Strange Folks, These Texans

Yankee sniper roost

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Sometimes I marvel, sometimes grind my teeth in frustration without intending to be so involved inside the heads of others, sometimes just don’t know what to think at all.

Texans carry around an over-weening, unconscious, cultural pride in the history of Texas, but mostly don’t know anything much about Texas history.  Literally don’t take the trouble to know.  Carry it around like kids playing cowboys and Indians, a given, picked up from John Wayne movies and a vague awareness the Alamo happened.  San Jacinto happened.  Sam Houston was somebody-or-other important, and naturally they admire him.

Mostly they don’t have a clue what the hell those guys were doing at the Alamo, why they were there, why they made the decision to die, instead of evacuating.  Don’t know why Houston made no attempt to relieve them.  But they venerate them because what-the-hell, everyone does.  Whoopteedoo.

One day when he was still visiting down here the neighbor from up the hill began the favorite Texas assertion, “Texas has the right to secede if it chose to.  Has the right to split up into five different States.”  Evidently the neighbor’d been learning his history from this ignorant twit calls himself Governor of Texas.  [Gov. Rick Perry: Texas Could Secede, Leave Unionhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/15/gov-rick-perry-texas-coul_n_187490.html“Sam Houston arranged it before Texas was annexed into the US,” the damned neighbor blandly tells me.

You happen to recall,” says I, “Texas tried once to secede?  Recall the consequences?”

  “Yeah, but it wasn’t voted by the State Legislature,” says he.

“What the hell you talking about?” says I.  “Sam Houston spent the last weeks before the vote to secede travelling all over Texas trying to talk them out of seceding.”

“Oh.  You mean THAT secession.”

Evidently he was referring to some later attempt by some Texas geniuses to secede.  Texans who never bothered to read up on how it turned out the last time it was tried for real.

But I’ve digressed.  I wasn’t going to tell you about the mindless drivel echoing around inside the heads of modern Texans.  I was going to tell you about some Texans and events of the 19th Century so truly remarkable they’d be worthy of study by anyone.  Texans and events, I was about to say, the overwhelming majority of Texans never heard of.

I was going to tell you a bit about Mirabeau Buonoparte Lamar, second President of the Republic of Texas.  Ten times the man, the courage, the intellect, Sam Houston ever was.  And a poet, besides.  Somewhere around here I’ve got a couple of books of his poetry. 

I was going to tell you about Jacob Snively.  One of the strangest, most interesting men in Texas, even US history.

I was going to tell you how Texas military forces invaded west, New Mexico twice, New Mexico and Arizona both, once, occupied Tucson.

I toyed with the idea of giving words to the Somerville expedition, the black bean incident Texans have a vague awareness of, but couldn’t tell you when, where, why, on a lottery-sized bet.

But to hell with it.  Texans ain’t interested in Texas history if it wasn’t in a John Wayne movie and I suppose it ain’t worth the effort anyway.  If they wanted to know anything about Texas history they’d learn to read.

Screw it.

Old Jules

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22 responses to “Strange Folks, These Texans

  1. Good morning Jules, thank you for the rant although obviously, being a Limey a lot of it went straight over my head. However, as usual a great read, wonder what your fellow Texan’s would think?
    Best wishes

    • Hi Mark: Thanks for coming by. I have a notion what my fellow Texans think, but I try not to allow it to make me one of them more than comes in the package. Gracias, J

  2. I doubt this is different anywhere else in the Union in these days of electronic media. People seem more interested in being entertained with fiction than with fact. An example here is that I doubt most Vermonters realize that the “Commonwealth of Vermont” was the first sovereign state to abolish slavery in modern times, and once admitted to the Union it was the first state to abolish slavery ( http://www.anti-slaverysociety.addr.com/hus-vermont.htm ). I consider that something to be proud of, but I see no evidence that this is common knowledge. I even took a college level class in Vermont history a decade ago, and this was never mentioned by the instructor or the text book. That seems particularly strange to me.

