Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Debate Rages

I visited the Dallas Center for Culture and Humanities last night to hear the continuation of the debate, "Is Dallas Good for smart people?" One panelist, Dr. Frederick Turner argued yes, the other, Jerome Weeks, said no. Dr. Turner is a professor and humanities chair at the University of Texas at Dallas. Jerome Weeks is the book critic for the Dallas Morning News. Their reasoning was based on different premises. Dr. Turner said Dallas is filled with accomplished, intelligent people in the arts and sciences (list ensues). Dallas has a philosophy forum, literary groups, visual arts organizations, museums, universities. Mr. Weeks focused on what it does not have (please see New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago). He also pointed out the large number of people who come here at entry level positions in their fields, then evacuated for cities with more to offer.

These people don't know nothing. The Dallas Cowboys could stomp shit out of the New York Giants and Chicago Bears. And Los Angeles doesn't even have a football team no more. Stupid!

But anyhow, I am not a cultured smart person with a high IQ and abilitiy to make perceptive comments about literature, art, or theater. Dallas certainly has a lot of wonderful institutions, and in a metroplex of over 5 million people is it any wonder that there are Nobel Prize winners, and accomplished artists? Maybe you live in Cleveland? (Send all email to troll@dallasnews.com).

Dallas isn't LA, with Hollywood and its museum and its really cultural gangland wars. It isn't New York, with its arts scene, publishing industry, world stature, theater scene, etc. etc. However, you can eat Kim Chi in Korean neighborhoods, talk to people from India and Ethiopia, and see an American City that's starting to look a bit more cosmopolitan. If that's the word for such things. Ask a smart person. Me not smart.

It all depends on criteria and definitions. Dallas is growing. Molly Ivins did have a nice quip when she said Ft. Worth honors the artist, and Dallas honors the person who buys the art.

Dallas is going to have that tag of being shallow and superficial. It also has its share of feathers in its cap and real black eyes (see Colnel Cathcart, Catch 22). One hopes it isn't too preoccupied with bullshit like this though.

And the Mavericks are higher in the standings than the Lakers or Knicks.


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