The current issue of D includes sort of a neat little item -- a map indicating "How Dallas Media Voted in the Trinity Toll Road Referendum." It shows how the city voted in November, and there are dots indicating which media members live in anti-toll road areas and which ones live in pro-toll road sections. Those making the cut are "the people who shaped the debate." I’m in there (blushing), along with Sam Merten of Dallas Blog.
A bunch of Dallas Morning News people have dots too, including three who don’t even live in the city -- like columnist James Ragland, who lives in Paris, Texas. That’s so funny.
I am not sure exactly why, but the mere fact that Ragland lives in Paris, Texas, always strikes people as hilarious. If you’re ever at a party and some smug English-accented Harry-Potter-looking son-of-a-bitch zings you with a barb and you can’t think of a single funny thing to say, just blurt out, “James Ragland lives in Paris, Texas!” You’ll bring down the house.
So D does that. It also has dots for two of its own people, editors Eric Celeste and Tim Rogers. But there is a big honking nose-on-your-face, broad-side-of-a-barn, elephant-in-the-room, unzipped-fly omission!
The one guy they forgot to dot was D founding publisher Wick Allison, who, we might mention, people have actually heard of. Allison has played an aggressively activist role for 10 years in pushing for the toll road along the river -- the issue the whole election was all about. He is what we might call a central figure and key player.
He also happens to suffer the same deficits of character, franchise and birth typical of most of the people who now run the city through our new Manchurian Park Cities puppet mayor: Allison lives in the Park Cities. He is not a Dallas citizen. He can’t vote in Dallas.
I might even have argued in a story meeting that a dot over Allison’s house on Versaille would have been the most interesting dot on the map -- sparking, perhaps, the whole question of why a bunch of rich carpetbaggers who are too good to live in the city think they should be able to run the city. I pose that question academically and as a dispassionate observer, not as an expression of any personal bias.
But leaving him out truly sucks. Even Ragland, who voluntarily lives in Paris, Texas, could make a legitimate beef out of this. You can’t make fun of everybody else in town and then conspicuously cover up your own boss without looking like a big fat wing-flapping pigeon-toed awp-awp-awp CHICKEN!
I know, I know. I have been there, lads. In a long groveling speech with a terrible shit-eating grin, the earnest guy in the bow tie and the pop-bottle glasses, the one in charge of projects, explains to the publisher why the paper must reveal the publisher’s son’s drunk-driving conviction as part of the series on teenage drunk driving in order to maintain credibility with the reader. A long silence. Then the publisher turns to his consigliere and says, “Who hired that little bow-tie fuck?”
There’s always a certain amount of pain associated with halfway decent journalism. But, guys. C’mon. You can’t publish the whole dot map and leave off Wick. You need to head out the door right now with as many magic markers as you can carry and do what you can to restore your cojones, one dot at a time.
It looks real bad, boys. --Jim Schutze
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.