: "I guess I expected the Crossroads of America to be a little bit more, you know, trafficked."
: "Yeah. It earned that nickname in the early 1800s, when cross-country travelers would find themselves passing through the state pretty frequently. Obviously now it seems kind of silly."
: "No kidding. Hey, what's a Hoosier?"
: "Is it like a secret or something?"
: "No. It's just, like, such a frustrating question to answer."
: "Why's that? Is it a slur?"
: "Kind of. Not really."
: "Where does it come from?"
: "I've heard several origin myths. By one account, it's a shortened version of ‘who's there?' that became popular as armed outdoorsmen and traders would cross paths in the woods. Also, an old Indiana humorist once claimed that brawling was so common amongst the state's residents that at some point it became common for people to ask ‘whose ear?' Since, I dunno, they would chew each other's ears off or something."
: "That's not especially flattering."
: "No. But I think my favorite explanation of the term came from Bob Knight. The story, as I heard it, is that Knight was holding a press conference once when a reporter raised his hand and asked what a Hoosier was. Knight responded by asking the reporter, ‘Son, are you from Indiana?' The reporter said no, he wasn't. Knight's response: ‘Well then you wouldn't understand.'"
: "Huh. Bob Knight was such a butthole."
: "So do you understand what he meant? Since you're from here?"
: "Kind of. I mean, obviously it's an ill-defined term. The best definition is probably just ‘an Indiana resident.'" But I guess there's kind of a concrete kinship to be found among Hoosiers. I don't know, though."
: "How is being a Hoosier different from being, say, an Ohioan?"
: "Buckeye, I think."
: "Fine. Buckeye. How are those different?"
: "Well, I guess I don't really know, but it seems like the Hoosier identity just has a schizophrenic quality that makes it more interesting than just ‘a person from Indiana.' Like, Indiana was a Union state, and it was Lincoln's boyhood home, but it also has pretty strong Klan ties. And the whole state is mostly cornfields, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a purer factory town than Gary. Indianapolis itself is a reasonably big city for the Midwest but hardly a major U.S. city. Indiana produced John Dillinger, but it also produced Kurt Vonnegut. There are people in Indiana with unintelligible backwoods dialects, and there are people in Indiana with perfectly neutral dialects. It's like the state has every excuse to be your standard flyover wasteland, but in spite of this, Hoosiers consistently exceed expectations. Except for the crappy Hoosiers. Is this making sense?"
: "Not really."
: "I guess what I'm saying is that to grow up in Indiana is to share one border with Kentucky and another border with Chicago, and to somehow be nothing like a Kentuckian or a Chicagoan."
: "I hate to say this, but that's not especially unique or interesting."
: "Maybe not."
: "Man. I guess you really do have to be from here to understand it."
: "Maybe so."