Texans learned long ago that Texas Jewboy Kinky Friedman is an acquired taste. But recently, because of the success of his series of detective novels and a new CD, From One Good American to Another, the Kinkster's horribly politically incorrect humor has been reaching a diverse audience far beyond Texas--with mixed results. On the insufferably smug public-radio show Whad'ya Know?--broadcast out of PC mecca Madison, Wisconsin, and carried locally by KERA-FM 90.1--the Kinkster recently rattled the audience down to the soles of their Land's End moccasins.
When host Michael Feldman, apparently a Kinky fan, introduced the cigar-smokin' Texan--known for songs like "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore," and "Asshole from El Paso"--the limp applause should have been a dead giveaway that Kinky was spiritually far, far away from his beloved Hill Country. Kinky ended the short, uncomfortable phone interview with Feldman by reciting his personal goals: "to be fat, famous, and financially fixed, and a faggot by 51." A pin dropping in the Madison studio would have sounded like a cannon going off.
Not that things are much better back in Texas, where Attorney General Dan Morales blasted Molly Ivins for repeating in her column a vintage Kinky joke: "Jesus told the Mexicans: 'Ya'll don't do anything 'til I get back.'" (Actually, Molly was turning the "racist" joke on its ear to say how industrious Mexicans are.)
Kinky says this kind of humor hypersensitivity is an American thing. Racially mixed audiences have loved his shtick everywhere from Switzerland to South Africa. "I didn't pull any punches with any of this stuff--even the racial stuff," Kinky tells Buzz. "I didn't have any trouble at all. In fact, they all seemed to know exactly where I'm coming from."
Ironically, Kinky, who sees Gandhi and Nelson Mandela as spiritual role models, laments that no one seems to want to give him credit for his spiritual side. "These things are real important to me. And if I tell people that, they just laugh. They say, 'Sure, Kinky.'
"It's like the old Billy Joe Shaver song," Kinky says: "I'm a serious soul that no one takes seriously."
Solid bronze B.S.
Buzz has been hearing rumors--of a wild nature, we might add--that real-estate developer Trammell Crow and the Dallas Park Foundation, which he chairs, are thinking about adding scorpion and snake sculptures to the 40 bronze steers that cavort in front of the Dallas Convention Center.
The Dallas Park Foundation is still trying to corral enough corporate-sponsor money to add the final 30 steers to the park. When that is done, smaller sculptures may be added, according to Mike Bradshaw, the executive director of the Park Foundation. He wouldn't confirm the bronze-varmint rumors. "We have kicked around some other ideas," he says, "but we have not made any decisions. We've thought about rabbits and stuff, but we don't have a final list."
Though celebrating Dallas as a cattle-drive hub is bogus, at least scorpions and rattlers would have some historic accuracy--considering the park's proximity to City Hall.