Ask A Texan: Who Makes The News, Y’all?

Dear Ask A Texan:

When the television networks shoot a segment here, I am convinced they interview at least 30 people before they find the one that has the strongest, back country hick accent they can find to make it to the final edit.  They never show someone coiffed and polished who can enunciate words.  What is this?


Coiffed, Polished, Enunciated

Dear Coiffed,

Texas news programs show plenty of coiffed, polished, enunciating people–when they’re not interviewing Dallas City Council members BADUMCHSSSH. You just don’t notice it because it’s the un-coiffed, un-polished, un-enunciating people who cause you the most grief, because they represent a part of Texas that is frequently mocked and derided by outsiders who somehow believe they need to travel all the way to the Lone Star State to meet someone who is an ignorant assbag.

Which is why it hurts when Texas or Texans do something stupid, and some ignorant non-Texan assbag says something like, “That’s fucking Texas for you!” or “Shoulda known, it was a Texan!” even though it appears pretty clear to me that ignorant assbags have ignored no corner of the globe, and in great number. For example, Rick Santorum is from Pennyslvania, Perez Hilton is from L.A.-via-NYU-via-Miami, and as those of us addicted to the 24-hour news cycle were reminded recently, John Wayne Gacy is from Waterloo, Iowa. And those are just some notables. Watch an episode of Hoarders or 16 and Pregnant tell me everyone you see who isn’t Texan is just bubbling to tell everyone about their Ivy League pedigree and thoughts on combatting global warming.

But this argument about how Texans aren’t all ignorant assbags is one Texans always have to make. It’s not unlike being a feminist who has to constantly explain to most people that sexism exists even though Hillary Clinton ran for president. People like being willfully ignorant about things that make them feel bad or things that challenge their privilege, so here we are. All Texans aren’t ignorant assbags, and sexism exists. Sky is blue, grass is green.

But here’s where I will say: dear letter writer, don’t be an ignorant assbag yourself by assuming that people who you consider to be poorly spoken do not have valuable and important ideas and insights. An Ivy League education does not a douchebag un-make. Quite the opposite, I’d say. I mean, you saw the Social Network? By the way, everything the entertainment industry produces is true.

There are plenty of well spoken, finely groomed people who are total and complete fucksacks. Sarah Palin–yes, she rambles when confronted, but she also gives an amazing prepared speech–comes to mind, as well as, uh, Hitler (stay in the basement, trolls, I’m not comparing Sarah Palin to Hitler) and Dilbert cartoon creator Scott Adams.

The people who go on the news–and I say this as a print journalist with some limited understanding of how television journalism works–are on there because they are saying the thing that the news people need them to say to get the story across. I would guess that someone who is unencumbered by worry about what people will think of them because they don’t participate in a society full of educated, middle-class judgmental assholes who think everyone who says “ain’t” is dead dumb, gets to the point rather quickly without trying to qualify everything they’re saying to make themselves appear a certain way to others. So, the news person needs someone to say “Gas drilling is fucked up,” and they find the person who says “Gas drilling is fucked up,” and go on with their news report, because the person who wants to and can talk about how fucked up gas drilling is for 45 minutes might be very knowledgeable but rather hard to squeeze into a minute-long segment that runs before THE SHOCKING FACT YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOUR FOOD THAT IS SLOWLY KILLING YOUR CHILDREN WE’LL BE BACK AFTER THE BREAK.

And I mean also, sometimes people who aren’t very articulate have some shit happen to them, and they can’t just not put it on the news because the newsworthy thing didn’t happen to Miss Texas, you know?

Do you have a question for a Texan? Email us:

About andrea grimes

Andrea is a journalist living in Austin, TX. She has a master's degree in anthropology and did her thesis work on gender and stand-up comedy. Seriously. Also, she has a bunch of cats. Three of them. Is three a bunch? Discuss.
This entry was posted in ask a texan, Dallas, education, famousness, feminism, media. Bookmark the permalink.

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