04/12/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Alaska is the New-New Jersey

To: The State of Alaska

From: The New Jersey Tourist Bureau

RE: Your dumb state

On behalf of The NJ Tourist Bureau, we want to thank the State of Alaska. For years, we at the New Jersey Tourist Bureau thought it would be impossible for our home state to lose the designation, "most screwed up state in the Union." We've grown tired of jokes about our state being the armpit of America. The mafia jokes, the turnpike quips, the accusations that we smell bad or may have previously spent time as New Jersey's governor before being forced to resign due to corruption. Well, no more.

We write to you to inform you that, thanks to Sarah Palin, you are officially more of a joke than the Garden State. We're as shocked as you are. Our state is pretty screwed up: Newark looks like the setting of one of those Kurt Russel Escape from... movies and our most charming mottos are actually euphemisms for mafia hits. While you're shoveling snow, we're currently trying to deal with the several inches of hairspray that falls on our state nightly.

When people think "Alaska" they think "Sarah Palin," just like when people think "Blimp" they think "Hindenburg." She is Alaska's most famous citizen -- and our tourist industry is thankful for that. Yes, from our humble cottage hotel industry to our glitzy casinos, we're thankful for Sarah Palin's revealing look into the living rooms, igloos, and meth labs of the typical Alaskan family.

The Garden State's shift from being the collective joke of the nation to being the second-most reviled state started last September when Sarah Palin came on the scene. She was folksy, popular, and reminded Americans that Alaska is not governed by caribou, as many of us imagined. Immediately, millions of Americans knew what a "hockey mom" was and that Wasilla should be a model of governance (aside from the meth capital of Alaska thing). Millions of Americans thought of "bridges to nowhere," and didn't associate them with our rampant gangland violence.

New Jersey's wildlife is limited to an area most known by biologists for its extensive collection of exotic mosquitos. Alaska, meanwhile, has some of the last untouched forests in the world. While we have ensured that our state keeps its dismal little preserve, Alaska seems determined to destroy its own. Every time we hear "Drill, baby, drill," we think, "at least they're not doing a human interest story about children who grow up drinking our river water who now have six fingers and glow in the dark."

We feared our polluted beaches and status as a favored dumpsite for cheese metal tours would have kept us in the national spotlight forever, but we only receive brief mentioning these days. The media would rather focus on Alaska's former first family's push for abstinence only education. This of course is headed by Bristol, a girl who very publicly didn't take her own advice. Several in our office noticed that her child is often in pictures with her, which we feel makes the whole affair akin to having an alcoholic lecture kids about temperance while taking a shot of Jagermeister on stage.

After the story broke last year that our state's government is corrupt from the Governorship to the Girl Scouts, we felt certain that we would be the butt of jokes on late night talk shows for months. But thanks to that awkward, rambling speech Ms. Palin gave while resigning as governor last summer, we are fairly certain Americans have collectively forgotten that our former governor gave his male lover a cushy government job. McGreevey who? Palin's on TV!

We recently thought New Jersey would never live down "Jersey Shore," a unique reality show that throws together teenagers that should have been killed off in the early moments of slasher flicks. But then, like our guardian angel, Sarah Palin came to our rescue and directed the spotlight far away from us. She became a regular contributor on Fox News, ensuring her smiling face and her frequent mention of hockey moms (that resemble dogs), traditional Alaskan values (like wolf hunting), and small governance (like the Permanent Fund and collective resourcing) would always be in the national conscious.

Recently, Former Governor Palin called for Rahm Emmanuel to be fired for calling his own party members "retards," a word she deems hateful. When Rush Limbaugh made similar comments while using the offensive word, her very public non-condemnation not only proved that she had the grace of a moose on ice skates, but she'd cling to the spotlight like a Gollum grasping at its precious. When Fox News built her a TV studio in her house in Alaska, even The Boss shed tears of joy. Her public hand wringing and hand note reading is here to stay.

Now, like a formerly shunned nerd in a schoolyard, we look forward to ganging up with the rest of the states and making fun of you, Alaska. We're so excited about this we don't really know where to begin. If we're the (former) armpit of America, could we make light of the fact that your chain of islands makes Alaska look like an unshaven leg? No? Oh! What's the difference between an endangered species and a beautiful woman in Alaska? Only one is killed from helicopters with semi-automatic rifles! Wait, no, we got that wrong. Only one lost all their teeth due to your crippling meth problem! Oh we're no good at this. But we're sure some of the bigger states can give us pointers.

We at the New Jersey Tourist Bureau again thank you, Alaska, for taking over our former title. To celebrate, we've shipped you some of our slutiest Bon Jovi fans stuffed into the backs of stolen Lincoln town cars. Personally, we want to let you know we don't think you're stupid. Don't let the other states get you down, keep your chin up. You're just a little slow on the uptake, like you've just stopped learning and progressing. It's like the entire state is living in a state of arrested development. There's a word for that, begins with an "r", but oh, it'll come to us...


The New Jersey Tourist Bureau