Gail Collins Hates the Lone Star State

Times columnist messes with Texas and loses in laugh-free, fact-challenged airdrop.

As Texas Goes... How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda, by Gail Collins, Liveright, 256 pages, $27.95.

How about those Texans, ladies and gentlemen? Can you say "A little bit tacky and a little bit wacky"? The state that gave us Lyndon Johnson, Ann Richards, and…Rick Perry? Cowboy boots, anyone? That place has gotta be nutty as a long-tailed armadillo in a room full of Tea Partiers. All I can say is J.R. Ewing was a pussycat compared to Sen. Phil Gramm (ret.). And don't get me started on Reps. Tom DeLay (ret.) and Dick Armey (ret.). Those guys alone could make the Lone Star State the biggest carbon emitter in the nation! And will those Texans ever stop talking about Texas this and Texas that? I mean, hello, people: The Alamo's over. Newsflash: The Mexicans won!

New York Times columnist Gail Collins has graced our shelves with As Texas Goes…, a lighthearted jeremiad catalogued under "Political Science" by W.W. Norton & Company's Liveright Publishing Corp. At just under 200 pages of text, the book aims to describe the hog-stomping zaniness of Texas from the perspective of a self-amused Northeast Corridor tenderfoot.

That's a reasonable goal, if superfluous in an age when New York–Dallas flights start at $353. And I did learn something from this book. It just wasn't about Texas. It was about Gail Collins. Though her name rang an old-timey New York media bell, I had been laboring under the impression that Collins occupied the Anthony Lewis/Bob Herbert spot in the Grey Lady's columnist lineup: the dull, earnest grappler with injustice whose columns are valued because nobody enjoys them. But Collins, it turns out, is supposed to be a laffmaker.

Whether anybody enjoys Collins' japery is another question. Many of her jokes are of the so-crazy-ya-gotta-love-it variety, as when Collins describes her budding "fascination" with Texas:

Then a friend sent me a headline from a Texas news report: "Man Allegedly Beat Woman with Frozen Armadillo." I was totally hooked.

Many more jokes are elbow-to-ribs phrases laid in at the end of sentences or paragraphs:

The governor's certainty that the rest of us are mooning around wishing we could have secession discussions is sort of touching, in a terrifying kind of way...

And that's the traditional Texas spirit, at its best when there's an enemy to rise up against. Outsized and brave. And frequently somewhat lunatic.

And sometimes there's a mildly amusing found fact—should you opt to trust Collins' facts. (Not recommended.)

Another [sex ed] curriculum has the poor teacher construct an 18-foot-long model known as "Speedy the Sperm" to demonstrate condoms' alleged failure to guard against STDs.

But while Collins hands down jokes like a newspaper-age Pope Hilarius, she wants to be another serious grappler with injustice, to show us the grim ways in which the Texas model is shaping the nation's political culture, threatening to turn the United States into a "two-tiered economy in which the failing underclass looks resentfully at the happy sliver on the top." In the book's epilogue Collins laments, "We feel Texas' influence in our lives every day, but we'll be feeling it much more in the future, due to its enormous population growth…"

Collins attributes that population growth to a lack of public school sex education and a shortage of state family planning funds. Like most of her conclusions, this is directly contradicted by known facts. Interstate migration numbers [pdf] from the U.S. Census Bureau show that Texas enjoys some of the highest inflows of residents in the country, the largest share of that foot traffic coming at the expense of California, the Lone Star State's only near analogue in terms of size, population, demographics, resources, and economic mix.

Collins prefers to keep California locked away from public view, but like Leatherface, Texas' deformed sibling keeps breaking out. Here's a passage that seems to compare the two states but really doesn't:

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  • Barfman||

    *barf*

  • Sevo||

    "Collins attributes that population growth to a lack of public school sex education and a shortage of state family planning funds"

    I attribute Collins' stupidity to the public schools. The state is the cause of everything!

  • Suki||

    Did she really go to public school?

    "Collins attributes that population growth to a lack of public school sex education and a shortage of state family planning funds"

    And if you follow the opposite, you get Brooklyn and large portions of Los Angeles, along with population growth driven by teenagers.

