You don’t just move to Texas. It moves into you.
May 14, 2016 1:38 PM   Subscribe

“My boyfriend (from N.Y.C.) says he’s never been in a state that prints pictures of itself on everything.”
Austin resident Allison wrote to the New York Times. The Times drew a massive reader response after it tried to figure out what Texas was last weekend. "Non-Texan readers seemed to be a mix of confused and outraged at the Texan way. They just don’t understand."
posted by zarq (137 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Texas shows us what "nationalism" looks like when deprived of nation status.
posted by belarius at 1:43 PM on May 14, 2016 [37 favorites]


someone in the HN discussion linked this shirt, which i think is a pretty good assessment
posted by p3on at 1:54 PM on May 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


Well bless your heart, Texas!
posted by thelonius at 1:55 PM on May 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


When no one is looking, I like to mess with Texas.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:59 PM on May 14, 2016 [46 favorites]


I <3 NY is somehow better?
posted by eabomo at 1:59 PM on May 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


when I lived in Texas, I was surprised to find out that they study Texas history as a subject in high school. I liked to rib folks that where I grew up, we studied our state's history too but the subject was called American history. OH SNAP
posted by threeants at 2:00 PM on May 14, 2016 [17 favorites]


I <3 NY is somehow better?

I <3 NY is strictly for the tourists. New Yorkers wouldn't be caught dead in one of those shirts.
posted by Shmuel510 at 2:04 PM on May 14, 2016 [25 favorites]


Texas, of course, comes by its sense of being a place apart honestly: From 1836-1845, it was its own country, the Republic of Texas

California did the same thing, but we don't have drinking games about it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:06 PM on May 14, 2016 [12 favorites]


I was born in Texas, and although I don't live there anymore, I still go back to visit relatives. The NYT article last Sunday got it 100% right.

You would never see billboards reading "Miller Lite -- the only beer good enough for ILLINOIS!", but that's a typical Texas-style advertisement.

Since 2009, Texas conservative politics have gone nationwide, but there's still an intense animosity to the political sentiments in rural areas, about issues which have no real impact on them (like Obamacare). But Texas liberalism has deep roots, and a lot of the old, old white families are wellsprings of liberal activism -- LBJ and Lady Bird were not outliers.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 2:06 PM on May 14, 2016 [15 favorites]


Population of Texas (2010 census): 25 million
Population of Australia: (2016 estimate): 24 million
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:09 PM on May 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


My enduring memory of Texas (other than the FREE 72 OZ STEAK if you can eat it in one hour billboards for 800 miles in every direction from Amarillo) is the bathroom at the McDonald's in Shamrock, Texas. The sinks were shaped like Texas.
posted by usonian at 2:13 PM on May 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


The only way I found to explain Texas to outsiders, when I lived there, was that Texans feel towards their state the way most urban Northeasterners feel towards their city or their neighborhood. It's exactly the same fervent local pride that people get about Portland or D.C. or Chicago or Providence or whatever — just extended to what's basically a whole region.

A Texas tattoo isn't that much weirder than a Chicago flag tattoo or a District of Columbia tattoo, and I've seen plenty of those.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:13 PM on May 14, 2016 [14 favorites]


A boy asked a stranger where he was from. His father gently corrected him for his bad manners, saying: “Son, if someone is from Texas, they’ll tell you. If they aren’t, don’t embarrass them by asking.”
GR, Texas


I'm fairly certain this holds for New Yorkers.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:14 PM on May 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


when I lived in Texas, I was surprised to find out that they study Texas history as a subject in high school. I liked to rib folks that where I grew up, we studied our state's history too but the subject was called American history.

A lot of things people are going to say in this thread can be countered with "So does California," like the history class thing.

That said, I don't think any other state mandates that students pledge allegiance to the state flag, so I'll concede on that one.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:15 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I mean, I kid, but in actuality I think it's really valuable for people to learn about their own region's history.
posted by threeants at 2:24 PM on May 14, 2016


The proposed Texas Republican Party platform lays-out what Texas could be...
posted by Thorzdad at 2:29 PM on May 14, 2016


When I hear Texans talk about Texas, I understand why the rest of the world finds American exceptional is so insufferable. We get it. You really like big things and beef and hats.

A boy asked a stranger where he was from. His father gently corrected him for his bad manners, saying: “Son, if someone is from Texas, they’ll tell you. If they aren’t, don’t embarrass them by asking."

Every time I hear this said, I restrain the urge to respond that the rest of the country agrees with you, just not in the way you think.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:36 PM on May 14, 2016 [18 favorites]


Also, re: secession, put up or shut up.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:36 PM on May 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


I've only been to Texas once, on a college summer road trip, and my enduring impression is mainly that when you're in Texas, you are never allowed to forget that you are in Texas.
posted by soren_lorensen at 2:37 PM on May 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's a bit incidental to the articles, but the 35th annual Houston Area Survey [PDF] came out recently. Some interesting stats: 52% Democrat / 30% Republican; ~41% Latino, 33% Anglo, 18% African American, and ~8% Asian demographic breakdown in Harris County (4.4 million residents); 18% "no" religion; etc. In conclusion, Texas is a land of contrasts.
posted by Wobbuffet at 2:40 PM on May 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


Mike Judge said that living in Texas was like being a Yankee fan - you're rooting for the team everyone else loves to hate.
posted by xammerboy at 2:41 PM on May 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


When no one is looking, I like to mess with Texas.

In Texas, this is a Texecutable offense
posted by clockzero at 2:41 PM on May 14, 2016 [28 favorites]


A lot of things people are going to say in this thread can be countered with "So does California," like the history class thing.

Indeed! 4th grade social studies curriculum in California public schools is about the history of California. Students usually are assigned a project to replicate one of our missions too, which has resulted in an entire industry built up around supplying miniature mission builders, from tiny clay pottery to buildings made of foamcore. Every parent I know has suffered through this project, which is why the most common gun found in Californian households shoots hot glue.

You would never see billboards reading "Miller Lite -- the only beer good enough for ILLINOIS!"
National brands, especially those selling products that have a strong tribal brand loyalty, churn out geographically personalized advertising in larger media markets, which is why locally there are billboards touting Ford Trucks Built For California (or maybe it was Chevy) and California Coors neon signs.

That said, I've never seen a California shaped sink. Too narrow, would be prone to backsplash, I think.
posted by jamaro at 2:51 PM on May 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


As the GOP in Texas edges ever closer to minority status, and gets more shrill and nuts as a result, one super frustrating about being a liberal in the state is the way that liberals from elsewhere tend to view the state as if it is uniformly GOP. I mean, just look at the comments here.

Meanwhile, Austin just elected to refuse to be extorted by Uber and Lyft, my straight friends love Pride events, vegan restaurants and craft breweries abound, and nobody has ever given me grief about being married to a dude.

