Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Ten Reasons to Forgive Texas

Feeling angry with Texas for opting for Hilary the Hawk ahead of Barack Obama? Here's my New Statesman piece from 2004 on why, despite its poor voting record, we should forgive the Lone Star State.
(and if you want to see more of Cyd Charisse's legs, you can do so here.

It's given us a chainsaw massacre and J R Ewing, and has launched the careers of two George Bushes. It boasts the highest obesity rates in the world and its biggest city has 253 branches of McDonald's. For many, the case for a pre-emptive strike on Texas will already have been made. But there is another side. Although the Lone Star State's overall contribution to the happiness of the planet has plummeted since the election of George Bush II (a former governor) in 2000, plenty of Texans, down the years, have left their mark in a more beneficial way. So before you sign that "let's bomb Texas" petition, here's the case for the defence.

SCOTT JOPLIN: brilliant pianist and composer of ragtime, the first internationally popular genre in world music.

JANIS JOPLIN: the greatest white blues singer of all time, killed by an overdose of heroin at the age of 27.

KATHERINE ANNE PORTER: Pulitzer prizewinner and author of the sublime, allegorical novel Ship of Fools, published in 1962 and made into an equally sublime film three years later starring Vivien Leigh and Simone Signoret.

CYD CHARISSE: (above) possessor of the finest pair of legs ever captured on celluloid. If you don't believe me, watch Singin' in the Rain.

GEORGE FOREMAN: former world heavyweight champion boxer, whose "rumble in the jungle" with Muhammad Ali in 1974 is regarded as one of the finest fights of all time. Twenty years later, at 45, Foreman regained his title, making him the oldest man ever to wear the heavyweight crown.

BUDDY HOLLY: rock'n'roll pioneer, inspiration for the Beatles and a host of other musicians. Holly had a string of classic hits to his name when he died in a plane crash at the age of 22.

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER: the 34th president of the United States may have been a Republican who liked shooting cats in his spare time but, as supreme allied commander, he helped save the world from Nazi tyranny. Later he was the first major figure to warn of the "unwarranted influence" of the "military-industrial complex" in US politics.

LANCE ARMSTRONG: to win the Tour de France six times in a row is an achievement in itself. To do so after a battle with cancer is truly Herculean. One of the great sportsmen not only of this, but of any other age.

RED ADAIR: the legendary firefighter, without whom those oil rigs would still be ablazing . . .

BEBE DANIELS: star of the silent screen who, after marrying her fellow actor Ben Lyon, came to tour Britain and stayed for the rest of her life. The couple's series Hi Gang! ran on BBC radio for ten years and on television for four. Bebe is included not only for her glittering career, but also for the unrequited kindness of buying my father, then an evacuee of 13, a bag of sweets at Bristol station in 1939.

Neil Clark is not a Texan


olching said...

In general, I don't really care who the Americans elect. They are not to be trusted with sound judgement anyway. Nonetheless, yesterday's result was baffling (yet again), but having had my breakfast, I suppose it was to be expected.

In the end, I suspect they'll vote for the Deerhunter McCain (5.5 years as a PoW of the Vietkong which is enough to send anyone round the bend and they *trust* this man!?) regardless of whether Obama or the anti-Christ win the democratic nomination.

By the way: Ohio is the real culprit in this. It always goes the wrong way. What a treacherous state.

Anonymous said...

Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, ZZ Top, Lightnin' Hopkins, Guy Clark, even (with big reservations because he's a zionist racist a-hole) Kinky Friedman (once of country-punk band Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys ) for his first half dozen or so detective novels.

" Ohio is the real culprit in this. It always goes the wrong way. What a treacherous state."

Are you serious? I didn't think anyone who could read still doubted that the last 2 elections were stolen by corrupted electronic voting.

Read this, from New Zealand's 'Scoop', on the last election.
The Urban Legend:

If the link doesn't work, google it - you NEED to read this, if you have the slightest doubt that democracy is over.

Whatever, we can be assured the worst man/Clinton will win.

Anonymous said...

That link above (to 'the Urban legend' ) works fine if you paste it into the address bar. Neil doesn't seem to favour live links.

Anyway, the Urban Legend is the best thing I've ever read on the 2004 election, but it's quite a heavy statistical analysis (though accessible to the non-mathematical), so here's something more digestible: Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman writing on " Powerful Government Accounting office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings " It was written in more optimistic times ( 2005!) It starts " As a legal noose appears to be tightening around the Bush/Cheney/Rove inner circle..."

There's a link to the GAO report with the article, but here's a direct link:

General Accounting Office report

Neil Clark said...

Many thanks for the links, Jock.

Douglas said...

If you must blame someone, blame Rush Limbaugh, who encouraged Texas Republicans to vote for Hillary in the Democratic primary.

Even though I disagree with jock mctrousers on the 2004 election being stolen, anyone who likes the Texas musicians he mentioned is just all right with me. :)

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention Albert Collins and Mance Lipscombe. Are Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Dolly Parton from Texas?

Neil Clark said...

jock: Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson are Texans, but Dolly P hails from Tennessee. That's surprising, I know, given that Texas claims to have the biggest in everything...

Anonymous said...

My only experience of Texas was a 2 hour stopover on a Greyhound bus in Amarillo in the mid 70s. When we got out of the air-conditioned bus station, it was like stepping into an oven. We made it across the road to the nearest boozer, which had one of those old-fashioned saloon bars, all oak and brass. We were greeted by a Dolly Parton lookalike " How y'all doin', honey ?" Perfect.

Douglas said...

I lived in Texas for a total of 23 years, from 1974 to 1980 (attending Rice University in Houston, and working in Houston for two years), and from 1982 to 1999 (in various parts of the Dallas area).

While I've lived in Minnesota for 8 years, I'm still a probationary Minnesotan, as one has to live for ten years in Minnesota to be properly considered Minnesotan.

But if I say something stupid, don't blame Texas. I'm doing it entirely on my own.

jock, I drove through Amarillo in 1981, but didn't stop to see Cadillac Ranch

Anonymous said...

Texas novelist Patricia Highsmith who came up with the Tom Ripley character and wrote Strangers on a Train of later Hitchcock fame. She also wrote many other interesting thrillers.