Why Kansas?

The very first comment on our YouTube page said “Whats the matter with LA, NY, Miami, Las Vegas! Do a film on that!”

Likewise, when we were addressing a packed theater in Wichita back in October, not a few people asked, in essence, “Why pick on Kansas?”

That’s a good question.

Of course, our movie follows in the footsteps of Thomas Frank’s famous book. He selected Kansas as a focal point for his critique of American politics because it is both so typical and so exceptional at the same time.

When you visit Kansas – as few people do, it annually ranks nearly last among the 50 states in tourism – you see a place that is in many ways the very embodiment of middle America.

As Tom Frank writes – it’s where Superman grew up and Dorothy longs to return.

But actually, Kansas is not just like everywhere else.  It’s been a focal point for radical changes in America.

Battles over slavery, Prohibition, Socialism, Populism, and the modern conservative movement have all been fought here.

Get to know a few Kansans, as we did over four years of filming, and you find they are fiercely proud, independent, steeped in history.  And social trends that start in Kansas have tended to go national.

Besides, we already know What’s the Matter with California (you can look that one up yourself.)


  1. Jason Croucher
    December 22, 2008

    God, I loved the book, and I can’t wait for the movie. Also, Donn Teske is a fabulous man, I’m glad you featured him in the film.

    This Kansas liberal is awfully proud of you and all i’ve seen is the trailer!



  2. Doug
    December 22, 2008

    Wichita had one of the largest pro-Nazi movements in the country under Gordon Winrod. Seeing the cast of characters, many who I have the misfortune of knowing, it appears one tradition didn’t die off.

  3. What's the Matter with Kansas?
    December 22, 2008

    Obviously referring to the Nazis is loaded with tremendous emotional weight.

    Interestingly, one of the concerns of the Pro-Life movement are the past connections between proponents of abortion rights and the eugenics movement, who favored abortion and other measures of population control.

    You could certainly argue that this connection is ancient history and no longer valid, all I mean to point out is that the “Nazi” sword points both ways.


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