Correspondence

We're Not as Dumb as They Think

It's gone just about too far this time.

In the past year, North and South Dakota were included in a group of states described as "America's Out back" by Newsweek. As if that weren't bad enough, both states were also left out of a Rand McNally photographic atlas. (The editors smiled urbanely, one imagines, and claimed the discrepancy was "inadvertent," but we of the Outback, the Buffalo Commons, America's waste-disposal lot, know better, from long experience.)

We lived through the ignominy. Sons and daughters of pioneers, we're survivors. We hitched up old Bossy to the plow and went about our daily lives as if nothing had hurt.

But now: the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company has announced that it's coming out with a cigarette called, of all things, "Dakota," meant to appeal to young, poorly educated, lower middle-class women all across the country. Kind of makes you want to move here, doesn't it?

Let us not forget that RJR has had to snuff one new product already this year: "Uptown," a cigarette targeting black Americans. Well, that particular group of Americans happens to form a large minority that gets listened to when it complains. Complain it did, and rightfully so, claiming that the marketing gimmick was not only patronizing but deadly: young black men are among the heaviest smokers in the country. Two weeks...

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