  • ||

    I don't think she went to school at all. She probably just sat there in a pot, and started growing only when Lucky the Neighborhood Mutt started urinating into it.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and from what's shown, she's no P.J. O'Rourke of the left.

  • wareagle||

    funny how deep thinkers like Collins never focus on self-induced problems in places like CA, where folks are leaving in droves, but instead focus on the alleged foolishness of places like TX, where people are willingly relocating.

  • MJGreen||

    They're just moving there because of their false consciousness.

  • Suki||

    Looks like she thinks the population changes are due to government supplied contraceptives. You know, because the subway does not link CA with TX, so how on earth could anybody just move there?

  • Mike M.||

    Yeah, this dingbat obviously started writing this book with the assumption that Perry was a lock for the nomination. So the funniest aspect of the book is that it turned out to be obsolete before it was even released.

  • ||

    No, the funniest aspect of the book is that if you buy it, you'll be really reluctant to wipe your ass with toilet paper until all the pages in your copy of the book have been used, because toilet paper has higher literary worth than this banal crap by yet another pinko retard from the esteemed circles of the progressive media elite.

  • ||

    So you enjoy her work?

  • ||

    Am I that obvious?!

  • sloopyinca||

    What about Nooks?

  • ||

    Wipe your ass with it then ask her to autograph it.

  • ||

    Wipe your ass with it then ask her to autograph it.

  • ||

    Wipe your ass with it then ask her to autograph it.

  • ||

    Wipe your ass with it then ask her to autograph it.

  • ||

    Wipe your ass with it then ask her to autograph it.

  • ||

    Wipe your ass with it then ask her to autograph it.

  • ||

    Wipe your ass with it then ask her to autograph it.

  • ||

    The fuck?

  • ||

    The squirrels were intrigued by your proposal. We're all in agreement. Ass-wiping to commence in 5...

  • ||

    I do believe that this is record. I was proud of my Triple.

    Doncha know Sage, when you pass out on that mouse, these things happen.

  • ||

    *shakes head*

    How long was I out?

  • Ice Nine||

    Shut up, Mary.

  • Sevo||

    Epi,
    Did you get a new handle?

  • Alexander||

    I beg to differ, anyone who buys this will take it as fact. Then when speaking with friends, they will reference this book, and talk about how she really dug into the truth about Texas and those dirty southerners who have the IQ of a goat, unlike us smart east coast liberals. No one else in their right mind would bother with it.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "The Alamo's over."

    So are slavery and Jim Crow. Just as dead, and never to return.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    Newsflash: The Mexicans won!

    And the Americans lost the Battle of the Brandywine (and thus Philadelphia) and most of the other battles of the American Revolution. Before that the British Royal Navy captured New York City and made it their main base. That's why Philly and NYC are part of Great Britain even today.

    Strange, it doesn't show on the map that way... It must be out of date.

  • ||

    The Patriots won the Revolution because of Connor Kenway and the other Assassins. Haven't you seen the latest trailer?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And Abe Lincoln, with his mighty axe, kept the vampire hordes at bay.

  • ||

    To be fair, Ubisoft makes awesome trailers.

  • ||

  • ||

    The French made that...I am surprised they didn't attribute the success of the revolution to Lafayette.

  • ||

    Wasn't it Ubisoft Canada?

  • Jake W||

    Yes. The French made it.

  • ||

    Veevay lah Quay-beck, bitches.

  • Xenocles||

    I thought Mel Gibson won the war when he stabbed Lucius Malfoy in the gut.

  • ||

    Win. +10 Internets.

  • Suki||

    Slavery isn't. See The Jacket's post for 4th of July.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'm talking about the kind of American slavery that people like Sharpton and Jackson still gripe about.

  • ||

    Oh, the fake kind?

  • ||

    The kind that means they didn't get enough free shit from the government, so SLAVERY HURRRRRRRRRRRR.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    What you said, Res.

  • Suki||

    Me too and they keep adding new ones, like wage slavery. What other slaveries are out there?