In short, it's a land of contrasts.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 3:00 PM on May 14, 2016 [39 favorites]


“My boyfriend (from N.Y.C.) says he’s never been in a state that prints pictures of itself on everything.”

This is such an incredibly NYT quote. Supposed to say something about Texas, says much more about New York.
posted by aaronetc at 3:05 PM on May 14, 2016 [11 favorites]


California did the same thing, but we don't have drinking games about it.

That's why Texas is better.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:06 PM on May 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


Population of Texas: (2010 census): 25 million
Population of Australia: (2016 estimate): 24 million


Area of Texas: 696,241 km^2
Area of Australia: 7,692,024 km^2

Largest cattle ranch in Australia: 8,000 km^2
Largest cattle ranch in Texas: 3,340 km^2

Australia is far deeper south too. And while we have fewer people, I prefer to think of it as having fewer Texans.
posted by adept256 at 3:08 PM on May 14, 2016 [22 favorites]


Texas has more windmills.
I mean, they actually make money off all that hot air.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:11 PM on May 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


But Texas liberalism has deep roots, and a lot of the old, old white families are wellsprings of liberal activism -- LBJ and Lady Bird were not outliers.

R.I.P. Molly Ivins. And Ann Richards.
posted by atoxyl at 3:14 PM on May 14, 2016 [31 favorites]


When I hear Texans talk about Texas, I understand why the rest of the world finds American exceptional is so insufferable. We get it. You really like big things and beef and hats.

I think this is why I'm especially annoyed with Austin. It's like you take the Texas exceptionalism attitude, and ramp it up a hundred times because not only do you live in Texas, but you live in its sole, God given, liberal bastion that's holding out Alamo-style against the remainder of the state. And it's not even that good of a city.
posted by Dalby at 3:16 PM on May 14, 2016 [11 favorites]


Texas Monthly, a magazine featuring such memorable covers as If You Don't Buy This Magazine, Dick Cheney Will Shoot You In The Face, has archived articles on its web site going back to its founding and years 1973-1992 can be viewed in their original format on Google Books.
posted by XMLicious at 3:18 PM on May 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


I have a couple of friends who are liberal Austinites, and they actually do the Texas pride thing as much as anyone. One of them actually has a Texas tattoo. I find it vaguely endearing, and I'm not sure why.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:19 PM on May 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Austin: Texas handlebar hipster twisty mustaches.
posted by oflinkey at 3:20 PM on May 14, 2016


"Anybody who wanders around the world saying, "Hell yes, I'm from Texas," deserves whatever happens to him."

Hunter S. Thompson
posted by Marky at 3:20 PM on May 14, 2016 [19 favorites]


No one wants waffles in the shape of Rhode Island.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:20 PM on May 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


I think this is why I'm especially annoyed with Austin. It's like you take the Texas exceptionalism attitude, and ramp it up a hundred times because not only do you live in Texas, but you live in this sole, God given, liberal bastion that's holding out Alamo-style against the remainder of the state.

How is that different from San Francisco in CA, or Portland in OR? Most of California is pretty rural / agricultural / conservative, and I understand Oregon to be similar.
posted by cj_ at 3:21 PM on May 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Anecdotally true in my case. I have online friends in Austin that are very camp. I recall seeing a demographic map in ~2012 and Austin was a dot of blue in a sea of red.

The one Texan I've had to work with was from Dallas though, and he was completely insufferable. Seemed to think I'd like to hear whatever he read off some conservative blog that morning everyday. Also thought that WMD's were found in Iraq, which justified the war, but it was being suppressed by the media. Drove me insane. I told him, if that were true conservatives would never shut up about it. Every sentence would begin with 'when we found the WMDs...'

Wouldn't listen to reason or facts. I ended up just putting in my mental headphones whenever he talked to me.
posted by adept256 at 3:24 PM on May 14, 2016


Most of California is pretty rural / agricultural / conservative

Geographically, sure. Not in terms of actual population, though.

(As someone pointed out in, IIRC, 2008, when Republicans were making a big deal of how many states voted for them, "dirt doesn't vote".)
posted by asterix at 3:25 PM on May 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


There are several Etsy shops that will make you a cutting board in the shape of your state, whatever that may be. Some of them are definitely more practical than others. New Jersey is an awkward cutting board. North Dakota just looks like a square cutting board where someone got distracted and messed up the right side.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:26 PM on May 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


I recall seeing a demographic map in ~2012 and Austin was a dot of blue in a sea of red.

Only true if you ignore the parts of the state on the Mexico border.
posted by asterix at 3:26 PM on May 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


you live in its sole, God given, liberal bastion that's holding out Alamo-style against the remainder of the state.

Austin is a liberal bastion but let's not forget the Dallas County, Harris County (Houston), and Bexar County (San Antonio), and the Rio Grande Valley all went for Obama in both 2008 and 2012.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:29 PM on May 14, 2016 [13 favorites]


Never understood getting all bent out of shape because someplace 500 miles away ain't like here. I don't want to live in Texas, NYC, California or the U. P., don't see any reason they need to change to meet my preferences either. Hell, they're all nice places to visit, except NYC. (Texas text book purchases for schools is the exception.)
posted by ridgerunner at 3:32 PM on May 14, 2016


The best thing anyone ever said about Texans was John Steinbeck's description of Montana in Travels with Charley (emphasis added):
It seems to me that Montana is a great splash of grandeur. The scale is huge but not overpowering. The land is rich with grass and color, and the mountains are the kind I would create if mountains were ever put on my agenda. Montana seems to me to be what a small boy would think Texas is like from hearing Texans.
posted by dersins at 3:43 PM on May 14, 2016 [41 favorites]


When I lived in Santa Monica a house a couple blocks from me went on the market and the big reveal in the listing was that omg they had a swimming pool shaped like California, soooo coooool. But in retrospect, yeah, kind of a Texan thing.

But okay. I grew up in California and both my parents did too so I honestly have no idea... do other states not teach state history as part of the public school curriculum? I was honestly looking forward to my kids being in fourth grade because I know so little about the history of Washington. Are you all telling me I should go find a book to read instead?
posted by town of cats at 3:47 PM on May 14, 2016


Hell, they're all nice places to visit, except NYC.

Yeah, it's the best place to visit.
posted by saul wright at 3:47 PM on May 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


I grew up in Texas but I've lived in California for over 15 years now. I like to take my friends from other countries to my family's ranch in West Texas. We get them on horses and guns (safety first!). They ride in pickup trucks. My Mom feeds them queso and brisket because that's how we do. It's pretty much what people picture in their heads when they hear about Texas. It's a great time. And then, back to California we go. Home, sweet home.
posted by kamikazegopher at 3:48 PM on May 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


“My boyfriend (from N.Y.C.) says he’s never been in a state that prints pictures of itself on everything.”

He's never been to Colorado, then. We print pictures of our state everywhere. Hell, the paper we print them on is Colorado-shaped.

