North Texas is a fantastic place. Dallas is a real city, with a comparatively low cost of living along with all of the benefits you'd expect from a city its size. If cities aren't your thing, we have every kind of suburb you can imagine — inner suburbs, normal suburbs, exurbs, ex-exurbs — thanks to sprawl. If you know how to play the game, even the much-maligned public schools are at least navigable. Despite what we've been accused of, we genuinely love living here.
OK, enough with the smoothie, smoothie. We like it here, but that doesn't mean a few of neighbors don't occasionally make us ashamed to admit our hometown. Here are the 10 most embarrassing living North Texans.
10. Mark Cuban
Cubes was the hardest person, by far, to put on this list. The Mavericks owner rehabilitated our previously moribund basketball team, taking a franchise that hadn't made the playoffs in a decade when he purchased them in 2000 to its first NBA championship in 2011. As the Mavericks owner, Cuban has never been less than great. He's always given the Mavs the passion and money they've needed to thrive.
Cuban's still on the list though, because of his recently highlighted fascinations with libertarian frat-boy favorite Ayn Rand and the logical consequence of a society in which she is revered: Donald Trump.
In November, Cuban went on a multi-tweet rant comparing the push for net-neutrality — a policy that requires Internet service providers to treat all traffic equally — to something out of a Rand novel. Wanting net neutrality, Cuban argued, wasn't about securing equal access to a public utility, it was about ceding greater control to the government. Just like in Atlas Shrugged.
Then there's Trump. Cuban went out of his way to give the tangerine-hued, might-just-be-real-God-help-us-no-no presidential candidate the biggest Dallas stage possible, handing the keys to the American Airlines Center for a September 14 rally. Not only did he grant he use of the facilities, Cuban has reviewed Trump's previous work in glowing terms and refused to rule out becoming the real estate developer's running mate. Trump is undoubtedly entertaining, but treating his candidacy with any amount of seriousness is dangerous.
9. Regina Imburgia
The name may not immediately ring a bell, but Regina Imburgia is responsible for Dallas' long, often stupefying, always amusing fight over fluoridation.
Fluoridation is a basic civic good. It helps kids who have less access to dental care avoid cavities. That didn't stop Imburgia at the rest of her Colonel Ripper-aping crew from inundating City Council meetings with their nonsense, creating the immortal, Martin Luther King Jr.-citing website dogsagainstfluoridation.com and leading former-City Council member Sheffie Kadane to sound even more confused than usual as he endorsed their plan to stop adding fluoride to the water supply.
Imburgia didn't succeed, thank goodness, but local media, the Observer included, and the council ended up talking about a non-issue for months.
8. John Wiley Price
In his heyday, John Wiley Price was at least worth paying attention to. He was an agitator, constantly doing things like ending up in jail for snapping people's windshield wipers, pleading no contest to tackling joggers or decrying the use of the term "black hole" as racist.
You may have thought he was grifter or disagreed with his politics, but Price was always entertaining. Now, as he faces a mountain of federal corruption charges with only a couple of court-appointed attorneys at his side, Price is just sad. He still has his seat on the Dallas County Commissioner's Court, but little of the enormous power he used to wield. Come March 1, he may lose the seat, too, as he faces a stiff primary challenge from popular former City Council member Dwaine Caraway.
He's not the straw stirring the drink anymore, and we're all a little more bored because of it.
7. Jerry Jones
As we explained a couple of weeks ago, we're actually in a kinda OK place with Jerry Jones when it comes to sports. He's largely turned over the day-to-day operation of the Cowboys to his son Stephen Jones, and the team is better for it.
Jones makes the cut because of his propensity for getting in the news for other reasons. Like, say, being sued by a former stripper for sexual assault and having photos of the night in question pop up everywhere. It should be noted that Jana Weckerly did eventually drop her suit against Jones, but the images of the visibly intoxicated Cowboys owner from that night will be seared in our minds forever. Add in Jones' bromance with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — who might be one of the most embarrassing people in the United States, full stop — and you've got a recipe for continued civic mortification.
6. Rafael Cruz
Rafael Cruz, the dad of equally embarrassing Texas Senator Ted Cruz, calls North Texas home. Lucky us.
