The article that I've linked to by UI journalism professor Stephen Bloom has created quite a firestorm here locally, and around the rest of the state, I believe. I read the article (a preliminary requirement to commenting, in my opinion). I found parts spot-on, other parts exaggerated and stereotyped. Frankly, some person are getting their shorts all in a bunch over this, and I can't get that fired-up about it. I did, however, read some thoughtful responses in our local Iowa City Press-Citizen today. The most thoughtful response came from a UI student that hails from a small town in western Iowa (my native land). I don't know that I could improve upon his take. Another interesting response comes from retired UI political science professor and dean, Gerhard Loewenberg, who points out some factual errors. Finally, even the editorial write-up made some good points.
In sum, we're not perfect, we do have some daunting problems (small town and rural life decline), and we have some bright spots. Unique in our own ways, quite typical in others.