Texas has got nothing on us.
posted by ernielundquist at 4:13 PM on May 14, 2016 [22 favorites]


I love the Italian who ended his comment with, "I miss you'll."
posted by clawsoon at 4:20 PM on May 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


How is that different from San Francisco in CA, or Portland in OR? Most of California is pretty rural / agricultural / conservative, and I understand Oregon to be similar.

Also Nashville. Big time.
posted by blucevalo at 4:21 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't see what the big deal is. Texas is such a tiny state. Back in Western Australia we have electoral districts bigger than Texas.
posted by Talez at 4:21 PM on May 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


Ray Wylie Hubbard put it this way. (slyt)
posted by shockingbluamp at 4:23 PM on May 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Most of California is pretty rural / agricultural / conservative

Geographically, sure. Not in terms of actual population, though.


Having said that, Texas is also only 15% rural by population (and 97% rural by area).
posted by blucevalo at 4:25 PM on May 14, 2016


Lyle Lovett & His Large Band , "That's Right (You're Not From Texas)"
posted by kirkaracha at 4:38 PM on May 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Hint: Texans don't talk about Texas because they are Texans and don't need to. All others are suspect...
posted by jim in austin at 4:39 PM on May 14, 2016


It used to be fun to be from Texas but it's become too associated with the conservative dumbass contingent (many of them Yankee transplants, ironically) so not so much anymore.
posted by emjaybee at 4:52 PM on May 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


Here in Louisiana we have most of Texas' bad habits, including voting Republican and putting pictures of our state on everything, without a lot of its supersized virtues. But we also have the best food anywhere and Mardi Gras.
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:53 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


All the people I've known from Texas describe public schooling in that state as indoctrination in the belief that texas is supreme. That seems unique in the US.
posted by Ferreous at 5:06 PM on May 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


The motto of UT-Austin, where I'm in grad school, is "What Starts Here Changes the World."

When I moved to Austin, one of the first billboards I saw was a Lone Star ad that threatened, "Drinking any other beer is treason" and proclaimed Lone Star "the National Beer of Texas."

There is so much I cannot stand about Texas exceptionalism, Texas history, Texas politics, Texas education. I am a bleeding-heart pacifist from the Rust Belt with a healthy dose of home state pride.

And yet. I own a "Come and Take It" mug. I finally got myself a good pair of boots last year. And I can't imagine leaving this place any time soon.
posted by come_back_breathing at 5:10 PM on May 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


In the late 90s I worked at a community college in west Texas (Odessa). In response to I think some news story, one of my students said to me, 100% seriously, "I would die for Texas, but not for this country."

I've never had a student in any of the other three states where I've taught ever say anything approaching that level of state devotion.

That said, I've yet to find a really good tamale here in New England. Not even close.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 5:20 PM on May 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't mind Texas at all. Their right wing loonies take a little pressure off us. (Florida)
posted by notreally at 5:34 PM on May 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'll never understand this state, I'll just appreciate the magic of living here. There's this alchemic recipe for badass people: when you take the righteous "fuck you, I'm from Texas" attitude of birthright (which is available to anyone who chooses to reside here for a non-specified period of time) and combine it with a progressive, compassionate worldview, you end up with all these scrappy, fierce libruls who fucking FEED on "conservative," "divisionary" politics and somehow turn it into positive energy. And the holy loophole is that the state's "live and let live" ethos, which is under attack by our current crop of lizard people higher ups, but which is the blood vein of everything we think we can pull off down here, means that these magic ppl tend to assume the right to keep on pushing their cause come hell (summer)/high water (floods 2 weeks ago).

Anyway, live down here for most of your life, and if you can handle urban living, you'll find yourself surrounded by these magical energetic fucks. It's crazy. The idea of ideological defeat is literally incompatible with the fight their fighting. That "Come and take it" canon is just as much for us as it is for anyone else here.

It's the reason I got the Texas flag tattoo on my left calf, the one that Keith Gulla correctly said needs a matching "GOOD OL' BOY" with a skull wearing confederate flag bandanna on the opposite. He said that when I showed it to him the day after my 30th birthday at the Unicorns show at Walter's, by the way. Hahaha I'd never get that tattoo good one Keith. But it would fit. Aesthetically or whatever.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 5:51 PM on May 14, 2016 [19 favorites]


Because of the existence of the Texas School Board, and its influence on the textbooks used in every state, my personal opinion is that Texas can just fuck right off.
posted by JohnFromGR at 5:53 PM on May 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


It used to be fun to be from Texas but it's become too associated with the conservative dumbass contingent (many of them Yankee transplants, ironically) so not so much anymore.

This.

All joking aside, being from Texas when you no longer live in Texas is a really complicated thing. I first moved outside the state in 1998, from Austin to Boston. "King of the Hill" was new-ish and was getting popular. George W. Bush was increasingly featured in the national media because he was gearing up to announce that he was going to run for president.

I didn't realize until moving to Boston how much I actually had been "indoctrinated," for lack of a better word. I don't know why, but I was proud of it. Being from Texas made me interesting in a way I wouldn't have been if I was from, whatever, Utah, or Washington, or Florida. I was eager to tell people I was from Texas, because it was really one of the most notable things about me. It was a social mulligan.

Then GWB did announce his run. And, as we all know, he won. By the time he was elected, I'd moved back to Austin, and then to California. And that's when I stopped telling people I'm from Texas unless it felt safe. Because at that point, and especially after 9/11 when Bush turned all warmonger, it felt like people thought I was to blame for his idiocy. Hell, I didn't vote for him! I hated him! But upon learning I was from Texas, people would almost invariably launch into some diatribe or other. It was like I was suddenly the suggestion box, like I had a sign around my neck that said "Do you know how we can improve Texas? Drop a card in the slot!"

So I stopped telling people, at least until I knew them better. That hasn't changed.

Last week I was in the break room in our office with two professors I'm friendly with. They're my age; we're contemporaries. We like each other and respect each other. Both of them grew up in California and have lived elsewhere, but came back. One of them -- we'll call her Jane for the purposes of this anecdote -- mentioned to me that she'd done a Google search on a murder mystery that is currently gripping my hometown. I'd told her about it in passing because it's a bizarre story, and she knows I'm from Texas because she worked at a Texas university for a while, so she felt safe, and we've traded stories about living there. This other professor, let's call him Mike, took an interest in the murder story and said "Oh, where's your hometown?" And Jane said, "Uh, duh, Texas. Didn't you know she was from Texas?"

I swear to god -- he had a look on his face like he'd just bitten into a lemon. He shook his head and, grimacing, said "No, I didn't know that. I had no idea." I'm not kidding.

And you know what, we're fine. I'm still friendly with them. I wasn't offended. He was about 10% joking. And even though the other 90% was an honest reaction, I don't hold it against him. The rest of the country is indoctrinated about Texas too, so you can't really blame them.