  • ||

    I am copyrighting "Environmental Slavery"

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Got to find a slavery term that sums up The Male Gaze.

  • ||

    "Slaviarchy"

  • Mr. FIFY||

    You win the entire internet for that one, sage.

  • BakedPenguin||

    "Viewing Subjugation"

  • BakedPenguin||

    Ah, refresh.

  • Alexander||

    My grandma, she's always rambling on about the Nazis and her time in a slave camp. But I always tell her, nobody cares about her lies, it wasn't real, you delusional old woman.

  • yonemoto||

    debt slavery, but that one's real.

  • mgd||

    "Reproductive slavery". Whenever they invent a new justice, the flip-side of that is a new slavery.

  • edcoast||

    This would only make sense if the Alamo was somehow a battle between Texans and the US. She probably thinks so.

  • ||

    "I have a sister and a mother..."

    So, how many mothers does Tim have?...

  • Nyarlathotep||

    Two words: Roky Erickson.

  • ||

    God, he's awesome. One of the three things I miss most about Austin.

  • Suki||

    "Collins is drawing her data from TracetheGuns.org, which shows Texas as a net exporter of guns used in crimes and California as a net importer. "

    Just a wild guess, California's criminal gun users are domestic rather than imported, right?

  • Xenocles||

    How is that relevant? Guns act independently of their users like little gremlins.

  • ||

    "Another [sex ed] curriculum has the poor teacher construct an 18-foot-long model known as "Speedy the Sperm" to demonstrate condoms' alleged failure to guard against STDs."

    The real failure is that your father's condom tore, Gail. Maybe if the Buckeye State had provided him with a government-approved pack of rubbers and mandated their use during all sexual acts, you wouldn't be around today. Tough luck for the world that that's not how shit turned out.

  • E||

    He did use the government-approved pack.

  • Rhywun||

    [T]he Texas model is [...] threatening to turn the United States into a "two-tiered economy in which the failing underclass looks resentfully at the happy sliver on the top."

    I wonder if Texas is responsible for the two-tiered economy that already exists in her (and my) city, New York.

  • Proprietist||

    I was pretty confused by this as someone who grew up in and remains in the Texas middle class. I didn't know I didn't exist in the world of broad political generalization.

  • Alexander||

    Texas middle class, uh, you don't exist. Strange that you are posting on here. Are you a witch?

  • Suki||

    Wasn't "No Child Left Behind" a big fat Ted Kennedy bill that Bush promised (and did) sign as one of those ill-conceived reaches across the aisle?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    That's why compromise between the Teams is worse than when they block each other.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I'm big on Austin, Texas. Good folks, food, and football.

    San Antonio?...Meh, not so much.

  • SIV||

    San Antonio is a truly great city.Beats the shit out of Uvalde anyways.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I guess I was a little harsh on San Antonio. I do remember enjoying the River Walk quite a bit.

  • seguin||

    I've honestly had more fun in Temple, TX than San Antonio - except for the one punk show I went to there.

    I think it's a matter of not knowing where to go. Austin is easy....South Congress or 6th Street. Dallas used to be that way (Deep Ellum or Lower Greenville), but not any more.

  • Proprietist||

    Crime killed Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville for the most part. They're still around but not like they used to be. Dallas has its spots, like the Bishop Arts district, but everything is just more disparate so you have to kind of look deeper than in Austin or San Antonio.

  • Cavpitalist||

    Good football? Have we slipped back into the last decade?

  • BenDFW||

    Ever since Californians have started moving in, so too have their laws and ordinances. Smoking bans have been coming up everywhere. Billboards supporting such bans have been hitting up municipalities like the plague with messages feturing a waitriss with the caption "some people have no choice when it comes to second hand smoke. ect". Please build the border wall already. No not on the Mexicans who insist on having chickens in their back yard in the city. But on the Californian border to keep those people in.

  • BenDFW||

    Ever since Californians have started moving in, so too have their laws and ordinances. Smoking bans have been coming up everywhere. Billboards supporting such bans have been hitting up municipalities like the plague with messages feturing a waitriss with the caption "some people have no choice when it comes to second hand smoke. ect". Please build the border wall already. No not on the Mexicans who insist on having chickens in their back yard in the city. But on the Californian border to keep those people in.

