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Crimes grow in rich Appalachian soil
Say the word "Appalachia" in some variant or another and the probability is pretty high that someone will come back with a humorous remark — or one he or she thinks is funny, but isn't. It's a region that stretches as far north as the state of New York and as far south as the mid-point of Mississippi, with more than 23 million strong living within boundaries that first began to be recognized as a distinct entity in the 19th century. And yet, the snickers emitted when South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford claimed, in 2009, that he was "hiking the Appalachian Trail" — rather than own up to an extramarital affair — had as much to do with the culturally backward connotations of his excuse as the scandal itself.
By Sarah Weinman
November 7, 2010