But no, I don't automatically tell people anymore. It's too much of an invitation to judge, and to make assumptions, and it's just not worth it to me to be "interesting" in that way.

And Metafilter threads about Texas are usually awful. They usually reinforce everything I said above. This one hasn't been too terrible, though, so thanks from all of us who live or lived there, and who want to say that Texas isn't our fault.

All the people I've known from Texas describe public schooling in that state as indoctrination in the belief that texas is supreme.

It's subtle, but it's there. And it works. Worked on me, anyway.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:00 PM on May 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


And as a PS: I think I've said this here before, but I never feel as judged telling people I'm gay as I do telling them I'm from Texas.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:07 PM on May 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


And in both cases -- born that way!
posted by mudpuppie at 6:09 PM on May 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


And yet. I own a "Come and Take It" mug. I finally got myself a good pair of boots last year. And I can't imagine leaving this place any time soon.

Reactions vary. I got there a difference saw the same parochial chauvinism as you did and almost immediately started trying to leave. I wonder if any of the difference is that being a USAF brat and having lived in 12 or 15 places by the time I moved there shaped me to see that kind of attachment to anywhere as annoyingly irrational?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:11 PM on May 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


How is that different from San Francisco in CA, or Portland in OR? Most of California is pretty rural / agricultural / conservative, and I understand Oregon to be similar.

Well, the difference, as I understand it, is how people understand their state regardless of the facts.

I think factually most places overemphasize their political differences. You look at how some stereotypically liberal state vote in elections, and the percentage can be only around 60% for the liberal candidate. I mean sure, that's a large enough margin for this to be a safe Democrat state, but it's not like everyone who lives there is a Democrat. If you're in a group of five, that comes out to 3 of y'all being a Democrat and 2 Republican. If you're looking at a safe Republican state, that means 3 of y'all are a Republican and 2 Democrat. Yeah sure, you blow up those numbers and instead you're look at maybe 3 million Democrats versus 2 million Republicans, but the point is that the percentages really aren't that extreme.

So sure, look at Texas, it's only voting like 55% or 57% Republican in the last few presidential elections. It's a safe Republican state, but it's clearly not that Texas is just a bunch of bible thumping, gun carrying rednecks. Yet it does have that perception, and that's the sort of image that people have of Texas, both people inside and out. And that's the sort of image that's partly wound up in the attraction or story of Austin. Yeah, sure, the other urban cities also tend to vote Democrat (as urban cities do). And you look down south to the border and they're voting Democrat too. But people ignore that.

And so that's what sets Austin apart from like San Francisco and Portland. Sure, there's large parts of California and Oregon that are Republican, but the stereotypical image of both of those states is that they're filled with nothing but same-sex marrying, prius-driving, marijuana smoking liberals.

Ultimately, any and every major city is just like Austin or San Francisco. You've got the Democrat voting city, surrounded by a Republican voting rural/suburbia block. That's why it shouldn't be too much of a shocker to see "progressive Wisconsin" vote in Scott Walker, because guess what, there's all those places that aren't Milwaukee or Madison that are going to be voting Red. And maybe all it takes is a favorable population distribution one decade in order to switch a state's party allegiance.
posted by Dalby at 6:11 PM on May 14, 2016 [9 favorites]




Texas Monthly, a magazine featuring such memorable covers as If You Don't Buy This Magazine, Dick Cheney Will Shoot You In The Face, has archived articles on its web site going back to its founding and years 1973-1992 can be viewed in their original format on Google Books.



If you want more Molly Ivins, Jim Hightower and the like, and more long-form political writing in general, The Texas Observer site has print archives going back to 1960.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:35 PM on May 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


I wonder if any of the difference is that being a USAF brat and having lived in 12 or 15 places by the time I moved there shaped me to see that kind of attachment to anywhere as annoyingly irrational?

That's a good point. I've only lived in three other states besides Texas, and have varying levels of attachment to each of them. But part of the reason my attachment to Texas runs so much deeper is that I feel like this is the place where I finally developed my own identity. The reasons I feel that way are not directly related to Texas, but I do wonder how living in a state with such a strong sense of identity (for better or worse) has shaped that self-perception.
posted by come_back_breathing at 6:47 PM on May 14, 2016


Most people around the world form their opinion of Texas from the few Texans they have seen most often in the news -- George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, Tom DeLay, Louis Gohmert, Rick Perry, Greg Abbott, Ross Perot, Ron Paul.

It's not a flattering picture.
posted by JackFlash at 6:49 PM on May 14, 2016


Bottom line, and it's a big line, is that at the end of the day, what non Texans think about us doesn't matter at all. The very fact that haters will hate regardless and it doesn't and never will make any difference to a Texan. The fact that we don't give a flying shit what you think is what galls the rest of the world. It is like, "Well, you SHOULD CARE about our opinion"!! We don't. Period.

Fucks given = 0
posted by shockingbluamp at 6:53 PM on May 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


That said, I've never seen a California shaped sink. Too narrow, would be prone to backsplash, I think.

A California-shaped urinal trough would work great, however.
posted by clorox at 6:56 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


It was so short of a piece to really get into it!

Texas identity is pretty much described as sprawl and lots of different communities living next to but not really with each other.

Go to places like Frisco or Sugarland and it's really Asian. McMansions housed by oil execs in Dallas. Lots of immigrant labor.

I can't get it -- Texas is what happens when land and labor are cheap and you have a shore and a huge natural resource like oil and where the poor pay a very higher than expected piece of public spending needs.

It has 26 mill people and spends a budget of 99 billion (2015) -- About $3500 pp. Massachusetts, which is very much what Texas is not -- progressive income tax, insures all its people, public transport (for the US) has 6.3 mill and spends 37 billion -- about $5800 pp.

Texas is a lot of things but I doubt a rancher in Waco, a Mexican immigrant manual laborer wherever, an Indian IT exec in Frisco, a periodontist in Dallas, etc have that much in common with each other. In fact, they should be proud of how diverse the state is in that regard (not mentioned in the piece).

But, I'd argue to save this "state identity argument" for states that view their people as investments and spend accordingly. Again in Massachusetts, that Boston biotech exec, that Mexican immigrant laborer, that waitress from South Boston, etc. at least have a spending system and social welfare net that sort of binds them. Texas really lacks that.

I live in the North and am upper middle class and have seen a decent amount of peers and colleagues move their for: 1) family 2) weather 3) a really low cost of living (and to avoid the taxes of up here also) 4) more tolerable weather.

The article does not really mention any of that.
posted by skepticallypleased at 6:58 PM on May 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell, I guess that's because we were only a republic for a little over 3 weeks ( bear flag notwithstanding).

Axylotl, Liz Carpenter too.

