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ranch in West Texas called Rio Duckworth. There is a radio station just across the border from Del Rio, Texas. It plays hymns during the day and broadcasts religious advertisements all night. They sell autographed pictures of Jesus to all you friends in radioland.. Also prayer rugs as a special gift for all your travellin’ salesmen friends with a picture of the face of Jesus on the prayer rug that glows in the dark. And underneath the picture is a legend that also glows in the dark, it’s written, “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery.” Texas is not full of rich people. Texas is full of poor people. The latest count is 22 percent of the folks here under the federal poverty line and the feds don’t set the line high. The rest of the country, they tell us, has 13 percent poor folks, including such no-account states as Mississippi. Because Texas is racist, 45 percent of the black folks and the brown folks are poor. Onliest foreign thang that approaches Texas politics is Illinois politics. We ain’t never left it lyin’ around in shoeboxes, elsewise, we got the jump on everybody. Texans do not talk like other Americans. They drawl, twang, or sound like the Frito Bandito, only not jolly. Shit is a three-syllable word with a y in it. Texans invent their own metaphors and similes, often of a scatological nature, which is kind of fun. As a group, they tell good stories well. The reason they are good at stories is because this is what anthropologists call an oral culture. That means people here don’t read and write much. Neither would you if the Dallas Morning News was all you had to read. Texas I believe it has been noted elsewhere is a big state. Someone else can tell you about the symphony orchestras and the experimental theaters and those Texans who are writing their PhD theses on U.S. imperialism in Paraguay 14 The Texas Observer and 17th-century Sanskrit literature. I’m just talking about what makes Texas Texas. PROMINENT TEXANS So I will tell you about my friend John Henry Faulk, who, back in the McCarthy era, which is still going strong here, was accused of being a “premature anti-fascist,” and that, he notes, made him as popular as a sick whore tryin’ to get into SMU Theology School. John Henry favors the Vietnam war on religious grounds he says that if we don’t bum ’em, they not gonna bum theyselves. Besides, he doesn’t like them. “We go over there to bum them Veetnamese send our best boys over in million-dollar airplanes, in broad daylight, wearin’ pressed uniforms, and what do them Veetnamese do? They come out at night. On their bicycles. Wearin’ pyjamas. Not even Christian. If they don’t like what we’re doin’ for ’em, they should just go back where they come from.” I will tell you about the radical president of the Texas labor movement Roy Evans, who spat, as it were, in Mr. Meany’s eye and said he damned well would work for George McGovern. And the Archbishop of San Antonio who is a chicano militant and about Miz Seay, my landlady, who only rents to good hippies. And Anders the Mad Dane, who takes us on canoeing trips so we can set around the fire at night and get drunk pickin’ and singin’ “Faded Love” and “Honky-Tonk Angel.” I will tell you about the Dirty Thirty, a group of legislators who don’t think it’s all right for the speaker of the House to do a bribery number, even if he can see to it that none of them are ever elected again. And about Zarko Franks, son of a Yugoslav bootlegger from Galveston, who believes that Baby Jesus never made an ugly woman. And Whiskey Bob Wheeler who lives in Tilden, Tex., and has read 37 books on Chairman Mao and the Chinese Revolution, not to mention the New York Review of Books every month. He says there aren’t too many people to talk to in Tilden. And about Jose Angel Gutierrez who ripped off Crystal City from the gringos and about the judge in Dallas who gave an extra-heavy sentence to a black kid because he thought the kid had shouted, “Riot on!” at a demonstration. There is a person named Ima Hogg; her daddy was governor once and she is \(the you about a woman I know in Abilene who is too smart, too aware to spend her time at bridge and ladies’ do-good groups. She tried to do something “political” once to get fluoride in the city’s water supply. The John Birchers almost ruined her husband. Now she stares at the prairie a lot with dull eyes and is sometimes merry in bars. I will tell you about the librarian in Lockhart, who lets the kids read J. D. Salinger, even though they said they’d fire him for it. And about Amado Muro who lived in El Paso and was supposed to be a young, chicano writer, and we all thought he was better than Hemingway, but he turned out to be a 56-year-old anglo and the story of his own life was better than any story he ever made up. And Tonya Childs, who died the way a Texan should, in a car wreck, and who taught a lot of salesmen and mechanics in night school how to care about Spanish existentialists. I will tell you about Dobie and Ayres and Arrowsmith and many, many more who had a better vision of Texas. Or a vision of a better Texas. They always get investigated by the Legislature for alleged commie ties and fired by the University. The University rhymes with thirsty. I will tell you about William Brann, the iconoclast, a newspaperman who lived in Waco 80 years ago and who attacked cant, hypocrisy, and the Baptists, for which reason he was shot in the back one day right where his galluses crossed. But that story has a happy ending; Brann managed to draw his pistol as he lay on the sidewalk and kill the man who’d shot him before he died himself.