In an exercise described as “rigorous mapping of ridiculous data,” Kansas State geography student Thomas Vought plotted the geographic distribution of the 7 deadly sins for a poster presented at the Association of American Geographers conference.
Many of the maps aren’t very kind to the Deep South. I was somewhat disappointed to see that my county is fairly nondescript — neither sinful nor virtuous — on 6 of 7 indices. But we are apparently quite the hotspot for envy.
The ridiculousness isn’t so much the data itself as the interpretations (which I’m sure Vought wasn’t entirely serious about). Lust, for example, is indexed by STDs per capita. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re having more sex with more partners — just that you’re not being very careful about it.
My region’s supposed sin of choice, envy, is indexed by thefts (burglary, robbery, etc.). I doubt that most of those crimes are really about envy. My bike was stolen last fall, but odds are the thief wasn’t coveting the bike itself. They probably just fenced it for some meth.
The conference location, Las Vegas, probably helped motivate Vought’s whimsical presentation. My main conference will be in Vegas next year. Maybe I should think about a followup?