The bed is called a California king because it's narrower and wider(4" both ways) than a regular king.
posted by brujita at 7:00 PM on May 14, 2016


First off, Shrub ain't a Texan. He's a carpetbagger, along with the rest of his family. On top of that, he's a Yankee.

Rove ain't a Texan either. And Ron Paul ain't either.

Of course, I haven't had the pleasure of living in the republic in 31 years, so the rules might have changed a bit. But I'm pretty sure Shrub is still considered all hat and no cattle. At least among the intelligent Texans.

Yes, Texas is a state of being. If you're from Texas, you know what I mean. If you're not, you think we're all blowhards. Both views are correct.
posted by jdfan at 7:21 PM on May 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


So wait, Ron Paul who has lived in Texas for the last 50 years and served as a Texas Congressman for almost 40 years is no Texan. But you who haven't lived there for 31 years are a Texan? I guess you are right. It must be a state of mind.
posted by JackFlash at 7:35 PM on May 14, 2016 [16 favorites]


I'm not going to try and pretend to be unbiased about Texas, but my negative feelings are 85% from the amount of times I've had to drive across it, which is what you do in hell, forever. I'm having a hard time trying to figure out to express my impression without sounding more negative than I want to.

The thing I don't really understand is that in the admittedly short, but frequent amounts of time I've spent there I didn't really sense anything particularly unique or distinct or anything about Texas, other than all the mentions of Texas. Much less so than practically any other state I've been to. It reminds me of an Abercrombie and Fitch sweatshirt. I know it says in big letters that it's something special, but just looking at it it's hard to see what that is.

This is what makes it hard to understand the fuss. I believe the people that say you have to live there.
posted by bongo_x at 7:40 PM on May 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


Yeah, one thing I like about the overblown Texas patriotism is that it's open to anyone who moves there. It actually makes it easy to feel like you're part of the place quickly. There isn't the "you had to have been born here" sense of exclusion, and a lot of my northern friends who've moved to Austin have put Texas maps on their wall, learned how to pronounce Manor, and joined in the fun.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 7:44 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Every state I've ever lived in, including Ohio, Washington, North Carolina, and Idaho, had a course in That State History, usually in middle school. I'm baffled that anyone would see that as some kind of odd Texas thing.
posted by straight at 8:07 PM on May 14, 2016 [14 favorites]


Ursula Le Guin, talking about visions of Utopias in her book Dancing At The Edge Of The World, has a quote from Professor Kenneth Roemer:
The importance of this question was forced upon me several years ago in a freshman comp course at the University of Texas at Arlington. I asked the class to write a paper in response to a hypothetical situation: if you had unlimited financial resources and total local, state, and national support, how would you transform Arlington, Texas into utopia? A few minutes after the class had begun to write, one of the students -- a mature and intelligent woman in her late thirties -- approached my desk. She seemed embarrassed, even upset. She asked, "What if I believe that Arlington, Texas, is utopia?"
Le Guin's remark on that was: "What are you going to do with her in Walden Two?"
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:14 PM on May 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


Straight, thank you - that was really bugging me because I had always heard the same. Now, that said, I cannot tell you how many times I've heard from my Texas-raised friends that they thought every kid in the US took Texas history. That they were in fact shocked to find out that Oklahoma kids took Oklahoma history and Kansas kids took Kansas history and so on. Whatever they are teaching in Texas history class must be really freaking impressive.
posted by double bubble at 8:17 PM on May 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Welp, I was reading this thread on my phone, and I think some comments have been deleted. So I'll try to muddle through, rather than quoting prior comments.

As I've mentioned before, I had a crazy, half-Texan childhood. I now live in East Tennessee (and do not confuse us with Middle or West Tennessee; these are the Grand Divisions and the reason that we have 3 [yes, three!] stars on our State flag, instead of Texas' paltry single star. Every state has its story.)

So my dad was the son of West Texas cattle ranchers. I learned many useful, practical things from him and his family; how to drive a three-on-the-tree, how to ride a horse, how to wear a hat (functionally but also properly.) These are all valuable skills that I use regularly, except maybe the three-on-the-tree thing.

My mom is mostly from Alice, TX... mostly. Her upbringing was complicated, but she became a deeply-committed progressive. She has fought loud battles and quiet battles her whole life, to make this country and world a little kinder to her daughter and to everyone else. And if you bring up, "But you're from Texas..." as if that were a contradiction, well, she reserves a withering look and all 5'1" and 98-pounds of her will convince you that there is indeed a deeply-held vein of progressivism that is *inherent* in the Texan psyche.

...and she can back this up with all kinds of first-hand stories that I've never seen documented (I pretty much run a tape recorder when she talks, but it bugs her. I do the best I can.) She tells me about big ranchholders, Back in the Day, who were Jewish and didn't let ANYONE treat their Black/Hispanic/etc. hands as less than equal.. Mom tells me about the legacy of Black cowboys, immediately after the Civil war, who worked and got paid and found wives and settled Texas as free, dignified men during Jim Crow in the rest of the South. History is complicated.
posted by workerant at 8:23 PM on May 14, 2016 [11 favorites]


[There've been no deletes in this thread, just FYI.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:25 PM on May 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'll try harder.
posted by bongo_x at 8:27 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of surprised that learning Texas history in elementary school is so strange to non-Texans. it sure as shit didn't indoctrinate me into anything, but I like playing up Texan stereotypes to non-Texan friends because it's fun. but what's wrong with taking pride in where you're from? Texas is a lot of things, and reflexively gagging and associating it with a few republican assholes is some childish shit
posted by p3on at 8:48 PM on May 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


Anyway, live down here for most of your life, and if you can handle urban living, you'll find yourself surrounded by these magical energetic fucks. It's crazy.

This is absolutely my favorite thing about Texas, and it applies to the freaks and the artists and the queers and the nice little old ladies who, if you catch them in a mood or two drinks down will tell you shit you wish you'd been alive to see. I spent most of 38 years in Nacogdoches and Denton and Fort Worth and Dallas, funky and weird all my life and always, always I could find My People and they were amazing. I'm in Los Angeles now, where the pressure is always on to be amazing instantly, but there...there's room to spread out a little in Texas, and to make a thing without it needing $3K/month in rent, and without having the pressure of needing to be instantly superlative but also having the freedom to be superlative if that happened to happen. You could be kinky in Dallas without being The Best Kinky, you could work on your Tight Five stand-up minutes without having to be Conan-ready instantly, you could be a part-time bass player and have a good IT job at the same time.

I am as disheartened as anybody about the shit that is Majorly Fucking Wrong with Texas, but the parts are so much more interesting than the sum of the whole and the sum of the bullshit. Ann Richards and Molly Ivins were a critical part of my late teens/early 20s, and so was Robert Rodriguez and Tripping Daisy and the Stars. So was fishing for croppie in the lakes, and the lumber industry, and my dad catering for NASA and the NTSB while they were recovering Space Shuttle Columbia fragments in the woods where I had partied as a dumb kid.

