Yesterday afternoon, Texas gaped as the resurrected Big Tex experienced, in the vaguely unsettling words of State Fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding, a "premature birth." Fair Park's official Twitter feed announced the successful delivery with an equally unfortunate metaphor: "Ta-daaa! Big Tex drops his robe earlier than announced."
Rest assured that Big Tex was fully clothed in his custom-made Dickies when high winds prompted fair officials to remove his cloak of secrecy a day earlier than planned to reveal....a giant, semi-animatronic cowboy that looked pretty much like the old model. A bit more junk in the trunk, but otherwise indistinguishable.
Well, not quite indistinguishable. A close inspection reveals that the face has a darker complexion than before, leading many to pose a vital question:
Does Big Tex look African American or Mexican? pic.twitter.com/BtARDyVdYo
— K104 Morning Show (@K104MorningShow) September 25, 2013
Most people go with the latter. On Twitter, his unofficial nickname is Big Tex-Mex.
Given Texas' shifting demographics in the six decades since he was first unveiled, one couldn't fault the State Fair officials for making the cowboy a bit more ethnically ambiguous, but they're playing coy. Gooding told WFAA on Thursday, "He can be who you want him to be."
That's the lamest of all possible answers, and one that didn't satisfy WFAA reporter Jobin Panicker, who turned to an expert on the subject: trial lawyer/activist/politician/Mexican-American Domingo Garcia.
His answer was also lame.
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"Big Tex represents all of Texas, and Texans come in all shapes and colors and we need to embrace that diversity," he told Panicker.
Hey, look. The Internet is already embracing that diversity:
@K104MorningShow I seen him mowing the cotton bowl So Mexican
— Donovan Lewis (@TheTicketToken) September 26, 2013