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Happy, happy, happy

Lies, damned lies and … you know

THEY'VE DONE IT again. Someone went and used some shaky statistics and trembling data to assign Arkansas a low rank in some sort of "study." (Scare quotes should always come with that word.) The result: a quick headline and something to generate clicks, which may be a college major these days.

Someone is always ranking the 50 states on something difficult for science and math to analyze--such as happiness, love or optimism. How measure love? Who gets to decide what measurements to use? Now some website has made national news by listing the happiest states. Arkansas was 49th, if you can believe it. Thank God for West Virginia.

You know who's unhappy right now? Anybody in the Carolinas. And we hear it's still burning out in California.

This latest study reminds us of a book that came out in the 1990s--the most dangerous college towns in the United States. Somehow, little Hammond, La., was listed in the Top 5. The authors of the book, who might have made a killing, simply took the FBI's uniform crime report and picked out each town that had a college in it. Voila, a book. No need to go into detail. Such as 1. most towns at the time didn't report to the FBI, so Chicago was left out; 2. the FBI's uniform crime report never has been uniform, depending on what the local sheriff decides is burglary or theft; 3. Hammond's police department had so little to do that it filled out the paperwork on time and in triplicate, and always made deadline. Fat lot of good it did the city when the book came out.

These reports/books/shams have one objective: Get folks to clicking. That's where the money's at.

No, this isn't Arkansas' famous inferiority complex at work. We've got our problems. We've got an opioid crisis--like every other state. The Buffalo National River has a pollution problem. And the Razorbacks are in a rebuilding year.

But we doubt you'll see many unhappy people at the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert in Rogers this weekend. Or unhappy folks who'll soon be taking sight-seeing trips in the Ozarks come fall. Or mining diamonds in Murfreesboro or dancing at King Biscuit in Helena or eating catfish at every hole-in-the-wall or building another new home in Fayetteville or ... being interviewed by another news outfit about why some Arkansas counties rank so high in the "population growth" category. Somebody's happy around here.

Excuse us, but we don't have the time to go on. We've got art shows, gun shows, rodeos, music festivals, chili cookoffs, mountains, rivers, fishing and hunting to do. The fall garden needs planting. And then there's the symphony, the lake, the sculpture garden, the fair ... .

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