It's a big place, I think that's one of the things that trips people up. It's too big to be one thing. It's so big it's legendary by default. It has a mythology that's better and more cohesive than California or Alaska. I wish everybody got to take a State History class as interested in itself as Texas History (7th grade, for this old lady). I wish everybody got to have breakfast at Las Manitas in the last days before SXSWi got fucking stupid, and sat next to Lyle Lovett and Paul Reiser having huevos rancheros together.

Arlington, TX is not utopia, but I worked there and lived nearby for some years and I can see how someone would think it was. I got most of my tattoos and piercings near if not in Arlington. I love North Texas in ways I don't even know how to articulate. I still think about stopping at the neighborhood taco joint in my wedding gown and his tuxedo on the way home, to get carnitas and fish tacos that we ate in our underwear on the back porch after the wedding. It's a magical place, which you cannot get if you haven't been long enough to appreciate, and which is not a thing I could tell someone about California.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:50 PM on May 14, 2016 [31 favorites]


Hell, they're all nice places to visit, except NYC.

Yeah, it's the best place to visit.


Well, if that's what you like, I hope you get back there a lot.
A trip down through the bayous to Port Arthur, across the coastline, along the Rio Bravo del Norte to the Big Bend, up through the canyons east of the Cap Rock, then follow the Red River to the Quachita Mountains might work better for folks that don't favor megalopolises.

I still rather live in the Ozarks even if our Republicans are crazier than them in Texas.
posted by ridgerunner at 9:02 PM on May 14, 2016


Did Boyhood capture or express any of this Texas greatness? (Other than the cool scenery at that school in the end -- really not a spoiler alert).
posted by skepticallypleased at 9:07 PM on May 14, 2016


Did Boyhood capture or express any of this Texas greatness?

Quite a few of my older relatives who grew up in Texas but live there no longer loved that movie, which you wouldn't expect for a three-hour post-modern plot-less chronicle of a 21st c. kid's life. I think nostalgia was a big part of that, and specific character & storytelling choices Linklater made to elide the generation gap.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:22 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Did Boyhood capture or express any of this Texas greatness? (Other than the cool scenery at that school in the end -- really not a spoiler alert).

imo, as a guy a few years older than the main character: yes, absolutely. that film resonated so tightly with my experience in so many ways that it feels like a personal mythology. but that's a pretty subjective reaction, and i don't know how well it would translate
posted by p3on at 9:24 PM on May 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm confused by all of the "but kids in Texas learn Texan history!" grousing. I went to K12 school in three separate states before I moved to Texas for grad school, and I literally ran into state history requirements in every single one of them. Even Kansas, which is pretty sparse on state history once you get past Bleeding Kansas and pioneers. Georgia and Virginia have more to work with, but both of them clearly emphasized state-specific history, too.

Is this seriously not a thing in other US states?
posted by sciatrix at 9:36 PM on May 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


I mean, yeah, I learned Michigan history in grade school in Michigan. But it was pretty obvious to all of us that it was a dumb requirement that had been tacked onto the curriculum, and that nothing we were learning was of real national or global importance. (And perversely, the stuff that was of real importance — the Great Migration, the auto industry, the Detroit riots — got left out of that part of the curriculum.)

It's like when you get to Marie Curie in science class, and you're like "Okay, I guess this is neat, but I know there's no way you'd be spending all this time on her if you weren't desperate to get a woman into the textbook somehow." And so you file the whole thing as Not Really Important (unfairly, FWIW, but so it goes) and stop listening.

I got the impression that the version of Texas history that Texan schoolkids learn doesn't have that same Not Really Important vibe to it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:45 PM on May 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I grew up in Alaska, and Alaska definitely puts images of itself all over everything. Alaska, coincidentally, is FULL OF TEXANS. If you don't get the outline of the state, you get the Big Dipper (state flag).

Alaska schools do teach state history, but it's nice and short.
posted by taterpie at 10:16 PM on May 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Holy shit I was born and raised in Arlington I can tell you categorically that it is Utopia only for SUVs and hell for anything else. It is a soulless, traffic-strangled suburb with neither identity nor charm. Unless you find giant parking lots, of which it has an abundance, charming.
posted by emjaybee at 10:26 PM on May 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


mudpuppie, I think every former Texan I know who moved to California kind of apologizes for it (and/or makes comments about dropping their accent) when they are forced to admit their origins. Hell, a few days ago I was hearing a guy I know say, "Yes, I'm from Texas, yes, I moved, love my family, hate Texas."
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:51 PM on May 14, 2016


I've got it. Texas is basically Yorkshire with sun and guns.
posted by quarsan at 10:59 PM on May 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


That's right, you're not from Texas, but Texas wants you anyway.
posted by unknowncommand at 11:21 PM on May 14, 2016


I learned Texas history in 7th grade and I read in Texas Monthly a few years back that they do it in 7th grade because you're more likely to remember what you learn at that age.

Also, I went to the University of Texas and Texas Government is a general course requirement. Of course, UT being the giant awesome school it is, there were a few different interesting classes offered that would cover that credit.
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:11 AM on May 15, 2016


Arkansas also taught state history. Which was quite interesting for frontier times, Civil War, and Reconstruction. Especially Reconstruction with the Brooks-Baxter War, which was an armed coup and series of skirmishes re-fighting the basic conflicts of the Civil War.

Arkansas always had a weird relationship to Texas. Arkansas always considered itself a rival, and underdog, to Texas while Texas never seemed to notice at all. Well, below notice except for the former Southwest Conference, which was a bunch of Texas universities plus the University of Arkansas. The UA vs. UT games were especially heated and occasionally violent. Guess the feeling of inadequacy goes back to frontier times when Arkansas was chiefly regarded as a wild and dangerous place to pass through for settlers on their way to Texas. The only people who settled in Arkansas were thought of as the leftovers. The people too violent, crazy, drunk, and/or stupid for Texas. Or so the story goes.

Anyways, if you're looking for quality Texas-phobia, Arkansas is the place to go. Or it used to be, when I was a kid. They'd put even coastal liberal enclaves to shame in the fear and loathing of the lone star state.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:24 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've got it. Texas is basically Yorkshire with sun and guns.

From here, it's Bavaria, but flatter.
posted by ojemine at 4:20 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


No one wants waffles in the shape of Rhode Island.
Shut up, you!

-Love, a person from Rhode Island who tears open the first waffle from each batch to make sure it's cooked, and then tells the kids it's geographically accurate
posted by wenestvedt at 4:23 AM on May 15, 2016


Michiganders display the state with a bit more subtlety.
posted by pjenks at 4:56 AM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Married a Texan in Illinois, so of course we move to Texas. House hunting in Dallas, I strike up a conversation with a perky grocery cashier, and when she finds out I'm looking to move there, she is genuinely tickled pink that I have FINALLY seen the light and am moving to Texas. I was not in the least surprised.