    • Hi Steve: Slavery was [is] a lousy choice for human beings. I suppose I’d prefer to be proud it never existed, as opposed to it being abolished here and there. Gracias, J

  3. Just finished your “Hell bent for Santa Fe” Very nice piece of historical fiction, Looking forward to reading “The Lost Adam’s Diggings”.
    What people generally have come to consider acceptable as “common knowledge” or activities worthy of their free time these days is in my opinion just pathetic. I’d be obliged if you wrote about those little known morsels of history that you mention. You do it in a colorful and engaging way and I suspect that the audience that you really want to reach would enjoy such. Entertained and educated at the same time. Damn if I don’t just love coming here to read about your cats and chickens and dieing oaks and whatever bit of history you’ve researched at some point in your life and wish to share. Please do it for as long as you find joy in it and know that there are those of us out there who will always come back for more.
    Sincerely,
    Jack

    • Hi Jack. I appreciate your remarks. I don’t talk about those books on the blog, at least I haven’t in the past, but I’m pleased you enjoyed HBSF. Gracias, J

  4. At one time I lived in Texas and pretended I could work as a public school teacher. I didn’t study Texas history because I was certified to teach in Oklahoma, but I recall thinking that common textbook used in Texas schools was mightly skimpy on the basis of what little I already knew.

  5. Hi Old Jules
    You know I’d have enjoyed reading all that stuff, but I know where you are coming from. People in the UK know little of their own history and many don’t seem to care much beyond beating the Nazis in 1945 and the Germans Football team in the 1966 World Cup.

  6. I don’t think anyone, residing anywhere, knows the true history of the state in which they reside. The state of ignorance is densely populated.

  7. Pingback: Strange Folks, These Texans | So Far From … | Should Texas Secede?

  8. I agree with Jack. I enjoy your rants. The one about Texas having it in their constitution that they can secede has been around for a while. I don’t know if it is the truth. I moved to NM to soon to be subjected to Texas history classes. To Ed: I heard recently that some of Texas history books are being revised to contain more history and less propaganda. I heard the man speaking who was back of the move. Hopefully they will be successful. All our states need to revive the true history of our states as does our federal government as for 30-50 years, maybe longer the historical revisionist have been hard at work.

    • Hi Mary: Texans put it to the test, mid-19th Century as I recalls. Hung a lot of people who didn’t agree with the decision from trees, attempting unanimity. But the issue was resolved whether they could, or couldn’t, sufficiently to have them speaking out of both sides of their mouths these post-modern times, waving US flags when they aren’t distracted by thinking how responsible they are for what all those dead guys did, being proud of what they had nothing to do with. Ah well. Thanks for coming by. Gracias, J

  9. Oh come on – tell us. I did have an exceptional Texas History teacher back in high school. We did study some of the incidents and people you mentioned, but not from any textbook. She taught with an overhead projector, showing us newspapers, diaries and letters. I was lucky enough to have her for World History, too. One quarter of the class was Art History. She showed us slides of classic artworks – we had to memorize when it was created, by whom and why it was historically and artistically significant. Best class I ever took.

    • Hi Jane: I might lose my resolve sometime in the future and shoot off an anecdote or two I find particularly amusing. For the momnet I’ll put it off, though. Yep, a person has to wonder whether any of those kinds of teachers are still out there inspiring the youngersters. Gracias, J

  10. For what it’s worth, Jules, I learned plenty from your post – and you’ve given me quite a bit to dig into. Of course, I’m not from Texas and don’t live there, so maybe that’s why I find it intriguing. While I spent a lot of time reading about my home state’s history, many folks always think any place but where they’re at is more interesting.

    Others, of course, just want to see what’s on television.

    • Hi Cotton Boll: Hope you find it fun. I wasn’t expecting anyone outside Texas to feel the nudge, didn’t actually expect Texans to, either. But I’m glad someone did. Gracias, J

  11. Whoop, whoop, whoopteedoo! This reader’s with you. It’s just so much easier to follow along and semi-digest the lies played out in the movies…

  12. Pingback: The News UNIT: Ann Barnhardt says states should secede « CITIZEN.BLOGGER.1984+ GUNNY.G BLOG.EMAIL

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