The elder Cruz is proud to proclaim the United States is Christian nation and that atheists are perverts and molesters. He says that gay people being called gay is part of a conspiracy to misrepresent the LGBTQ community as happy and that President Obama's first act in office was legalizing third-trimester abortions and the the killing of babies that had already been born. The president's wife, Michelle, Rafael Cruz has said, "mesmerizes" audiences. Cruz also believes in the Law of the Sea Treaty conspiracy, which involves President Obama redistributing American wealth through the dispersal of offshore drilling revenue somehow.
Add in all the normal stuff about the confiscation of guns — or adding GPS to all private guns — and you've got a toxic cocktail of crazy and respectability to which people will actually listen.
5. David Pickup
David Pickup actually splits his time between Dallas and California, but he has just established the Children's Center for Healthy Gender and Sexuality here, so we have to claim him. (C'mon, Pickup, why ever leave the sun and beaches and mountains and great cities like LA and San Francisco? Well, maybe not San Francisco.)
Pickup is one of the nation's leading practitioner's of so-called "reparative therapy," the practice of making people who aren't heterosexual heterosexuals. In the medical community, reparative therapy is viewed as, at best, quackery and, at worst, permanently damaging. When we asked Pickup about his practice in January, he said he wasn't worried about what any medical association might say.
""I'm not worried because the medical associations or any other association is worried about it, because they don't know what they're talking about. They're either not courageous enough or not knowledgeable enough or willing to do enough research around what the real issues are," he said. "I don't think they care about people who are dealing with these issues who know that for them homosexuality doesn't represent their authentic selves and for whom this really works."
4. Mark Davis
Dallas' long-serving right-wing radio yakker never ceases to amuse. He's said that allowing women in combat is an "outrage against humanity" — which gives us an opportunity to highlight two awesome women who graduated from Army Ranger school last month — that kids wouldn't be bullied if they were just tougher and that men needed to "sit their women down" and order them not to go see Fifty Shades of Grey.
For the 20 years or so Davis has been in Dallas, he's been a consistent source of the kind of foaming-at-the-mouth reactionary outrage that Texas gets stereotyped for, but we'd like to think Dallas is above. That's why he makes the list.
3. Ken Paxton
If you ever forget that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton makes his home in North Texas, just remember the location of his ongoing felony trial for violating lobbying rules: Collin County.
Since taking office in January, Paxton has led vitriolic and ultimately fruitless crusades against the LGBTQ community, abortion providers and the tyrannical practice of requiring insurance plans to cover birth control, in addition to being indicted for multiple felonies.
Before he took office, Paxton, then a state senator, picked up a $1,000 pen from a Collin County Courthouse metal detector and didn't return it until he got asked about by a sheriff's deputy, according to the Dallas Morning News .
He's become a national laughing stock, one who can't exit the stage soon enough.
2. Robert Jeffress
First Baptist Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress is the millstone around the neck of Dallas evangelical community. Any time they want to be taken seriously, they have to deal with questions about the leader of the 12,000-member strong church downtown. Jeffress, who recently oversaw the completion of a $130 million renovation that made his church's campus look more like a casino than a house of worship, has said that churches should turn over undocumented immigrants to authorities, that Catholicism is a "Babylonian mystery religion" and that abortion caused 9/11.
Jeffress also believes that President Obama isn't the antichrist, but a sign that the antichrist is coming, that Christians in the United States are being treated like Jews in Nazi Germany and that the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage is the worst in the history of a court that has upheld segregation, the treatment of people as property and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. A week doesn't go by without Jeffress going on Fox News and making an ass of himself. It's starting to get old.
1. Kory Watkins
Oh, Kory. You may have moved a bit further east in an attempt to establish an anarcho-libertarian utopia in Lone Oak, but you still qualify as living in North Texas for sure.
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For a couple of years now, whenever we saw a news report about a group of idiots carrying semiautomatic rifles in a Jack in the Box, Kroger or some other dumbass place; whenever we heard something about gun-rights "advocates" threatening members of the Legislature at the capitol, we knew we were going to see your smiling mug and your flippin' trilby hat on the national news.
Killing Legislators for supporting licensed open carry, not the the unlicensed version you support? We blush. But if we wanted to see complete and utter ignorance as to how the social contract has insured the continued existence of humanity, there was always your Facebook page.
If we never hear about you, your Open Carry Tarrant County group or see your hat again, it won't have been long enough.