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Nebraska Potluck: What are Nebraska’s Cultural Gifts to (Wo)Mankind?

Why should you be thankful for Nebraska?

Proof that America was already great.

We Huskers know that most of the Big Ten old-timers don’t really mind having us around, if for no other reason than that we’re at least not Maryland or Rutgers. Culturally, we make sense. We’re not terrible at every sport. We’ve gifted all of your football teams at least one big win since we’ve been in the conference. Basically, unless you’re a PSU volleyball fan, you’re probably ok with us being here.

In honor of your magnanimity, we’ve brought our own special dish to today’s potluck, the delicious combination of chili and cinnamon rolls. You can purchase such a combo at a Runza restaurant when next you visit our fair state, but I recommend you make your own. Traditional cinnamon rolls are delicious, of course, but I personally prefer to pair my chili with monkey bread, because I’m of the “tear and dip” school of thought. But whatever form your rolls take, don’t knock this one until you try it. It’s delicious.

There now. Don’t say we’ve never enriched your lives. Which brings us to today’s question:

What (besides chili and cinnamon rolls) are Nebraska’s cultural gifts to (wo)mankind?

GF3: BRT, Runzas, and soaking up land that otherwise could’ve been more Iowa. (Ed. Note: Awwwww. It is an honor to be on the same list as a Runza.)

LGHF: Eminently rewatchable 1990s half jersey triple option football.

BRT: The answer to this is obvious--it’s Carhenge, duh.

Also FauxPelini.

Thumpasaurus: Let’s list a few. Nebraska’s largest city provided a thing for Peyton Manning to yell at the line to hurry the snap. The state also produces more corn than any other state not starting with the letter “I.” Lincoln produced Charles Starkweather, whose angsty killing spree inspired Natural Born Killers. Omaha’s principal contribution to American culture is housing one of the Union Pacific Big Boy steam locomotives, the largest and most powerful ever built. Number 4023 was in rough shape the last time I saw it, since the fine citizenry of the Great Plains saw fit to break all the glass around the cab. Omaha’s odd fixation on naming things “Aksarben” may also count as a cultural gift. The less astute among you might not realize’s....”NEBRASKA” spelled backwards!

Ok, now that I’ve recovered from laughing so hard I coughed up blood, I’m expecting future cultural gifts to arrive when Mike Riley’s bike exodus leads him to Beaver Crossing, Nebraska. Hopefully he doesn’t pass out from the sheer irony. Nebraska is also the home of Creighton University, which is the most prominent university that writes for Off Tackle Empire and also produced Dougie Buckets.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the University of Nebraska’s work on the SAFER Barrier (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) that has made high-speed oval racing much safer since their incorporation into NASCAR and IndyCar racing in the mid-2000’s. This allows Nebraskans to enjoy less guilt when they visit Iowa Speedway to watch these series. In addition, Nebraska offers reasonably close access to Wall Drug and the Mitchell Corn Palace in South Dakota and the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Kansas.

Nebraska has also provided the National Weather Service with a lot of data on tornadoes in unoccupied land, but perhaps nothing sums up Nebraska’s cultural contributions to mankind greater than the crown jewel of Plainview: the Klown Doll Museum.

Aaron: Steaks, a weird version of poker, the College World Series! My favorite might be the Manning thing, though. Nothing’s better than impatiently waiting for Eli to snap the ball while watching in a half-empty bar and yelling “OMAHA!” so that he’ll know the play clock is running out.

Creighton: Fun fact: Nebraska is technically just a giant call center. Nebraska is also the world’s largest exporter of neckbeards, as well as odd names for devilishly handsome “writers” on world famous sports blogs.

Dead Read: I’ll just stick to entertainment. Johnny Carson was raised in Norfolk and through his charitable giving he has his name all over the state - hospital wards, theaters, scholarships, and the track at Norfolk High. Dick Cavett is from Lincoln, where a grade school is named after his step-mother. Silent film great Harold Lloyd is from Burchard. Montgomery Clift, Fred Astaire, and Marlon Brando are from Omaha. The Fondas are from around Grand Island, and several members of the extended family still reside in the area (fun fact - Brando’s mom was Henry Fonda’s acting coach at the Omaha Community Playhouse). Darryl Zanuck, the mogul behind so many classics, was born in Wahoo. Sandy Dennis won an Oscar - she is from Hastings. Alexander Payne - from Omaha - often features Nebraska in his films, he has two Oscars. James Coburn, born in Laurel, won an Oscar for the movie “Affliction.” His co-star Nick Nolte also has Nebraska roots….you get the point. Nebraska punches over its weight when it comes to television and film.

There is also Larry the Cable Guy - sorry, world. Apologies are also owed for L. Ron Hubbard - we have no excuse.

BRT: My distinguished colleague above apparently missed the part that said “gifts”--there’s no reason to bring those last two into this, Dead Read.

So, what do you think? What makes you thankful for Nebraska?


Nebraska’s best cultural contribution is:

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Chili and cinnamon rolls
    (10 votes)
  • 24%
    Preventing the spread of Iowa
    (44 votes)
  • 7%
    (13 votes)
  • 14%
    1990s half-jersey triple option football
    (26 votes)
  • 1%
    (3 votes)
  • 17%
    Faux Pelini
    (31 votes)
  • 3%
    Peyton Manning’s catchphrase
    (6 votes)
  • 5%
    Tornadoes in Unoccupied Land data
    (9 votes)
  • 5%
    (10 votes)
  • 5%
    College World Series
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    Call centers
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Various titans of the entertainment industry
    (2 votes)
  • 7%
    Lil’ Red because you are a monster too
    (13 votes)
180 votes total Vote Now