Stereotyping of Texans is unprofessional, unfunny, and untrue.
It is sad that a professional journalist in this day and age would deem it acceptable and even entertaining to employ stereotypes (and patently untrue ones) to ridicule and demean others.
Newman utilizes one of the usual tricks of the stereotyping bigot: scour the landscape for a few individual examples that fit his preconceptions, then nonchalantly present them as typical. Heehee! "Newy Scruggs"! What a knee-slappingly ridiculous redneck Texan-sounding name! Let's make fun of this guy and his name while we're at it and leave readers with the idea that every other Texan and his or her name is equally laughable! Very classy.
[Addendum, 2013Ð14: For the record, if you want to make fun of a typical Texas redneck, Newy Scruggs is a pretty poor choice. The multiple-Emmy Award-winning journalist was born in Germany and grew up in South Carolina. And, oh yeah, he's African-American.]
If Newman had run into me, I have a feeling I wouldn't have been much use to him and wouldn't have been mentioned in his article. I was born and raised in Texas; my wife is a Texan from age 2. But our surname is Russian-Jewish. Between us, we've voted for Nader for President five times. She drives a Prius; I drive a compact car. We've both eaten a few chicken-fried steaks in our lives but not for a long time because we've been vegetarians for 12 years (not that I find reports of others' deaths from heart attacks funny). We're classical musicians and never (voluntarily) listen to country music. Neither of us has ever held a gun or worn a Stetson. I've never ridden a horse. . . . And happily, we've had no trouble finding a lot of like-minded friends here in Texas.
But certainly I can't deny that in the grand scheme, Democrats in this red state are the rare exception CAN I? Well, maybe I can. Would it interest readers to know that six of the seven most populous counties in Texas went for Obama in the 2008 Presidential election? (Google ["2008 US Presidential Election Results by County" texas] if you doubt this.) Most of the red counties are rural. Cliches such as "the buckle of the Bible Belt" are tiresome and their use is disingenuous.
How many readers know that Houston's duly-elected mayor, Annise Parker, is openly lesbian, and an openly gay candidate, Ed Oakley, recently came close to winning a runoff election for mayor of Dallas? Or that Dallas has had THREE Jewish women mayors? Statewide, such instances of political leadership by women and minorities (and liberal Democrats) are commonplace. Texas may have fit its tumbleweed, cattle, and oilfield stereotypes to some extent in 1930, but no more.
I can't help wondering: if the Yankees had won the ALCS, would we now be reading Mr. Newman's "humorous" takes on New York's Jews and Italians? . . . If this is satire, I'm not laughing.