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The Tanning Bed Factor

By Matthew Yglesias

"The Tanning Bed Factor"

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Nothing says “just folks” working class credibility like owning your own tanning bed. My understanding is that this is fairly common among reasonably prosperous Alaskans — in the wintertime, of course, there’s very little sun. A tanning bed can help make you feel better during those long, dark months. And nothing says “I own a tanning bed” quite like walking around with a tan in the Alaskan winter.

But that’s all pretty weird. Normal Americans don’t live in Alaska, don’t experience 22 straight hours of darkness ever, and don’t own personal tanning beds. Long story short, tanning beds are about as all-American as moose stew, which is not to say not all-American at all but rather idiosyncratic elements of the culture of an odd state located northwest of Canada.

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