Most people above forty or so probably remember the cultural, indeed cult, phenomenon of the television series Dallas. Every Friday night we gazed at the tube, transfixed by the latest machinations of the oily, ruthless J.R. Ewing and his long-suffering wife Sue Ellen. (She of the rabbity eyes.) I don’t think there is a man alive who didn’t have chivalrous rescue fantasies regarding Mrs. Ewing, and a desire to punch JR right in the jaw while carrying them out.
The series forever defined Dallas and Texas in the imagination of the nation, indeed the world. (The series was a bigger hit in the UK than it was here.) But remember this: IT WAS A TV SHOW, OK?
I moved to Texas from New York the year after Dallas premiered. My mother and grandmother always asked me “is it really like that?”. And, of course, while there is a sliver of truth in any stereotype, of course not.
The MSM treasures Texas for its stereotype value whenever a Texas politician, especially a Republican one, aims at national office. All of a sudden, lurid tales appear of gun crazy yahoos shooting people in the streets, greedy businessmen gleefully pumping poisonous chemicals into the environment, citizens routinely choking to death on said chemicals and nouveau riche ladies clawing their way up the social ladder. (As opposed to, say, the saintly mores of Wall Street and Hollywood).
It’s all nonsense. The state is a good place to live and work, especially work. Which is why people keep moving here. Texas has its problems, because human nature is everywhere. Even Harvard. But it did not rocket to its current position as the nation’s second most populous state because people throng here to be abused.
The chattering classes will chatter a lot about Texas as the nuttiness of the campaign season procedes. Pay them no heed.