The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, May 20, 1987, Image 2

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    Page 2/The Battalion/Wednesday, May 20, 1987
Blame Travolta for Texas’ woes
Face it. The
i 980s have been John
the pits for Texas, Young
and John Travolta
is largely to blame.
Sure, go ahead and blame our
problem on OPEC and the oil
prof iteers. Blame it on small foreign
cars. Blame all the forces that caused the
oil economy to come crashing down.
But save some blame for cowboy chic.
Because of it we’re the laughingstock of
the nation.
It is no coincidence that the decade
started with the premiere of the movie
“Urban Cowboy” and that Texas’
economy went downhill from there.
“Urban Cowboy” may have been the
biggest disgrace ever foisted upon a
Some may have seen it as good
publicity, bringing attention to good
times in the Lone Star State.
In truth, moviegoers across the
country were beholding Texans much
like one is viewed when one’s fly is
Let us recall the plot of “Urban
A basically worthless young man with
no ambition and no future moves to the
big city.
He frequents a bar the size of Rhode
Island where people wear cowboy hats,
boots and jeans so tight the circulation is
cut off. In particular, we wonder if any
blood is getting to the brain.
One symptom of this mental
asphyxiation is the major pastime at the
bar, the riding of a mechanical bull. The
barflies spend their nights being thrown
off the bull.
The young man meets a basically
worthless girl with no ambition and no
They are perfect for each other.
They marry and move into a house
Things get rocky immediately. The
two have a falling out. She succumbs to
a sleazy pseudo-cowboy. He falls for a
sleazy pseudo-cowgirl.
Finally he wins her heart back by
outriding old sleazeball on the
mechanical bull. The happy couple
rides a pickup truck off into the sunset.
Somehow — don’t ask me why — this
movie became a national phenomenon.
The sad result was that millions became
Mail Call
Anyone have a question?
I would like to address the issue of dissent recently communicated by Fred
Wells in the May 13 issue of The Battalion.
When my wife and I chose Texas A&M for graduate school in 1984, our
decision was based on A&M’s academic reputation in my chosen Field. In the past
three years I have come to appreciate the educational opportunities available here,
in particular, the faculty who have taught me how to learn. In the time I have
studied here I have made no attempt to become familiar with the traditions for
which the University is generally known. So you see, a person can appreciate Texas
A&M independent of the traditions people cherish. I am proud to be a Texas
A&M student.
Flie purpose of a university is to provide an environment for learning. Such an
environment must be characterized by questioning, not simply accepting. Without
questioning, we are simply memorizing, and in doing so cannot contribute
anything new to society. This university cannot be made a better place in which to
learn when we ship out our dissenters who make us question the status quo. You
who love our traditions should tell us why they are worth cherishing, and you who
want change should tell us why we would be better off with change. Those of you
who dislike such an open-minded exchange of ideas should question why you are
at a university in the first place.
Steven Hackett, graduate student
Rocking the boat
We write this letter in response to Brian Frederick’s article on Affirmative
Action. First a simple analogy. Two people engage in a boat race. One starts in a
high-powered motorboat and the other in a canoe. Late in the race, the canoe is
replaced with a motorboat to even the odds for each racer. So the problem is now
solved, right? Wrong. Although both racers now have motorboats, they began on
signif icantly different terms and one racer has to make up for lost distance. This
analogy is a parallel of discrimination in our society and an attempt to correct it.
In light of centuries of discrimination and deprivation, American businesses
have the obligation and opportunity to redress past injustices. Reverse
discrimination? Is it reverse discrimination when, in fact, Hispanics, Blacks,
Orientals, women and others were not educated or hired on the same level as white
males? We must measure “reverse discrimination” from a point of equilibrium — a
point which has never existed in America.
History has proven that efforts similar to Affirmative Action have failed in the
attempt to assure equality in employment. In 1966, the federal government
encouraged voluntary efforts, but only some 317 firms and 118 unions complied.
T herefore, a more stringent plan was necessary and brought with it the
consequence of displacing the ruling majority.
Frederick stated that “they have not yet matured in great numbers.” This
statement seems strongly akin to what a former major league baseball executive
said a few weeks ago. It implies mass inferiority and is based on deep-rooted social
racial stereotypes. This is a harsh indictment on the millions of minorities in
Frederick’s faith in the American way is appreciated, but highly unrealistic. It
is true that attitudes and beliefs cannot be changed by law, but legislation can af fect
change in discriminatory actions and racist behavior in employment practices.
France Brown ’89
Eric Henderson ’89
Letters to the editor should not exceed 300 words in length. The editorial staff reserves the right to edit letters for style
anti length, hut will make every effort to maintain the author’s intent. Each letter must be signed and must include the
classification, address and telephone number of the writer.
The Battalion
(USPS 045 360)
Member of
Texas Press Association
Southwest Journalism Conference
The Battalion Editorial Board
Sondra Pickard, Editor
Marybeth Rohsner, Opinion Page Editor
Rodney Rather, City Editor
Robbyn L. Lister, News Editor
Loyd Brumfield, Sports Editor
Robert W. Rizzo, Photo Editor
Editorial Policy
The Battalion is a non-profit, self-supporting newspaper oper
ated as a community service to Texas A&M and Bryan-College Sta
Opinions expressed in The Battalion are those of the editorial
board or the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions
of Texas A&M administrators, faculty or the Board of Regents.
The Battalion also serves as a laboratory newspaper for students
in reporting, editing and photography classes within the Depart
ment of Journalism.
