With the rerelease of the classic film Giant, culture critics are re-examining the Texas Myth. Most are lamenting that the wild-cattin' Texas cattle/oil baron who lived as large as the Lone Star State is as dead and gone as James Dean, who played oilman-party monster Jett Rink in the film. They have been replaced, it seems, by Texan dwarves who not only don't walk tall, but lack the sense of fun to throw a decent party.
In a recent article for The New York Times, Texas author Larry McMurtry, recalling Lone Star giant Glenn McCarthy's $1.5-million Saint Patrick's Day party, put it succinctly, if sadly: "You won't see the Basses having that kind of fun, or Ross Perot, either, though it is Perot--not a cattle baron, not an oilman, not a chip baron, but an info baron--who is the true heir of Jett Rink...Unfortunately, Mr. Perot's knobby, puritanical hubris led him into presidential politics rather than the construction of grand luxe hotels."
We really wish McMurtry hadn't made that particular point, because now we have to fight off a mental image of a tiny Perot in Levi's and Stetson making goo-goo eyes at a young Elizabeth Taylor. Eeeewww!
Buzz figures the late-'90s rerelease of Giant, at the very least, puts some interesting wrinkles into the '50s Texas mythology. With what we've learned about the personal lives of Rock Hudson, who played Bick Benedict, and James Dean, the movie can now be viewed with a liberating--if somewhat confusing--slant on Texas manhood. Who, exactly, was nursing smoldering passions for whom in Giant's love triangle? Let's not even bring up the symbolism surrounding Bick's unmarried--dare we say handsome?--sister Liz, who was killed in Giant while trying to ride Bick's prize horse.
What's the country coming to?
Earlier this month, Dallas businessman and self-described philanthropist Stevan A. Hammond abruptly withdrew as a candidate for the U.S. House in District 30. A sex scandal? A secret lust for a tax increase? Evidence that he once opposed mohair subsidies? Nope. Something much weirder. Hammond's withdrawal statement says, "After visiting with a few of the other candidates and conducting some informal focus groups, Mr. Hammond concluded that the issues he sought to raise would be well addressed by others."
What's going on here? Since when does a politician balk at taking a tweedle-dum position to his opponents' tweedle-dee? Sheesh, we wouldn't have a presidential campaign if that were the case.
Riding the Cowboy
Michael Irvin can't get respect anywhere; even Spin--a damn music magazine--had to get in a shot. Spin's Mike Rubin named Irvin No. 1 in Spin's "S.O.B. (Scale of Offensive Behavior) Rating." NFL players were graded with a scale that inputs everything from their All-Pro status to GWI (Getting away With It index) and SLZ (Sleaze Factor). Irvin did fairly well in the FTP (Fuck The Police) rating for asking the officers who busted him, "Do you know who I am?" His GWI was also high, due mostly to losing better than a million dollars in product endorsements. (Who can forget that beaut of a Landcruiser?) But he really excelled in SLZ for, as any Cowboys fan older than 9 can tell you, the motel, topless dancers, cocaine, and vibrators.
Interestingly, Deion Sanders, who was recently rated by Texas Monthly as a "devoted father and husband" and all-pro saint, won a ninth-place berth in Spin for his indiscretions, including trespassing to bass-fish at a Florida lake and driving without a license in Cincinnati. His wife's recent adultery charges and divorce threat--she apparently didn't agree with the Monthly piece--didn't rate a mention.
Meanwhile, Phoenix radio station KSLX got its cheap shot in on Irvin. According to the station's promotion: "With the sound of a jolly ho-ho-ho and the sight of falling snow, it's either Christmas or a night in Michael Irvin's hotel room."
Besides tickets to the Cardinals rout, the winner got to stay in the same room Michael Irvin got busted in, eat Ho-Hos snack cakes, and drink Coca-Cola.
A Riga-rous promotion
Levi's is offering a fascinating promotion for its Personal Pair jeans. It's going to bring together "pairs of friends, pairs of cities, and, of course, pairs of jeans for the adventure of a lifetime."
Listen to this totally exciting offer: The program invites pairs of friends to be videotaped going through a "Personal Pair jeans-fitting" together while answering the question, "Why are you Dallas' best personal pair of friends?"
The best answer wins the pants pals a trip to Dallas' sister city for a week. Where in this totally awesome world is that, you ask? Riga, Latvia.
Buzz wonders, what do the losers get? Two weeks in Latvia?