Clash of Symbols

Buzz is feeling a bit out of touch lately, having spent the better part of the past two weeks cowering under a blanket. This was prompted by the many letters we received after our recent cover story "Open Season" about the growing number of incidents of South Texas homeowners shooting illegal Mexican immigrants, including one case in which a man was shot as he fled a ranch owner. The immigrant had the audacity to ask an elderly couple for a drink of water. They gave him lead instead. He bled to death from a bullet wound to the back of his leg.

The two dozen or so letters we received about the story--that's a bunch--shared common themes, to wit: "Nice shot" and "Let's shoot some more."

That's not exactly the response we expected from the readers of an alternative, more-liberal-than-not weekly. The headline "Open Season" was meant ironically. It wasn't a suggestion.

Obviously, Buzz knows far less about our readers and Texans in general than we thought we did. (We are in the media, after all.) We need to educate ourselves. So we're going to Six Flags, where the theme park is offering a course in "Texology" featuring exhibits from around the state. Among them is an 8-foot-tall jack rabbit statue from Odessa, a giant killer bee from Hidalgo, a humongous strawberry from Poteet and a 2-ton statue of an armadillo. (If the latter is like any armadillo we've ever seen, it will be about a half-inch tall, flattened and about the size of a football field.) It all sounds so very folksy, but Buzz hopes Six Flags includes a suggestion box, because we think they're missing some fine modern icons, such as:

Soccer Mothra: A half-scale, 30-ton mock-up of an SUV driven by a bouffant Betty hauling one 6-year-old child.

Sleepy Pete: A 3-ton version of a dozing Texas lawyer hard at work defending a capital case. (While they're at it, maybe Six Flags can offer a working model of a lethal injection machine--for the kids, you know.)

Developer Dan: A fiberglass and particleboard representation of a mall developer with hand outstretched for a tax subsidy.

Commissioner Carl: Not sure what this one should look like exactly, since the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, the state's environmental watchdogs, has been missing in action since the Bush gubernatorial administration.

Governor Rick Perry: Six Flags could probably get by with the real thing here, since the man already appears to have been stuffed.

On the plus side, Six Flags will offer up the world's largest fruitcake, a straight line so obvious that even Buzz has too much dignity to take the bait. The cake is the creation of a baker in Cistern who uses a cement mixer to concoct the batter. We assume she removes any cement first, although with a fruitcake, who'd know?


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