City Hall

New York Magazine Fawns Over the Manliness of Dallas' "Man's-Man Mayor," Mike Rawlings

Mayor Mike Rawlings' recently launched crusade against domestic violence has been earning praise from local media since it was announced it a couple of months ago. Now, after traveling to the Big Apple to speak on the issue alongside Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Michael Bolton, he's gathering attention from elsewhere.

The latest plaudits come from New York magazine, which published an interview with Rawlings on its website this morning. In it, he retreads territory we in Dallas have become familiar with -- the shooting death of Karen Smith at a UT Southwestern parking garage; the need to change the "culture of violence" that perpetuates domestic abuse; the repeated appeals to machismo -- and explains how he came to care about the issue.

More interesting is the portrayal of Rawlings as the "Man's-Man Mayor," someone perpetually swimming bare-chested in a testosterone sea who, out of an old-fashioned sense of chivalry, has paused to help the fairer sex. A sampling:

You don't need a Y chromosome to know Mike Rawlings is a man's man. Before he became mayor of Dallas in 2011, he was the top executive at Pizza Hut and, before that, an athlete. He has a full of head of gray hair and a voice like Jeff Daniels. When he talks, he relies heavily on sports metaphors. None of this should make his anti-domestic-violence activism surprising, but it might make him the movement's most refreshing new spokesman.

For effect, Rawlings even drank orange juice, long considered the manliest drink in the Beveragesphere, when meeting with the magazine's reporter.

The mayor's efforts are to be praised, even if a campaign against domestic violence carries zero political risk. But one has to wonder: Why the borderline obsessive talk about his manliness? Is Bloomberg too effete for New Yorkers' tastes? Are they thirsty for a ban on something other than large sodas? Or are they simply astonished that someone from Texas is not doing something that's not overtly stupid?

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson

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