Friday, September 09, 2005

Why are there so many songs about Texas

I've been wanting to take up Jenny's call to write about place and myth, but haven't. Perhaps that's obvious. At any rate, some days ago while at the rec center, I watched a program on the country music video channel that featured what they billed as the top 100 songs about cities and have been intending to write about that, and so now propose to connect these two intentions, if only briefly. (Or was it the top 20? I may be confusing things.)

First, let me clarify: I don't exactly choose to watch the coutry music video channel. It's just always on at the rec center (along with Fox news, Oprah, and ESPN), and sometimes the equipment I want to use is right in front of the TV displaying that channel. So it often happens that I'm watching it. And so am exposed to a part of American culture that I'm seldom otherwise exposed to.

At any rate, one thing that struck me was how many of the songs were about Texas (Galveston, Luchenbach, Amarillo, Fort Worth, etc.). Cowboys and Texas go together like peanut butter and jelly, it seems.


















Except, of course, it's all a myth. My memories of Fort Worth (growing up some 20 miles to the west) aren't of the Stock Yard: they're of the mall.













Sure, my senior class photo shows a number of guys wearing big ol' hats, but they weren't cowboys. Not really. I mean, one of them was the son of an insurance executive. Come on. He wasn't a cowboy. Not if by cowboy we mean someone who spends his days ropin dogeys.

But myth and personal history bleed: my uncle was a rodeo clown. And how many times while I was growing up did I wake up in the middle of the night to find my two cousins, his children, had been transported to our house because their dad was in the hospital with a horse kick to the gut, a bull's goring. And my cousin, his son, followed in his footsteps until a bum knee ended that career. Still and all, with all due respect to my relatives and their messed-up internal organs, is a professional rodeo person a "cowboy"?

4 comments:

Marcia said...

The mall!!! DFW IS about shopping! I remember cowboys all dressed up on a Saturday night in starched Wranglers and summer white hats. I think a rodeo clown could be more of a cowboy than those who dress up in Wranglers and hats on a Saturday night. Rodeo clowns may be acting playful to distract the animals, but the Wranglers/Hats may be just play-acting.

Hmm.. place and myth and nostalgia. I can certainly see affective (dis)connections here.

Anonymous said...

I'm just about to make a post about this topic exactly! Cool. I love this observation. Jesus, DFW is mall-land.

-jenny

Anonymous said...

LOL... I haven't been to this particular mall in some time because I hate the place, but I totally get what you say. There isn't much else going in here but the mall..... egads.

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