Up east, the conversation with the cashier would go differently. I would expect to be viewed as competition for parking space.

Initially a skeptic, it was the month of April that sold me on Texas. Lady Bird had this thing about wildflowers. It's glorious.
posted by skippyhacker at 4:59 AM on May 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Retiring next year. Plan to move back to San Antonio.

South Texas is more politically liberal, its got the Hill Country, the culture, and the food. Oh, and the music and did I mention the food?. San Antonio is one of America's unique cities. Come and visit some time.
posted by sudogeek at 5:24 AM on May 15, 2016


So Texans feel about Texas the way I feel about Minnesota? Except I have the advantage of being right.

Even Molly Ivins said Minneapolis would be the best city on earth if the weather didn't try to kill you for six months out of the year. But we Minnesotans like weather like that. Keeps the riffraff out.

Minneapolitans think of Ivins as a Minneapolitan, by the way. She got her start at the Tribune.
posted by maxsparber at 5:50 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


That said, I've never seen a California shaped sink. Put the faucet up in the Owens Valley and the drain down near Los Angeles and you'll have something pretty accurate. Being a Californian in Texas is a special kind of limbo, not being able to decide which state to be proud of so I usually just keep quiet 'cause it's never going to go well.
posted by Standeck at 6:49 AM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


One of my best friends was from Texas—Abilene, to be exact, though he'd lived in Dallas (and was there when Kennedy was shot, and claimed to know all sorts of stuff about that, but he was a prize bullshitter, so who knows); he hadn't lived there since the '60s (he moved to New Orleans, which he loved, and then New York, where he spent the rest of his life), but he had the Texan's typical lifelong, passionate attachment to his native state. He was about as wild-eyed (and cynical) a radical as you can be, and he hated what had happened to the place politically, but Texas was still the greatest state and Texans were the greatest people. He taught me a hell of a lot about both editing and life, and though I'll never understand the Texas thing from the inside, I respect it thanks to him (and the various proud Texans right here on MeFi).
posted by languagehat at 7:50 AM on May 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


I grew up in Houston, moved away 30 years ago. I've never considered myself an ex-Texan as I never considered myself just a "Texan". I guess I'm the exception to the rule but the fewer ties I have with the state of Texas, the better.
posted by damnitkage at 7:51 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also, he once mailed me a huge cowboy hat which is sitting on top of the bookshelf to my right as I type. Damn, I miss him.
posted by languagehat at 7:51 AM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


From a joke book I had as a kid :

Texan: What does Alaska have more of than Texas?

Alaskan: Size. ...and modesty!
posted by brujita at 8:37 AM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Though I increasingly tire of it, I will again point out that Texas is a smack-dab moderate state by population that is gerrymandered straight to hell. As I said recently.
posted by cmoj at 8:44 AM on May 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


Michigan's state quarter was designed to highlight the shape of the state and the Great Lakes. I once received an arty love-note from a boy from Ohio that was titled 'You are the Mitten above my Heart.' When Wisconsin tried to pretend it was mitten-shaped, Michiganders were puzzled and appalled in equal measure.

Weird love of state shapes is not exclusive to Texas is what I'm trying to get at.
posted by palindromic at 9:03 AM on May 15, 2016


Though I increasingly tire of it, I will again point out that Texas is a smack-dab moderate state by population that is gerrymandered straight to hell. As I said recently.

Arguably it used to be, but statewide elections for the past twenty years say otherwise. If you look at surveys and just naively compare state to state, it's about a standard deviation more conservative than the US as a whole. Ohio and Pennsylvania are what smack-dab moderate for the US looks like.

Along the lines that you're thinking, though, the differences in the distribution of ideology between states are substantially more muted than most people might think, and you only start to see really clear differences when you're comparing states at one extreme (like VT/MA/NY or UT/ID/SC) to other states.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:32 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


While that is true about statewide elections, part of the reason for at least the ladt decade is that the Democratic party has been totally ineffective. Its like GWB came along and the party just forgot how to win there.
posted by LizBoBiz at 9:45 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


My Texan husband had two full years of Texan history in place of any other sort of history. An alarming number of his teachers in other subjects were primarily football coaches. That was not my experience in NJ/Florida schools.
posted by armacy at 9:53 AM on May 15, 2016


Bottom line, and it's a big line, is that at the end of the day, what non Texans think about us doesn't matter at all. The very fact that haters will hate regardless and it doesn't and never will make any difference to a Texan. The fact that we don't give a flying shit what you think is what galls the rest of the world. It is like, "Well, you SHOULD CARE about our opinion"!! We don't. Period. Fucks given = 0

Thanks for taking the effort to drop by, and to tell us, so energetically, how much you don't care about what we think about you. You must really care about how much you don't care.

- - - TEXAS, ranked among the United States - - -

Note, some measures include the District of Columbia.

In population and size of state economy, second
In total pollution ("total environmental releases of toxic chemicals"), fourth
In release of toxic chemicals to air, fifth
In cancer risk, 11th
According to a libertarian-leaning list of "freedoms," put together by the Mercatus Center, 14th
For gun rights, 15th
In cost of living, 17th
On transgender rights, 27th ("very bad") according to refinery29
In per-capita gun ownership, 30th
By lowest crime index, 40th (that is to say, the 11th highest crime index, the chart's a bit wonky)
In state taxes, 42nd
In education, 43rd
In percent of population above the poverty line, 46th

Additionally, the worker's compensation system in Texas is unique to the nation. Employers are not required to provide worker's compensation to injured employees.
posted by JHarris at 10:12 AM on May 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


An alarming number of his teachers in other subjects were primarily football coaches. That was not my experience in NJ/Florida schools.

It is or was a thing in FL too, at least in Hillsborough and Alachua counties. I personally assure you of this. We've been in western NY nine years and I still get a kick every time we walk the dogs past our local high school and I observe how joyously, wonderfully dinky the football bleachers are.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:13 AM on May 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


My mom was born and raised (until 16, I think - it may have been 13) in Texas. She and her mom and brother moved to California, she fell in love with California and rarely speaks of Texas. And when she does, it isn't in glowing terms.

Ex-Texans unite.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:55 AM on May 15, 2016


ArbitraryAndCapricious: There are several Etsy shops that will make you a cutting board in the shape of your state, whatever that may be. Some of them are definitely more practical than others. New Jersey is an awkward cutting board. North Dakota just looks like a square cutting board where someone got distracted and messed up the right side.