  • BenDFW||

    Ever since Californians have started moving in, so too have their laws and ordinances. Smoking bans have been coming up everywhere. Billboards supporting such bans have been hitting up municipalities like the plague with messages feturing a waitriss with the caption "some people have no choice when it comes to second hand smoke. ect". Please build the border wall already. No not on the Mexicans who insist on having chickens in their back yard in the city. But on the Californian border to keep those people in.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Triple-squirreled post, but poignant nonetheless.

  • Rhywun||

    I always thought a more plausible explanation is that Americans in general are more likely than ever to stick their noses in other people's business. Unless Californians now make up a majority of the population of Texas...?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I've met quite a few ex-Californians here in Missouri; a few of them are sensible people who just wanted to escape, while the majority of them are for smoking bans and telling people what to eat and what kinds of vehicles they should drive.

  • ||

    Never fails to amaze me that they leave the place they came from, then want to institute the same policies that created the conditions from which they fled.

    "He hates these cans! Stay away from the cans!"

  • Mr. FIFY||

    It's enough to make you wanna punch 'em.

  • SIV||

    Unless Californians now make up a majority of the population of Texas...?

    Smoking bans and the like only take a majority on the city council or county commission. The strong support is thinner than the opposition but the weak support includes most everyone except half the smokers and all the affected business owners. Smoking bans are a much cheaper way of showing you are a progressive community than building light rail and acquiring "green space". Active enforcement actually generates revenue.

  • Rhywun||

    Active enforcement actually generates revenue.

    Which is a huge part of the problem.

  • SIV||

    Lewisville just banned tobacco I think.
    DFW sucks just like all the rest of Oklahoma.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    According to its subtitle, the book is about "How the Lone Star State hijacked the American agenda,"

    Obamacare is Texas' fault.

  • Doubting Thomas||

    Cavanaugh picks low fruit, stomps on it, peanut gallery joins in. Video at 11.

  • ||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GOR5gvQwDI

    Is that what you sing as you rise from your bed every morning, child?

  • ||

    Gail Collins was the Editorial Page Editor for the New York Times from 2001-2007--the first woman to have held that position. She currently writes a column for the Times' Op-Ed page twice weekly.

    Low hanging or not, that is some juicy fruit.

  • ||

    Take a sniff
    Pull it out
    The taste is gonna move you
    When you pop it in your mouth...

  • ||

    Pathetic troll is pathetic. No video available.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    With a name like "Doubting Thomas", one would think he'd be on the side of [DRINK!] reason.

  • ||

    I'm guessing (s)he chose that name because "shit4brains" was already taken.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "Palin's Butt-Plug" is also taken.

  • Hollywood||

    This is too easy a target for the big brains at Reason.

  • Doubting Thomas||

    Evidently, no dogs have been shot today.

  • ||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D31gn5EyGZ8

    Cheer up, brother. Mr. Right Hand and Mr. Left Hand are reliable friends, always there when you need them for one tug or another!

  • CPBrown||

    Can a woman be d#@k ? If so, she qualifies.

  • Bitter Taxpayer||

    Collins prefers to keep California locked away from public view, but like Leatherface, Texas' deformed sibling keeps breaking out.

    Now, that's funny.

    Because it's real.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    The Alamo's over. Newsflash: The Mexicans won!

    San Jacinto, cunt.

  • Ballz||

    yeah buddy!
    I grew up in Texas and she should find something other than politicians to judge us by. We hate those fuckers, too. But since she brought it up...
    Chuck Schummer, Ted (fat Teddy) Kennedy (and all his relatives), John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, yadayada... gotta be some of the worst influences on our society.
    fyi: I'm drinking beer, got a gun, and my dick is HUGE. ~:^)

  • ||

    Keep that shit about guns on the down-low, dude, or an alphabet agency might come after you for insurrectionist felonies, or some such shit.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    He's likely already on the SPLC shit-list, Res.

  • Bill||

    But you're ok with hearing about his dick?

