Final Word

By Jeff Girod

Posted July 29, 2010 in News

You’re stupid! That’s according to the Brookings Institute, which ranked Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario as the 93rd stupidest metropolitan area to live in the United States. Is “stupidest” even a word? No one may ever know . . . or at least nobody living near Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario. Maybe someone has a friend or relative living on the East Coast we could call and ask about “stupidest,” because Washington D.C. ranked tops as the most educated place to live followed by Bridgeport, Connecticut (2nd); and Boston (4th). 

Stupid Boston, always being so smart.

The rankings are based on a percentage of residents who are at least 25 years old and hold four-year college degrees. In our case, only 155,702 people, or 6.2%, of the total Inland Empire population have graduated from college—or “fancy school” as it’s commonly referred to in these parts.

What makes the rankings an even bigger kick in the keister is that this region is not without its share of institutions for highfalutin‘ book learnin‘: UC Riverside; Cal State San Bernardino; University of Redlands; the Claremont Colleges and Cal Poly Pomona. Hell, I think we even have a few bartending and truck-driving schools. But apparently everyone is skedaddling from the Inland Empire right after they graduate, or they’re just staying enrolled long enough to buy a scratchy college sweatshirt.

Think about it (as much as we can, given our ridiculously small pea brains). We rank 93rd out 100 cities, meaning there are only seven areas in the entire country less educated than the mouth-breathing citizens of the Inland Empire. That means almost every time one of us travels to another city, odds are strangers look at us as if we’re gap-toothed bumpkin yokels—imagine Forrest Gump, minus the cool adventures, ability to run fast or play international championship-level ping-pong.

Then again, there are a few advantages to living in a moronic town. For one, we’re more likely to be challenged to a game of Pictionary than Trivial Pursuit. And when we go out to eat at a restaurant in large groups, the one person who can itemize a bill usually gets to eat free: “OK Kenny, that side salad you ordered comes to $21.75. Why don’t we just round up to $50. Oh, and that glass of water was another $15. And don’t forget the silverware tax.”

Sure, we could sit around feeling sorry for our stupid selves. We could even make a commitment to back away from the Xbox, put down the Mountain Dew Code Red and crack open a Reader’s Digest condensed book once in a while. And who knows, when next year’s Brookings Smart List comes out—dare to dream—we might even break into the mid-80s and bump off Chattanooga, Tennessee (87th). Then again, who are we kidding? We’ll never be as smart as Chattanooga, a.k.a. “the Harvard of the South.”

Or we could do what dumb folks have been doing ever since science types started putting them on embarrassing lists: We could make fun of the even stupider folks. (Stupider? More stupid? Seriously does anyone know someone on the East Coast we could ask?)

Luckily, most of the seven dumb assed cities below us on the list are within mocking distance: Fresno (95th), Modesto (97th) and the absolute most idiotic place you can possibly live in the United States, according to the Brooking Institute—and really, why would they lie to a bunch of imbeciles (because that’s just mean)—No. 100 Bakersfield!

Yes, just a hop, skip and short bus ride away from here is good ol‘ Bakersfield. Now I’ve only been to Bakersfield a few times: Once I got sick in a truck stop bathroom. Another time I made a regrettable choice and ordered the Denny’s Grand Slam breakfast. (Wait a minute. That may have been the same trip.) The point is there isn’t much to see in not-so-scenic Bakersfield—though I encourage all of you to make a special trip, if for no other reason than to point and laugh at everyone.

It ain’t much, but it’s all we have here in the Inland Empire. Well, that and our irrational fear of long division. Just thinking about it makes my head hurt.

Contact Jeff Girod at


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