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"Dallas, You Merciless Universe!"

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On April 2, 1978, the cultural tsunami that was the TV show Dallas debuted with an episode titled "Digger's Daughter" -- and, of course, the hard-drinking, hard-fighting and hard-effin' Ewings may be far more responsible for the fall of communism than the Afghani fighters who beat the Russians courtesy some other Texan named Charlie Wilson. Check out an op-ed piece that appeared yesterday in The Washington Post called “How Dallas Won the Cold War,” by Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason Online, and Matt Welch, editor of Reason magazine. Write the twosome:

Dallas created a new archetype of the anti-hero we loved to hate and hated to love: an establishment tycoon who's always controlling politicians, cheating on his boozy wife and scheming against his own stubbornly loyal family. But no matter how evil various translators tried to make J.R. and his milieu ("Dallas, you merciless universe!" ran the French lyrics added to the wordless theme song), viewers in the nearly 100 countries that gobbled up the show, including in the Warsaw Pact nations, came to believe that they, too, deserved cars as big as boats and a swimming pool the size of a small mansion.

Yep, that’s us: greedy and proud of it. As evidenced by the new exhibit opening in May at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in downtown Austin, titled "Dallas: Power and Passion on Primetime TV." --Glenna Whitley

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

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Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.