August 21, 2018 | ° F

Emphasize state's positive qualities

It seems that the "Dirty Jerz," as many have lovingly dubbed our state, has finally received some positive recognition. Who would have thought the day would ever come? According to an analysis done by, New Jersey is the second most virtuous of the 50 states. The analysis weighed a number of factors in ranking the states, including gambling, drinking, tobacco use, drug use and the number of citizens subscribing to pornographic websites. This surprisingly high ranking is a breath of fresh air for New Jersey, which pop culture tends to represent as a grimy, dingy, mean-spirited state full of corrupt politicians, snobby housewives, mafiosos and a slew of other unsavory characters. When a state has a reputation as bad as New Jersey's, any bit of good press can seem like a godsend.

It's true that New Jersey, like anywhere else on the planet, has its downsides. The unfortunate thing is that these downsides make for great entertainment. Of course people would rather watch "The Sopranos" than a television show about upstanding New Jersey residents doing good, honest work and not killing people they dislike. The same sort of logic applies to the show "Cake Boss." Why not take a show about a cake maker and play up the Italian-American mob stereotype to draw in viewers? That's what the public wants to see, and that's what television networks base their decisions on. Sure, stains on the state keep us in the spotlight, but underneath all the grime, there beats a good heart in New Jersey's ribs, as 24/7 Wall Street can attest to.

Of course, the seemingly endless stream of corrupt politicians in New Jersey also contributes to the poor public perception of our state. It can often seem like every time you turn around, yet another member of the state government is admitting to some sort of corruption charge. But even that is changing. Take, for example, Gov. Chris Christie, who seems to be the absolute antithesis of the stereotypical New Jersey politician. His new take on the state's government is also helping to give New Jersey some credit in the eyes of other states.

This analysis is a step, however small, toward proving that the pop culture view of New Jersey is just a case of branding. 24/7 Wall Street's analysis may not be the final word on the matter because there are obviously more factors that go into judging how virtuous a state is than merely the ones considered in this particular study, but hey — it is refreshing to read something positive about New Jersey on the Internet.

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