Tuesday, August 15, 2006

FrogMeat, Part 4: A Tale of Two Cities

Or, Cows vs. Cotton: Image, Illusion, and Identity in Contemporary Urban Texas

True to BearMeat's total coverage of the season opener, we will now turn to a comparison of the two cities that house the former SWC giants, TCU & WacoU. As referenced in the first of our 10-15 part series, FrogMeat, I wove the tale of when both schools called McLennan County home. Let us focus on the differences between Ft. Worth and Waco and see how that might effect the conditions on the field on Sept. 3.

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In order to determine which city should receive the advantage, we must ascertain the philosophical and cultural meanings of the respective towns. Ft. Worthless, home to the Stockyards, has long cultivated the image of the cattletown; the landed rancher-gentry who looks down on the get-nouveau riche-quick of Dallas's ostentatious oil barons. It is here where Louis Kahn's beautiful Kimbell Art Museum resides. As Big D's cultural superior, FW prides itself on sophistication, understatement, and subtlety. Home to the preppy, and ultra-modest TCU (Gallant to SMU's Goofus - if you'll permit me a Highlight's reference), Ft. Worth thinks of itself as true to Texas's agrarian roots while maintaining its distinctive urban identity. This is nothing but self-delusion. FTW may be more humane, but the Big City it is and no amount of rodeos and faux cattle drives will change that. While we admire the Fort, we cannot but look upon it as yet another metropolis gone awry with modernization, modernism, and the Modern Art Museum.

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Now take Waco. A city that peaked in the early 20th century, due to it's cotton production, Waco markets itself as the "Gateway to Texas History" and "A City With a Soul." Both are honest titles. With more churches per capita than any other TX municipality, it truly has a soul, or is at least very concerned about the state of its soul. Similarly, if Waco had another historical museum, then the major employer in the region would be misty-eyed nostalgia for the past. Hell, if you can't look forward, at least take stock of the past. The poverty, the faithfulness, the resignation, the despair; these characteristics have lead to BearMeat's discovery of the Waco Paradox. Waco's churchgoing ways do not preclude the hard-drinking night of dancing at Graham Central Station. Similarly, the presence of the largest Baptist university in the world has not stopped the ultra-high teen pregnancy rates. The Waco Paradox is a city that voted nearly 70% for W in '04, also elected Chet the Unvanquished, a pro-choice Democrat as its Congressman for yet another term.

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The Waco Paradox is the battle between the spirit and the flesh. It is the constant struggle of work and leisure, of sin and redemption, of Scruffy's and Antioch. Some Wacoans spend their lives focused on the afterlife. Others say that the Elysian fields are located near Miss Nellie's Pretty Place in Cameron Park. Still others believe that all that matters is the TCU season opener. Count us among the latter. Advantage: Waco. Sic 'em.

Breaking News: The WacoTrib is reporting that Daniel Sepulveda will most likely miss the first four games of the season. Hopefully, we won't be doing much punting in those games, but he will indeed be sorely missed. Get well soon, Danny Boy, for the pipes, the pipes are calling. We'll say a prayer for your speedy recovery.

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  • Wow, you have to admit, I really nailed the head on that subject. Waco vs. Ft.Worth is truly the central struggle of contemporary Texas. It is our generation's confrontation, writ large.

    By Blogger Red Andrews, at 11:44 AM  

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