Thursday, June 7, 2018

Lawrence Wright

Lawrence Wright's latest book is God Save Texas: A Journey Into The Soul Of The Lone Star State. From his Fresh Air interview with Dave Davies:

DAVIES: You have a chapter called "Culture." Explain. You say there's level one of Texas culture and a level two. What's the distinction you're drawing?

WRIGHT: Well, I say there are three levels of culture. And level one is the basic, primitive stuff that we think of in the case of Texas, like barbecue and cowboy hats and boots and belt buckles and rodeos. And that's all, you know, very characteristic of the state. And it's that kind of thing, you know, that people think of when they think of Texas. And, you know, that was true of Texas in its formative days, and it's - it continues in a form of nostalgia.

Level two is when money comes into the picture. And people begin to explore outside of their native culture, and they get educated. They travel. They learn about different cuisines. They start collecting art and building museums and theater companies and dance companies, and all of the world rushes in. And that is - you know, it's an important stage, but there's a - it's a bit neurotic, and it is full of envy. It's casting its eye on other cultures and what they have to offer. And there's a deep sense of insecurity about that level. And that really...

DAVIES: And you see this in the big museums and performance venues in - what? - Dallas and Houston and other places, right?

WRIGHT: Sure. And in, you know, the - and in the education that we get, you know, sending your children abroad and so on. You go out in the world, and you learn about it. And that's very important. But it creates a sense of estrangement and, some ways, a sense of embarrassment about level one, the primitive stuff that goes together, that makes your culture unique. And then, you know, I postulate a third level, when you...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue