Thank you, Sally Mason.
We were hoping to hear from you, and you delivered - with credibility and integrity.
For those of you who regularly read state news and/or opinion pages, you no doubt already know all about the Stephen Bloom article, "Observations from 20 Years of Iowa Life," that he penned for The Atlantic magazine. We won't bore or disturb you with more of that. Suffice it to say its unflattering depiction of rural Iowans included stereotypes, contradictions and exaggerations.
We're happy that Mason, president at the University of Iowa - where Bloom has been employed for 20 years - had a response. She didn't waste a lot of words getting to the main point in a letter to the magazine: "I disagree strongly with and was offended by Professor Bloom's portrayal of Iowa and Iowans," she wrote in the first paragraph. "Please know that he does not speak for the University of Iowa."
If the title of University of Iowa journalism and mass communication professor added credibility for the magazine's editors, then the words from the president of the university should remove some of that credibility.
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"As president of the university, I have the opportunity to travel far and wide across this great state frequently, and the Iowa I see is one of strong, hard-working and creative people," Mason wrote. "In this cynical world that can harden even the greatest optimist, the citizens of Iowa continue to believe."
Bloom is on one year of leave from Iowa as he teaches at the University of Michigan.
Considering that, we would also be interested to see what Mary Sue Coleman has to say about the article. Coleman, the University of Iowa president from 1995-2002, is now at the helm at Michigan.
Perhaps she might have a stake as well.
If exaggerations and stereotypes - and we believe some inaccuracies - about Iowans are what Bloom comes up with after two full decades of living in this state, who knows what an article titled "Observations from Just 1 Year of Michigan Life," could entail.