Behind the Lines

IF OUR READERS HAVE EVER finished the daily paper or the six o’clock news and felt there was more than what they were told, then they know why we started Texas Monthly. We designed it as an intelligent, entertaining and useful publication for Texans whose culture, sophistication and interests are largely unrecognized and unserved by existing media. All of Texas will be our province, but our major focus will be on the metropolitan triangle of Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.

Our only banner is one of integrity, fairness and quality writing. We serve no vested interests, protect no sacred cow and measure each subject by the same high standards. While we are not a magazine of politics we will not ignore the rich political life of our state. We will try to get behind the people and institutions that are shaping its political, commercial and physical environment and explain why it is what it is and how it got that way.

While we will explore in depth prominent persons and institutions, we will also be sensitive to men and women, not in the headlines, whose lives form the basic fabric of our times. We will introduce Texans whose experience or character lifts their life out of the ordinary into the universal. Such a person might be a bench-warmer on a high school football team, a man whose wife left him with the kids, a fed-up used car salesman or a girl who failed to make the Kilgore Rangerettes.

We are going to try to rescue business from the business pages. We will travel with a wildcatter as he looks for oil and journey out into the Gulf with shrimpers. We will look inside corporate headquarters as well as find smart young businessmen with hustle who might outclass James Ling or Gerald Hines. There is no reason why something as important as business should be interesting only to businessmen, or why businessmen should be served only dry, sterile accounts of what they do.

Texans are passionate about their spectator sports, from Little League to the pros, and we will be providing the kind of information and stories about the teams and the stars they can’t get elsewhere. We’ll also tell the amateur fisherman where to fish within city limits and about the best surf fishing or the hidden ponds and creeks where he can fish alone. While we’ll give the lowdown on hunting we will also look at endangered species and the interests of hikers and naturalists. We’ll introduce our readers to sports from fox hunting to jai alai, and maybe we’ll even persuade a few to try rugby in the park some Sunday (and we’ll tell them what liniment to use afterwards).

We don’t feel very safe ourselves these days, so we are going to try to face the issues of crime head on and see what isn’t being done that could be. We’ll meet police characters, teenage muggers, housebreakers and addicts; we’ll go inside massage parlors, “photography” galleries and counterfeit rings; and we’ll get the goods on crooked salesmen, business hucksters and corrupt officials. We’ll rate the police departments of our major cities and tell our readers where the safest and unsafest neighborhoods are, and we’ll try to figure out why.

In California today, and no doubt Texas tomorrow, more marriages end in divorce than succeed. The reasons behind such failure, as well as behind success, will be explored by the most sensitive writers we can find. We will be looking at all aspects of life in and out of the family unit, from raising and educating children to creating and developing the role of man and wife. We will shy from nothing but will be guided by our own good taste and best sense of what is important and of interest to our readers.

Besides these deeper issues, we are going to give our readers some practical tips on how to survive with some style in dealing with the outside world. In our column “Citywise” we will take a close look at gynecologists and psychiatrists, at pediatricians and plumbers, appliance repairmen and landlords. We’ll talk about consumer rights and how to get the most for the dollar. For the many decisions that face a family, both serious and not-so-serious, we will offer helpful guidelines. We’ll tell our readers the best schools in the state, both public and private, and the best summer camps. We’ll learn how to shop on the border, how to choose a veterinarian or where to invest with security and profit.

Culture in Texas deserves to be taken seriously, because good, sound criticism is vital to good art, good music and good theater. We will be providing such criticism on a regular basis, and will attempt to steer our readers to the best performances around, whether of Hamlet or country music. We will also carry in “Around the State” the only complete, critical guide to entertainment in Texas. We’ll be sticking our necks out each month with a capsule evaluation and necessary details on music, theater, art, night life and other entertainment in the major cities and on special events elsewhere.

For food and travel we will provide the same services we furnish for entertainment. We will be making a determined, regular effort to help our readers exploit opportunities for travel in Texas, Mexico and neighboring states. We will review restaurants, not only well-known ones but also ethnic restaurants and country cafes. We think our readers should occasionally try the Athens Bar and Grill and the Columbus Cafe and give someone else a chance to get a table at Maxim’s or The Cattlemen’s. As with entertainment, we will furnish each month the only complete guide to dining out around the state. With both our restaurant and entertainment guides our readers can be as at home in the other cities of Texas as they are in their own.

A magazine is always growing and changing and any attempt to describe it will necessarily be incomplete. We hope through their comments, criticisms, and suggestions

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