Time Essay: Local Chauvinism: Long May It Rave

San Francisco, last week's nearby earthquake notwithstanding, still insists that it is the nation's best city to live in. Virginia smugly assumes the primacy of her heritage as the Mother of Presidents, even though (as North Carolinians like to note) she has not been pregnant since the 19th century. Similarly, the Midwest, beneath that humble mien, firmly believes itself to be the "true America" that many observers have christened it.

Some areas even become perversely vainglorious about their shortcomings; a New Jersey magazine not long ago featured an article revealingly titled: "How New...

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