Watching Lewis Black’s already-famous takedown of Rick Perry last Wednesday on The Daily Show with some native Texans was a rollercoaster ride that opened apparently chronic wounds from the “Texas vs. New York” culture wars. Warning: the cursing in that link is not safe for work, or anywhere with a Texas flag nearby.
It all started out well enough; when Black says he’s not a huge fan of politicians, we’re right there with him. Then he replayed Perry’s “Oops” moment for the millionth time, and my friends settled in for some good laughs at the expense of the outgoing guv, who is indeed, as Black says, “the gift who has no idea he keeps on giving.”
We all rolled our eyes at Perry’s hare-brained scheme to steal jobs from other states and guffawed at the fact that our governor pronounces the word “escape” with an x. Somewhere along the line, though, the laughter turned pensive. It stopped altogether around the time Black pointed his finger at the camera and began addressing the entire state of Texas.
What followed was a brutal reiteration of age-old New York triumphalism culminating in a grand finale of middle fingers, F-bombs and crotch-grabs directed at the entire Lone Star State. Cue the stony silence in a room full of normally rabid Daily Show fans.
Yes, Mr. Black, I’m pretty sure Texas can spell “Bhutanese,” considering that the state of Texas takes the second-highest number of refugees from Bhutan of any state, ahead of New York. And while the ability to order sushi pizza at 8 a.m. may be a benefit of life in the Big Apple (I guess?), I’m not sure most folks are willing to pay $2,000 a month to share a cramped efficiency with five of their hippest friends to access that opportunity. As this recent Slate article points out, even if Perry’s job-grabbing caper is misguided, Texas does have its perks.
I’m not about to mediate this debate—I’m from Ohio, which apparently exists only during presidential elections, and where the official response to slights against our state is a half-hearted shrug. But the whole thing did make me wonder: proud Texans who are nonetheless embarrassed by Perry, what would you tell Lewis Black about Texas to change his mind?
I’m sure there will plenty of discussion on this subject at tonight’s Rangers game. They’re playing the Yankees, after all.