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premier author is Katherine Anne Porter essay suggests Porter’s life and work embodied some of the same tensions among grand ambitions, grandiose pretensions, and hard-scrabble roots that is a recurring Texas paradigm. Likewise, Graham’s reconsideration of Billy Lee Brammer \(which introduced the reissue of Brammer’s classic novel of Texas, not only places that novel in literary and political time, it evokes a lost era of a more humanscale Texas landscape, fully rendering and honoring Brammer’s all too fleeting place within it. \(By the way, Graham supplies an interesting mini-history of the early days of the The several pieces on McMurtry and the Lonesome Dove novels provide an ongoing, affectionate, and entertaining disputation on the uses and abuses of the story of Texas. Before Graham, McMurtry had argued that Texas writers need to look to the modern cities to find suitable subjects, so it is no small irony that Mc Murtry later found his greatest commercial success in re-animating the cowboy mythos he suggested had lost its literary raison d’tre. Graham, in his turn, has made a minor living of re-interpreting the West way crossing and dotting McMurtry’s historical t’s and i’s. He does so with grace, style, and wit, as when \(“Moo-vie Cows: the narrative of Lonesome Dove the structural similarity to a baseball game. \(Actually, it’s closer to a baseball movie, but most Graham’s title piece \(co-authored with his ogue, and his protagonists, a writing couple named Harry and Jamie, make a half-hearted pilgrimage to the ruins of Riata \(the set for the film version of “The wreckage looked like the skeleton of a ruined ship sailing a dust-colored sea, rather more like a melancholy copy of the Bounty than a cattle baron’s Victorian Gothic mansion…. Harry and Jamie were there, tendering their respects. In modern Texas, with the economy in the tank, Giant was as close as you were going to get to the mythic old-time era of big money, big oil, big dreams.” That was the mid-eighties. Well, the big money’s back, if not the big oil it remains to be seen if Texas can revive the big dreams. Graham seems skeptical whether the state’s independent traditions real or mythological can survive the nationwide homogenization of American culture, but he suggests that the next Texas generation may well be able to find its own way: “I think the demographics predicted for the state in about 2020 promise a very interesting future. A truly multicultural population. It will be interesting to see what survives of the past and of the mythology.” If those folks are at all interested in what truly has gone before them, they could do a whole lot worse than consult these essays, by a Texan born and bred, “in blood and bones.” Spinning Out Of Control The World Through the Corporate Looking-Glass BY SHELDON HAMPTON GLOBAL SPIN: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism. By Sharon Beder. Chelsea Green Publishing Company. rir he twentieth century, argued Australian scholar Alex Carey, has been shaped largely by three trends: “the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate pro paganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.” In Global Spin, yet another Australian, Sharon Beder, examines in detail the third of those trends: corporate propaganda and its corrosive effect on democratic institutions, and more particularly, the corporate reaction to the democratic movement in defense of the environment. What Beder describes will be surprising and shocking, and yet simultaneously, familiar to many readers. Most people are aware, for example, that a concern for public relations motivates companies to engage in charitable activities; yet they will be shocked at the level of manipulation that Beder finds at the heart of a corporate practice almost universally greeted with praise: charitable contributions to education. Global Spin examines the prominent public relations strings attached to these gifts, and shows in exquisite detail how corporate giveaway programs have converted public school classrooms into privatized vehicles for corporate marketing and indoctrination. dustry-sponsored educational materials, according to one of the companies that special izes in designing them, is to help companies “enter the classroom through custom-made learning materials with your specific marketing objectives in Mind. Communicate with young spenders directly and, through them, their teachers and families as well.” The propaganda can be subtle, but sometimes it is blatant. One company, called Teacher Support Systems, actually puts out a free, widely-used educational kit, including “test questions” such as “Taco Bell has [blank] and burritos.” Another company, Channel One, lends schools VCRs, TV sets and satellite dishes “in exchange,” as CEO Chris Whittle once put it, “for students’ minds twelve minutes each day.” The deals require schools to guarantee that at least 90 percent of their students will watch these in-class commercials, “in a structured environment with an authority figure demanding their attention.” As Beder observes: 28 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MAY 22, 1998