The Battalion is published Monday through Friday during
Texas A&M regular semesters, except for holiday and examination
Mail subscriptions are $17.44 per semester, $34.62 per school
year and $36.44 per full year. Advertising rates furnished on re
Our address: The Battalion. 216 Reed McDonald. Texas A&M
University, College Station. TX 77843-4 111.
Second class postage paid at College Station, TX 77843.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Battalion, 216
Reed McDonald. Texas A&M University, College Station TX
urban cowboys.
Another sad result was that fair
minded people outside of Texas
thought the average Texan had brain
And so while we blame the oil
collapse for Texas’ economic troubles,
we fail to realize that Texas’ prestige
had taken a royal bucking thanks to
cowboy chic. Recruiting new business?
What Fortune 500 company wants to
deal with a bunch of yahoos like that?
Cowboy chic is a lasso around Texas
neck. In terms of fashion it looks dumb
except on real cowboys, who wear what
they wear for a reason. And, might I
say, Cod bless the real cowboys, if you
can find one.
Let’s face it. Cattle drives just aren’t
that central to the T exas experience.
And yet we have allowed cowboy chic to
become a Texas trademark. Then we go
around thinking we’re going to attract
high-tech companies and top-flight
Sell that to the bull.
What Texas needs to do is shake the
urban cowboy image. It is an
embarrassment. It’s not good for
business anymore.
Herewith is a three-point plan for
doing so:
Cowboy registration — If you’re a
cowboy, fine. You have the state’s
permission to dress like one. T he state
will provide a photo I.D. to real
If, however, you’ve never straddled a
horse or soiled your boots, sorry,
pardner. No cowboy permit for you.
No more cowboy promos — The state
should refrain from advertising trail
dust and cattle roundups as the Texas
experience. That is false advertising |^ |
Advertise beaches, hills, woods, Mpoc i.d
reservoirs, bluebonnets, prettyivo as |tin\ a:
and chicken-fried steaks. the UUc
A new name for the Dallas Cor ** e '| l | 1 | l .‘ 1 l | n
— This is going i< > he the imulio
separation. T he most vivid insigniij s | n . a( | n
cowboy chic is Dallas’ football teac q n j V ei s
Unfortunately, as Texas' mostv: ■arch t<
ambassadors, the Cowboys, blessrl- h |sl <)
are the most responsible for the whdm
impression that Texas isacowbor “ ,
11 isn’t. Any suggestions? |||| | R . (
How about the Corporate Raidt: t } u r esi
The Killer Bees. The Armadillos. Mkl. M
The Landrys. The Lillys. TheC q iu,,KA .
(.u\ --
What was that? The BubbasPCti ^ (
your room. KaNoi
I ley, this is serious. Until Texai treated
shakes cowboy chic, it is nevergoiitH 1011 !’ v
hear the last of it f rom Massachudjf.
and the conquering quiche-eaters* r
hear so much about.
Hart learned the hard way:
Americans don’t like weasels
Gary Hart
most likely
still would be
running for
today if he
point: The
public, more often than not, will
forgive mistakes, but it will not
forgive trying to wiggle and
weasel out of one.
Richard Nixon learned that
lesson the hard way, too.
When the Watergate story
first broke, had Nixon told us,
“Listen, I’m involved. I made a
stupid mistake that I am sorry
for and I promise you I’m going
to fix it,” most would have
forgiven him and been
impressed by his honesty and
he wouldn’t have had to leave
the White House in disgrace.
Ronald Reagan may very well
wind up in the same situation as
Ronald Reagan is the kind of
man for whom most of us will
go out of our way to believe and
to forgive.
If it is discovered he knew all
along about the Iran/Contra
thing, then we will know that
he, too, like Nixon, is a liar, and
all respect for him will come
tumbling down upon his head.
But if Reagan was directly
involved in Iran/Contra and
had admitted it in the
beginning and said he was sorry
in that “gosh, darn,”
mannerism of his, he could
have had the scandal behind
him a long time ago.
I heard the same reaction to
the Gary Hart story over and
over. Hart said his involvement
with the blonde actress included
nothing that was immoral.
“What does this guy think,
we’re a bunch of idiots,” a
friend of mine asked.
“He goes off on a yacht to
Bimini with a beautiful young
woman and then she flies to
Washington to see him.
“And we’re supposed to
believe nothing was going on
between them?
“If he is taking such risks
with his public image and his
marriage and he’s not doing
anything immoral then I
wouldn’t vote for him for being
a wimp and a stupid wimp on
top of that.”
But what if Hart had
admitted what we all knew was
the truth in the first place?
What if he had said:
“I’m guilty of adultery. I met
her in Aspen and she was very
beautiful and charming and I
felt I simply had to see her
“My marriage has not been
on Firm ground for sometime
and, on top of that, traveling
and campaigning can heaven !
lonely proposition.
“We sailed to Bimini fora
few days; then I had herflyto
Washington to be with me fori
“Under the strictest moral
code, what I did was wrong.H l
I am a human being and I
weakened at a time I needed
be strong.
“But I refuse to lie and 1
humbly ask you still support^
as a candidate for the
“I am not lying now,andl
will not lie to you in the futiirf
I made a mistake, but 1 whm
make it again.”
who o
mil lei
oi thi
I could go for that, and 1
could admire a man who worn
stand up and admit he hasbdj
caught with his pants down,
even if the location had been
aboard a yacht called Monke' I
But Hart tried to wiggleanl
weasel his way out, and now"|
have cast him overboard and
has returned to his home. In
Troublesome Gulch, Colo.,
where he belongs.
Copyright 1987, Cowles Syndicate