  • RPR2||

    she's right. it's terrible here. don't come to Texas. especially if you're from the east or west coast.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    A lot of the impetus behind the Civil War was a self-selected elite who had gotten used to pretty much running the country being faced with the possibility that Those People were going to actually be able to affect policy.

    Funny how much like those Pro-Slavery Democrats the present Liberal Democrats sound now that it looks like they might actually lose political influence.

    "Waaaahh! The nekulturny are going to be influencing how the nation is run! How can we, The Elect, possibly STAND it!"

    BOHICA, baby! Now YOU get to know how it feels.

  • Len Bias||

    Cavanuagh seems to suggest that the net inflow from California to Texas is a result of the middle class being squeezed out of CA, not a preference from the former CA middle class for Texas culture and lifestyle.

    As Collins demonstrates, there is an obvious solution to all this. Get rich writing pointless, tepid columns, then you can live in Manhattan or wherever you want, and middle class realities will never plague you!

  • LarryA||

    Cavanuagh seems to suggest that the net inflow from California to Texas is a result of the middle class being squeezed out of CA, not a preference from the former CA middle class for Texas culture and lifestyle.

    About 70/30 people coming because they can get a job vs coming to retire/escape.

    A lot of the work folks, like Ms Collins, still think Texas would be better off with the same policies that killed the California jobs.

  • Disheveled||

    Gail honey, I truly wish you could slow down the flow of your fellow citizens to our state. I know you're doing the best you can with your (I'm sure) very funny book, but your fellow New Yorkers are speaking with their feet much louder than you are with your mouth. Bless your heart.

  • Brandybuck||

    What is it about Texas that makes progressives go batshit crazy? Heck, I think half of BDS was just because Bush came from Texas.

  • ChrisN||

    Who's the audience here?

    That guy who found it in the shitter at Grandma's next to a stack of reader's digest? A Hamptons beach book for Anna Wintour wannabes?

    Some feminist administrator looking to hire Collins for a summer gig at Brown?

    Help me out here Tim.

  • flye||

    Who's the audience? Let's ask Amazon:

    “Gail Collins is the funniest serious political commentator in America. Reading As Texas Goes...is pure pleasure from page one.” (Rachel Maddow)

  • ChrisN||

    Whenever I find Michael Moore too spot on, too clever and truthful as he strolls through the halls of Cuba's hospitals...or when I step back from the brink of Krugmans's economic brilliance...or when I simply find Molly Ivins too knowledgeable about actual Texas politics...

    ...that's when I turn to Gail Collins.

    It's all about the narrative! Don't lose the narrative, comrades!

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    Learn how to make money using Google. You can monetize your searching skills and earn up to $375 per hour working for this billion dollar company. You choose your working hours. Details can be found here xurl.es/dyp7n

  • ||

    Are there naked chicks?

  • Brian from Texas||

    Ms. Collins is basically calling us a bunch of inbred, uneducated rednecks. This Liberal bitch is no less of a bigot than some neocon commentator who spews out hate directed at gays, Muslims and immigrants.

  • Ballz||

    so PI; it's pillow biters AND carpet munchers.

  • gx3468||

    Then, when the free pull 7:42 to go 78-77 in the Fourth, Harmon and Perkins about 2 minutes 3S In addition to San Antonio about the middle of quarter through seven.
    http://www.wholesalercheapnflj.....rseys.html

  • ||

    The governor's certainty that http://www.lunettesporto.com/l.....-3_22.html the rest of us are mooning around wishing we could have secession discussions is sort of touching, in a terrifying kind of way...

  • MM||

    Leave to Regressives to tear down what works and ignore their 100+ years of murder and failure.

    Let's see, which state is bleeding out businesses and population? And which one created almost 1/2 of all of the jobs since this recession started?

    What a dried up krunt this women must be-her self pity and hate are eating her up. This baby is headed for the discount bin on day 2.

  • TWylite||

    We Texans emphatically leads the nation in fixing-to, hankering, saddling up, and opened cans of whup-ass per capita. We're doing just fine, thank you.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Yall can secede whenever you want to. We promise not to invade and burn down all your cities.

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