Thursday, January 6, 2011

The New York Times and The New Yorker Have Their Fun with Elderly Iowa Women

It started with this quote from an editorial on Politicizing Airport Security in the New York Times on November 23, 2010:

"If terrorists learn that elderly white women from Iowa are exempt from screening, that’s exactly whom they will recruit."

Then proceeded to a Shouts and Murmors column called "The Bobbi Files" by Billy Kimball in the New Yorker's January 10, 2011 issue.

Kimball worked up the thesis of a bearded turbaned Al Qaeda recuiter trying to recruit 68 year old Bobbi Eschbacker of Iowa City, Iowa. As usual New Yorkers just can't quite get the pulse of the heartland, or at least can't quite get their made up facts straight.

I don’t believe this Bobbi is from Iowa City, Iowa. Or if she is, she is not an Iowan. You may want to read Kimball's very short piece here for the context of what follows.
The first telephone call took place at 9:44am local time on Nov. 7, 2010. That was a Sunday so if Bobbi volunteers for the church gift shop, she would have been at church. And  in my experience Iowa churches don’t have gift shops - that's for California and Connecticut.

Then we are supposed to believe Bobbi met a turbaned bearded guy at Bennigan’s on Thursday, November 11 at 1:30pm in the afternoon . There is a Bennigan’s in Coralville, just outside Iowa City to the west, but no one in the Central Time Zone eats lunch as late as 1:30 pm. Plus, all bearded turbaned men in Iowa are called Doctor.

Bobbi purportdly tells the guy she could just as easily get a vacuum cleaner at Costco, saying "there's a Costco right near us." The nearest Costco, in fact the only Costco in Iowa, is in Des Moines. That’s a 2 hour drive to get there, and another 2 hour drive to get back. She’d go to the local Sears store, or one of the 2 local Wal-Marts.

She also tells the guy she has to pick her granddaughter up from gymnastics. If she is 68, no Iowa woman has children after the age of 25, so her granddaughter can’t be less than 18, and is more likely over 30. So the granddaughter has to be old enough to drive herself to gymnastics.

OK, maybe I made up the parts about doctors and gymnastics, but if you're a New Yorker you probably thought that was true too, which proves my point.

No, I think we need to give Billy Kimball a full cranial cavity search and put him on the next plane to Iowa City.

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