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I’ve spent a lot of my adult life defending the state of Texas, where I’m from (as opposed to where I’m “from-from”), especially during the last eight years with W. in office. I usually begin with the refrain, “There are good people there,” before espousing the virtues of the things from home that I still hold dear: big sky, late afternoon thunderstorms that rattle the house and offer a thrilling, momentary reprieve from the summer heat, Tex-Mex, barbeque, and chicken fried steak, not necessarily in that order, the saying of please, thank you, and yes ma’am, football season, the wildflowers that spring up alongside the road, those days spent doing nothing besides drinking iced tea and sitting in the shade, which, in the middle of July, feels something like receiving the universe’s only tender mercy.
I’m not completely sentimental about where I grew up, however, and I also know that that big sky is now choked with the country’s worst pollution, the humid Texas heat is only being made more intolerable and dangerous in every respect by global warming, some of the same people who say please and thank you religiously also believe gays are going to hell (or that there is a hell, for that matter), places where large groups of people gather like football games are often the same places where drunk, hateful idiots feel emboldened enough to openly call someone a gook, spic, nigger, or fag, and there are parts of the state where you still get the feeling that people would like to kill you simply because you look different.
But I don’t want to think that is a significant portion of the population. I know–I’m in a certain amount of denial. But I’m already drowning in my own cynicism on a daily basis, this election has put me and everybody else in an Us vs. Them frame of mind, my parents live in Texas and they are adorable, and it’s too easy to blame certain parts of the country, like Texas, or the South, or the Middle, for all of America’s shameful, small-minded, stupid behavior.
So it was with great dismay that I learned this week that, according to a UT poll, 23% of Texas voters believe Obama is a Muslim. (It goes without saying that I, like so many other people, am first and foremost dumbfounded that “Muslim” has become a slur in this election, but so it has.) A Forbes writer spun this incredible number as less of a mark of ignorance than of the limited way in which polls can be interpreted.
There’s another possibility: McCain supporters using badly conceived polls as political weapons. If you ask people in a hardcore McCain state, a good number of them will says “Yes, Obama is a Muslim” whether they believe it or not, just to get the idea that Obama is a Muslim out there. All’s fair in war and politics, after all.
And I’m willing to believe that. No, amend that. I do believe it. I need to believe it. Because the alternative, that a quarter of Texas voters are actually that small-minded and stupid, hits far too close to home, to my home and how I want to think of it, and, more generally, how I want to think of our greater home, the country we live in.
As Hurricane Ike makes its way northwest to close in on Texas, we can’t help but wonder: What kind of stupid, blasphemous, disrespectful storm would threaten Jen’s birthplace and home of her brilliant, awesome, super-cute parents???
Fortunately, Jen’s folks (who are based just outside of Houston, and not near the coast of Galveston, where the threat is most imminent) are, as CNN would say, “staring down the storm.” If all goes as planned, they won’t even have to board up their windows.
But if they do, trust us… vengeance will be Jen’s. Oh yes, Ike, vengeance will be Jen’s.
We love female-fronted, cacaphonic punk bands as much as the next person, and Texas natives Tokyo Nites are simply no exception. If you were lucky, you caught them rocking Beerland at last week’s South by Southwest Music Festival. But if not, you can still listen to their catchy-like-a-veneral-disease tracks every single day on their MySpace page.
We’re particularly fond of their motto: “Don’t fuck with us.” It reminds us of…well, us. Nothing wrong with that.
Prince of puss-rock and singer/songwriter/guitarist John Mayer apparently feels that he owes the world two cents on the dark cloud of judgment that has been hovering over his ex, bad f*ck charm Jessica Simpson, due to her instrumental role in ending the Cowboys’s pursuit if this year’s gold ring.
On his blog (yeah yeah, everyone’s a blogger), he writes:
Dear Dallas and Surrounding Areas,
This isn’t a sports blog, and it isn’t a publicity stunt. (but have at me if it feels right.)
This is about doing what I think is right as a person, in this case speaking my mind.
I have never known anyone to have more pride in their home state and their upbringing in it than Jessica Simpson has in Texas. I don’t really follow sports, but I have played some of my biggest and best concerts in your state, and having witnessed how dynamic the spirit there is, I’m betting emotions are running high right about now.
All witty barbs, blogs, and fashion policing aside, that girl loves Texas more than you know. It’s one of her most defining traits as a person. So please don’t try and take that away from her. (You probably wouldn’t be able to, but it’s less work for all involved.)
I just thought it would mean something coming from the guy who has the absolute least to gain from this. And if I’m out of line in having written it, too bad. I can spare a Wednesday’s worth of bad press if it means sticking up for a good soul.
Now you listen here, John Mayer. I have said very few bad things about you in the past, save for the occasional jab at your white man’s puff and mild bewilderment at your inability to channel god-given fret-burning ability into anything but songs for moms to masturbate to. But who the funk are you to tell Dallas–and surrounding areas–or anyone at all– how to judge Jessica Simpson?
You don’t watch sports. The closest you’ve come to Texas Stadium is a show you played at the Smirnoff Music Centre where everybody likely sat down through the performance. Come on, muthafucka!
Do you even know what it means to care about a football team? Do you know what it’s like to spend year after year after year of your life trying to show your support, acquiring clothing for all weather types in your team color, spending your Sundays biting your nails, following your instincts to turn your hat (or rally poncho) backwards (or inside out) or whatever it takes to give your wide receiver sticky hands or the QB a laser eye (sometimes it works, just ask baseball fans)? Have you ever teared up watching that squirty little ball get knocked out of a running back’s hands just before he crosses into the end zone? Have you ever felt your head fall to the floor in disappointment after a missed field goal attempt? DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO LOVE FOOTBALL? I HIGHLY DOUBT IT. BECAUSE IF YOU HAD ANY MINUSCULE GRASP OF WHAT IT MEANS TO CARE ABOUT THE GAME, YOU COULDN’T POSSIBLY DARE TO CALL IT “DYNAMIC SPIRIT” OR “IMAGINE” THAT “EMOTIONS ARE RUNNING HIGH.”
EMOTIONS ARE ALWAYS HIGH. THAT IS WHAT IT MEANS TO LOVE FOOTBALL.
So how dare you, you pansy-ass, sports-ignorant, weight fluctuator… how dare you speak to football fans as if you have any idea how they feel? How dare you base a statement on such paltry research (i.e. putting your dick in someone), and ask Cowboys fans not to place blame for the destruction of their hopes and dreams on the talentless, blonde moron who could not wait for football season to be over–in less than a month–to spread her legs for the quarterback? Who the hell are you? Don’t you ever, EVER tell them how to think or what to feel or who to blame ever again! Do you read me?
Come on dude, they’re Texans. They’re gonna do whatever the fuck they want to. And that’s a promise.