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Enter a 1-year subscription, at $8.40 \(including 5% Name Street City, State Zip Bill me Check enclosed This is a gift subscription; send announcement signed as follows: OBSERVER E-1 600 WEST 7TH, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78701 “The annexation of Texas looks like one of those events which retard or retrograde the civili zation of ages.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Journal, March 1845 We can’t honestly say that Ralph Waldo has been proven dead wrong, but he said on another occasion that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. If there’s one thing we at The Texas Observer can’t abide it’s little-mindedness. We love the state of Texas, but we consider that a harmless perversion on our part. Texans like to point out that we’re Number One in oil production and Number One in cattle production. The Observer is concerned about the fact that we’re Number One in school dropouts and venereal disease. We’ve done our fair share of exposing the retrograde in Texas the forgotten homes for the retarded, the power brokers in the state legislature, the myriad miscarriages of justice, the Texas senator who says that $42,500-a-year isn’t a living anti-pollution boards. But the Observer also delights in and cherishes those aspects of Texas that set it apart from the increasingly bland sameness of Howard Johnson’s-superhighway-plastic America. We are firm believers in irreverence and dedicated connoisseurs of Texas Neanderthals Mad Dog Mengden, who sagely announced on the floor of the Senate this year, “This is the way I see the problem, if there is a problem, which I deny”; State Rep. Joe Salem, who personally went to Paris to negotiate with the Veet Kong; and Jerry Sadler, the Austin strangler. Who else would tell you about the roller skating pdnguins in Arlington, the Aurora spaceman and Dolph Daring’s closing of the Chicken Ranch with the panache such phenomena deserve? The Observer also writes about the many Texas movements and people we think are progressive, both the ones you’d expect to read about, such as Ralph Yarborough, Sissy Farenthold and La Raza Unida, and those you might not otherwise hear of Charles Derrick, the ombudsman at Gatesville, Dr. Pete Gunter and the other Big Thicket activists; Dr. George Sanchez, chicano educator; Major Jerry Sewell, a career soldier who became a conscientious objector; Amado Muro, the enigmatic El Paso writer; Ned Fritz and his much-maligned suburban prairie; Frances Jalet Cruz, a leader in the fight for prisoners’ rights. Life in this nation state can be frustrating, infuriating, repressive and insane, but it is almost never dull. Our brand of reporting doesn’t carry a brand the Observer is a maverick.. But it seems to sit well with folks who like their chili hot, their heroes human and their truth with the bark on it. If Ralph Waldo were still around, we think we could sell him a subscription.