The current iteration of the debate began when Larry McMurtry, writing in Texas Monthly, ranked Dallas well below Fort Worth among Texas cities, dismissing it as "a second-rate city that wishes it were first-rate."
That sentiment wasn't particularly surprising. Anyone who's read his books knows that McMurtry's sensibilities tend more to the cattle-and-cowboy culture of Fort Worth than its glitzier neighbor to the east, but the Morning News' Steve Blow nonetheless moseyed rather reluctantly to Dallas' defense with the rousing proclamation that "Dallas suits me and a lot of others just fine these days. It's easy. Good stuff is happening."
This was taken as a challenge to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy, who declares that his town's "old prairie rivalry with Dallas is stirring again."
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As evidence, he cites Dallas' exclusion of Fort Worth from its commemoration of the Kennedy Assassination, the fact that the guests at this year's Final Four, which will be in Arlington, will mostly stay in Dallas, and a debate over whether a new Houston-to-North Texas bullet train should stop in Fort Worth or just Dallas.
And if a grandmotherly dispute between rival metro columnists isn't enough to convince you that the cities are officially back at each others' throats, there's also a pulse-quickening nomenclature debate. That was the topic of KERA's "Think" yesterday: what the Dallas-Fort Worth region should properly be called. I didn't listen but can only assume it involved D's Tim Rogers repeatedly decrying "Metroplex" as the linguistic spawn of Satan.
But -- and it pains us to say this -- Steve Blow was right. Fort Worth is fine. So is Dallas. Both have different things to offer, and a lot of those things are good on both ends. There may be the occasional boast, with Dallas touting its shiny baubles like the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Fort Worth showcasing its vibrant downtown and western charm, but whatever rivalry there was has been sucked out as fuel by the exploding suburbs, as has been the one thing people actually care about: the Dallas Cowboys.
That leaves Dallas and Fort Worth in the same boat, trying to keep from becoming mere flotsam on an expanding exurban sea.