♪ ♫ Oh Maryland, my Maryland
you make an awful cheese board ♫ ♪
posted by deludingmyself at 11:15 AM on May 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


It amazes me that Maryland is the 9th smallest state in the union by area and still takes nearly 6 hours to drive across from far tip to far tip.
posted by drlith at 11:29 AM on May 15, 2016


In terms of irritating regional tribalism, imo Texans aren't nearly as bad as people from the Bay Area or Boston.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:41 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


No one is from the Bay Area, we all just moved here.
posted by jamaro at 1:16 PM on May 15, 2016


For being the "Lone Star" state, there sure are a lot of Texas Stars around. I find it even more amusing when a single house has more than one giant star on the front.

mudpuppie: That said, I don't think any other state mandates that students pledge allegiance to the state flag, so I'll concede on that one.

Seventeen states have flag pledges. Two include vows to die for their flag. In short: American and state pledges, plus animated GIFs of state flags.

town of cats: do other states not teach state history as part of the public school curriculum?

Previously on Ask.Me: Which US states have state history classes?
posted by filthy light thief at 1:49 PM on May 15, 2016


As a European, my most memorable impression of Texas was formed by Warren Ellis' Crooked Little Vein.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:14 PM on May 15, 2016


In terms of irritating regional tribalism, imo Texans aren't nearly as bad as people from the Bay Area or Boston.

Texans and Bostonians think their critics aren't tough enough to live on their turf.

Bay Area types think their critics aren't smart enough.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:54 PM on May 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


An alarming number of his teachers in other subjects were primarily football coaches

In fairness, a large Texas public high school might have 300+ players across all age groups, requiring a large number of coaches (most of whom are actually volunteers).

But that's just culture, not an administrative choice, per se. If your school's marching band had 300 kids, you wouldn't be alarmed at the number of math teachers that pitched in to organize the sheet music.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:02 PM on May 15, 2016


How about if your Texas town voted to spend $63 million for a high school football stadium?
posted by JackFlash at 3:41 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


That kind of speaks to my point, actually. If this town really, really liked Broadway musicals, I bet they'd have a kick-ass theater.

But it's not the case where this town is 99 percent song-and-dance fans, and there's an evil one percent going, "Unh-huh. Football or GTFO." They voted. Voted. This is called "democracy." And these football players? They're learning just as much as the guy playing Jet No. 6 in a production of West Side Story.

But go ahead, let's all look down our noses at Texas. That's kinda what they want you to do. Makes 'em feel better about themselves.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:15 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


But go ahead, let's all look down our noses at Texas. That's kinda what they want you to do. Makes 'em feel better about themselves.

Well, then. Sneer away. Everyone's happy.
posted by JackFlash at 4:27 PM on May 15, 2016


Theater isn't likely to kill teens or leave them with long term brain injuries.
posted by Ferreous at 4:46 PM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


NYC: but, many years ago.

They told us about the Dutch, and Peter Stuyvesant. Took a few days, maybe a week. It was sort of New York, New York, meh.
posted by pjmoy at 4:57 PM on May 15, 2016


I think every former Texan I know who moved to California kind of apologizes for it

I don't think he apologizes for it, but I do remember the day in my West-Coast youth when I asked my Houston born-and-bred father why he didn't have a Texas accent. He looked at me evenly for a second and said, "Because I don't want to, son."

It's a magical place, which you cannot get if you haven't been long enough to appreciate, and which is not a thing I could tell someone about California.

That's cool. I'm glad Texans like Texas. I really liked my trip to Big Bend! But since we're sharing: I absolutely think California is magical and I could never love another place the way I love my home state.

posted by psoas at 7:51 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I moved to TX at the end of high school. Then and during college the Texas exceptionalism was grating.

It was gratifying to watch it die a horrible death as those Texans moved to and visited other places and realized how unexceptional their beloved state actually is.
posted by Seamus at 8:48 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


The longer I live here the less I think we're "special" in any way other than being an extremely large state with sometimes-violent weather, an interesting history and cuisine we largely owe to being close to Mexico, and a tendency to either be too complacent or too extreme in our politics. We can be hospitable and good Lord, do we like to eat. But the South can claim that also. We have our yee-ha cowboy history of course (yes, there were real cowboys; no, that never described most Texans), but again, that's not unique to us. Most of the stuff that happened here happened all over the west and south. Which is probably why people harp on about secession and fight over the right kind of chili and barbeque. And sell Texas-shaped things. And so on.

The one thing that I missed when I wasn't here was the sky; the flatness and openness means you get those giant vistas full of clouds or weather or sunsets that I missed living in cities. And it's why I never feel comfortable in the mountains or in a forest. But we can't really take credit for that.
posted by emjaybee at 8:54 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've been based in north Texas since I came here to go to one of the only female public universities in the nation, which also had an outstanding bioethics program years before anyone else. I've lived all over the world, and have visited more that I'd like to stay in for a while, but something always draws me back to the Dallas metroplex. Some suggest that is because dallas is a sucking vortex from which there is no escape, but even with the bigots and the loudmouths, and the teahadists, it's still the friendliest place I've ever lived. Complete strangers will stop and help you, everyone says howdy when you catch their eyes, children are generally polite, and outside of weather that is clearly trying to kill me this year, I love that I can see a wide open sky, even in downtown. I love that I'm 10 minutes from horses, and only an hour from Broadway theatre troupes and opera that is astonishing. I love that I can wear overalls to niemans and not be treated any differently than if I was wearing bespoke diamonds. I love that Bless your Heart means 12 different things, depending on audience and intonation. I love that Dallas is a tarted up whore with a heart of gold, who is completely shameless about it. I love that I'm still friends with my punk buddies from the 80s and we're still mostly all alive. Is there stuff I hate, sure...but all things considered Texas has been good for and to me.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:20 AM on May 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


I learned VA history in Virginia. I feel like it would be weird to encourage ignorance about the place you are from.
posted by zutalors! at 10:07 AM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm not a native, but I chose Houston in 1994. It's a fantastic city.
As the GOP in Texas edges ever closer to minority status, and gets more shrill and nuts as a result, one super frustrating about being a liberal in the state is the way that liberals from elsewhere tend to view the state as if it is uniformly GOP. I mean, just look at the comments here.
So much this.

I live in Houston. We barely noticed when we elected a lesbian mayor and became the biggest city in the country to do so, because she was clearly the most qualified candidate. A primary challenger tried, late in the game, to make an issue of it, and it blew up in his face. Sure, the right wing loved to hate her because she's a Democrat and gay, but she kept the job until she was term-limited out.

I think a good chunk of this "point and look and laugh" thing the NYT is doing is because so few places still have a real sense of place about them. Texas is still very much Texas, on the left and on the right, and in the cities and in the rural areas. There's also quite a bit of dramatic history around, which feeds the mythos (The Alamo, the Battle of San Jacinto, NASA, etc).

Also, I sort of assumed all states had a state history class in their public schools. Is that not the case? I took one in Mississippi; my college pals in Tuscaloosa had taken Alabama history; and so I was unsurprised to learn that my new friends in Houston had taken Texas history.
posted by uberchet at 10:15 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


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