G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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A couple of interesting patterns:
1. Hawaii is full of Steelers fans. The Troy Polamalu effect. It will be interesting to see how long Hawaii remains Steelers fans decades down the road when Polamalu is long gone.
2. The Dallas Cowboys are the most dominant team geographically. In the West, absent geographic proximity, the Cowboys are the default favorite. They are the generic “America’s Team”. This reminds me of the many times I heard announcers comment on the dominance of blue and silver in the stands when the Arizona Cardinals hosted the Cowboys. Of course, the Cowboys had that territory before the Cardinals moved from St. Louis to Arizona. I also used to hear a lot of comments that Mexicans love the Cowboys.
3. Upper Michigan is an interesting case study. Team allegiances are usually confined to state boundaries, but the upper peninsula is attached to Wisconsin. The strange allegiance is probably partially a function of media exposure which is more easily transmitted by land than over water. Perhaps this model of team allegiance tells us something more than what teams people are fans of. In this instance it tells us that residents of the upper peninsula are more Wisconsinite than they are Michigander. As a southerner that’s something I’ve never much thought about, but it makes sense. We could take this lesson a bit further and apply it to our understanding of why imperialism often fails.
4. It’s interesting how team allegiances fit patterns we’d see on a battlefield map. The Houston Texans are blocked from fans by the hegemonic Dallas Cowboys. The Packers are confined to Wisconsin by three entities: Minnesota to the west, Illinois to the south, and Michigan to the east. The Patriots have a lock on the northeastern states – they’re the only team with the name of a region rather than a state or a city – and the only way they’d cede control is if they flanked by an upstart in Maine (not going to happen).
5. Northern Virginia is Redskins country, and southern Virginia is Cowboys country. This could be an effect of the Cowboys being America’s default, but it could also be a manifestation of the tension between NoVa and SoVa. Being a fan of the Cowboys is the most rebellious act a Virginian can commit against a person living near the Maw on the Potomac.
As Khan goes on to argue, the people who have access to our intimate interactions have a lot of new information in the sense that they are breaking new ground in terms of data collection. Our understanding of tastes, preferences, opinions, and other subtle behaviors are largely gathered either by government agencies or people conducting huge academic surveys. There is also an element of bias in these types of studies. But Facebook and Google can grab information about our natural interactions. It’s a more meaningful peek into our brains.