Riese’s Team Pick: The United States of Shame

I’m from Michigan but I live in California so I don’t know what’s wrong with me. What’s wrong with you? This website explains how the math was done.


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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3211 articles for us.


      • as someone who has recently moved to Madison, i can attest to the fact that this is the drunkest city/state

        • YES. From visits to neighboring Wisconsin/Milwaukee, I can confirm that Wisconsinites are NOT AFRAID TO GET YOU TRASHED.

  1. I bet if we looked, my state would also be best at terrible, pothole-ridden major highways, which contributes to our current dominance in the field of motorcycle crashes. No matter, Virginia’s still the best.


    • YES. There is no single road, highway or not, in Virginia that does not have at least one hole that stretches 2 feet across.

      Also, failed my permit test for the first time because I didn’t know what percentage of VA automobile deaths were motorcyclists. 50%, in case anyone is curious.

      • Maybe that’s our excuse in Massachusetts, too – we’re bad drivers because we’re swerving to avoid potholes the size of SUVs?

        Probably not…

    • gotta go throgh NC, chica…just sayin. 65 mph? 70 mph? who knows, who cares. They tax the hell out of us for “road maintenanace” so you’d think they’d have I-95 all nice and smooth (federal, state, who cares…I’m paying for it, pave the damn thing).

      • wow. can’t “sentence properly.” “through” & “road maintenance”

        …i blame the type gnomes.

  2. “Nerdiest State” sounds more like it should belong on the “United States of Awesome” map… the title was based on Ohio having the largest number of library visits per capita. Since when is it shameful to go to the library? Totally moving to Ohio.

    • I had this same thought when I looked at the map. My nerd heart is swelling with Ohio pride. And we really do have great libraries here!

      • It’s true, our libraries are awesome! Despite the fact that I didn’t really think gay people existed until I was 17, I learned about trans things when I was 12 from a book on a featured table in the children’s section.

      • Yes, you can get your fill of nerdy gay girls there. All the nerdy gay girls you could ever want.

        I don’t know that there is any other relevent question to be asked and answered.

    • I thought the same thing. If that’s all they could come up with out of the things on the list, it seems like a nice place.

  3. I’m pretty sure if California’s air pollution is the worst that one day our infertility and poor health will also be the worst. LMFAO @ New Mexico for being the most anti-social.

    Also, is there much difference between alcoholism and binge drinking?

    AlsoAlso, how do you even vouch for ugliness?

  4. Washington is worst at bestiality? Really? based on 4 reported cases in 2010.
    also hey Riese, I’m from Michigan too! And luckily, I’m not unemployed.

  5. Anyone else amused at the incongruity of Utah winning at having the highest rate of porn subscriptions?


    • Don’t resist! As a former Mormon, I relish that fact. They’re so sexually repressed all the people probably have secret porn dungeons in their basements with rules similar to fight club: “Rule number one: We do not talk about porn dungeons!”

      • #2 – The second rule of Porn Dungeon is, you DO NOT talk about Porn Dungeon.
        #3 – If someone says “Jesus”, goes limp, faps out, the porn is over.
        #4 – Two people to a computer.
        #5 – One video at a time.
        #6 – No shirts, no shoes.
        #7 – Watching will go on as long as it has to.
        #8 – If this is your first night at Porn Dungeon, you have to watch.

  6. It’s funny how the Mormon State has the most porn usage. I don’t think porn usage is a bad thing but whatevs.

    And as a Texan I would like to say that I graduated high school and college.

  7. So I’m not from Maine but in their defense, the label “Dumbest State” is based on SAT scores. With the rankings of the top SAT scores, every state in the top 10 has participation rates between 3% and 7%. Maine has the highest participation rate at 92% so a lot more people are taking it, regardless of their plans post-graduation.

    On the other hand, I would have to agree that Massachusetts having the worst drivers is an objective statement.

  8. On the bright(?) side for North Carolina, we’re pretty awesome when it comes to barbecue, good public universities, and turning two inches of snow into thirty-car pileups! That last one’s should totally count as an art form.

    • If they’re calling for snow, you won’t find a single loaf of bread or carton of milk left in the grocery store. Meanwhile, there are only flurries coming down outside. Our ability to panic over nothing is an art form.

  9. I live in Indiana right now! Definitely least green state. (sigh). I’m from Michigan (we suck at jobs) and went to school in Minnesota.

    Seriously, tornadoes? I mean I know MN gets some, but…wouldn’t you pick like the fricking cold weather? Massive piles of snow?

  10. bankruptcy? huh. I would say Missouri is worst at deer running in front of your car. hitting deer sucks. :P

    • Well, yeah, I’ve heard that’s bad, but now we are getting mountain lions in state…maybe they can build up and kill some deer!

  11. Ok, so either someone on Autostraddle is a redditor or someone is posting Autostraddle links to Reddit… I would check the timestamps to be sure but I can’t seem to find this post anywhere. Intriguing.

  12. I was born nerdy, and now I’m known for my arson skillz. Sweet!

    I always heard about the great powder in Colorado, but I thought they were talking about snow.

    Those aren’t homeless people in Oregon. They’re hipsters, and they dress that way because it’s ironic.

    Also, I think the phrase “worst at” is a little confusing. Like, I feel being worst at rape should be a good thing.

    • Or they do it like they do with research chimps. You’re put in front of a red button and a blue button. You press one, and if a bell goes off, you get to smoke.

  13. Um, my state is on there for violence against females. I’m not sure how I feel about this…. I better move.

  14. I would have thought IL would be the most corrupt state. But maybe, by robbery, they mean “performed by politicians?” Maybe? IDK.

  15. Of course Alabama is something boring like strokes. I’m just surprised it wasn’t incest.

    Suck it (my former home of) Washington State! I knew y’all banged more animals than we did!

  16. how is “oldest state” a bad thing? also texas is bad at high school graduations. SO BORING, SO LONG

  17. i am so, so grateful that we are “worst drivers” and not “worst enablers of child abuse within the Catholic Church.”

    on that note: fuck you, pedestrians.

    • When the thing you’re worst at is driving, you’re not doing so bad compared to a lot of America.

    • Rachel, the whole deal with driving in Boston is that you HATE ALL CARS FOREVER when you are a pedestrian, and think ALL PEDESTRIANS ARE FUCKING IDIOTS when you are driving.

      It’s simple.

  18. I don’t know why, but I love that Oklahoma has the most female criminals.

    Also I’m thinking North Dakota’s ugliest residents may be a tad subjective, especially since there’s only like five people in that state.

  19. The title of this article made me laugh my ass off.

    Also, more reasons why I need to motherfucking move. Going to school to become a teacher in a state with the worst teacher salary in the country sounds like a freaking terrible idea. Gah.

  20. In the tab next to this one, I have some porn loading. Hell yes, I love contributing to my state’s claim to shame!

  21. So I was going to get all excited about Ohio being so nerdy, but then I remembered a list I just read of the worst cities for bedbugs and three of the top ten were in Ohio. Kind of a buzzkill, sorry folks.

  22. wait. if this is what people in the state are worst at, and not good or best at, does that mean, in a state of failures, i’m succeeding?

  23. Oh, thank God I read the stats at the bottom, because the image/title alone would imply that the residents of Washington, generally, are the worst AT bestiality.

  24. Well we could do a whole lot worse than “daily commute.” Though that one time my tire almost fell off I was actually in New Jersey… hm…

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