remains, very selfish. I’ve never really read about anything notable happening in Virginia after the election of James Monroe, and it’s been a while since then, so that’s saying a lot. I feel like everyone in Virginia just says they live in D.C., which is misleading and proves how the state has no definitive identifying features.



If you’re going to name your state after the father of our country, you better make it a good one. Unfortunately, Washington largely fails at providing anything other than weird, uncanny vibes and a lot of trees. Like Illinois and New York, this is one of those states that staunchly gasses up its only big city because there is literally nothing else to talk about.


West Virginia

Basically Virginia, but with much less history and even fewer things to do. If we ever needed to consolidate states, this would — and should — be the first to go. Rhode Island next. Come to think of it, West Virginia is kind of like the Rhode Island of the South.



Basically Minnesota, but more rectangular, I think. I know this is where they make all the cheese, which offends me as a lactose intolerant. I feel like there are more cows here than people, which is probably the most interesting fact about this state. Does Wisconsin border Canada? It might, but I don’t know and I certainly won’t take the time to check.


A state of “whys” — why would you live here? Why would you visit here? Why does it need a government? “Why-oming,” one might call it. I feel like I’ve heard this is the least populous state in the country, and we should probably keep it that way.