Somewhere out there is a sourpuss (there’s always one) who’ll ask, after picking up this special issue, what the fuss is all about. And he’ll have a point, sort of. Thirty-five years? Lots of publications have been around that long or longer. Just last year, one of the most iconic
Karen Tumulty on writing for Time.
Karen Tumulty on writing for Time.
The bar was set pretty high even before last year’s Bum Steers cover was named one of seven winners in the American Society of Magazine Editors’ annual Best Cover Contest. I mean, honestly: How to top Dick Cheney with a scowl and a shotgun? It’s not as if there was
I’m not cowed by the idea of admitting to things that put me on the banks of the mainstream in Texas—rooting for the New York Yankees (give me an alternative!), thinking Cormac McCarthy’s books are boring (get a rope!)—so I may as well also cop to the following: The cover
“The government didn’t understand the importance of saying to us, ‘This is a war for freedom every bit as much as World Wars I and II.’”
“I have got something that God has entrusted me with, and I have to make the most of it in helping other people.”
Several of this month’s letters to the editor, responding to our September issue, fall into two categories: those from angry liberals and those from angry conservatives. The libs rabidly attack Gary Cartwright for refusing to canonize Austin’s own Vegan de Milo, shopping center owner Jeanne Daniels, whose commitment
One of the inevitable realities of being in business for nearly 35 years is that you have a lot of ex-employees (all of them gruntled, I’m sure). Even though a surprisingly high number of the names on our masthead—seven!—have been here for more than three decades, the vast majority
My very first issue as the editor of this magazine—August 2000—had Lady Bird Johnson on the cover, flanked by her daughters, Lynda and Luci. Back then I hadn’t yet met the matriarch of Texas’s first family; certainly she didn’t know me from Adam (or Greg). But we would become acquainted
Jeanne Klein on the art of collecting.
This month’s cover story is one for the history books—in two ways. First, because executive editor Sam Gwynne’s report on the myth, majesty, and future of the King Ranch (“The Next Frontier,”) is as sweeping as the ranch itself, and second, because it’s a report from the inside.
“Al Qaeda would not have been able to come back to life, in my opinion, had we not invaded Iraq. That action breathed life back into the movement.”
I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but the worm finally turned sometime in the past year or two on the question of whether a magazine can survive without a Web site. For a while, I suppose, you didn’t necessarily need one, though we’ve been online in some form
AT SOME POINT EARLY IN THE PLANNING of this issue, our articles editor, Brian Sweany, asked if it was a problem that two stories hinge on the Kennedy assassination: the excerpt (“The President Is Dead, You Know,”) from LBJ consigliere Jack Valenti’s memoir and my interview with actor Bill
IN THE END, I HAD VISIONS OF HENRY BLAKE. Surely at least a few of you remember the character played by McLean Stevenson on the TV version of M*A*S*H: the lovable goofball of a lieutenant colonel who commanded the 4077th, a ragtag surgical unit doing its best to save lives
MY MOTHER WASN’T A LONGSHOREMAN. My father wasn’t a mob boss. They weren’t church choir directors either, but they certainly didn’t raise me to drop the F-bomb in conversation as liberally as you might sprinkle salt on french fries. Despite their best efforts, I have what can charitably be described
“When a person meets a Miss America, they’re still impressed. They’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh, you were Miss America?’”
ONLY A HIGHER POWER with a truly perverse streak would have deposited the Decider and the Derider in the same social circle—Houston’s close-knit private-school world—as teenagers. As the latter told me in an interview several years ago, the former “hung out with friends of mine and dated some girls I
Four years later, even more of our heroes have fallen in Iraq.
“You feel like you’re passing through time, but you don’t really feel like you’re leaving any time behind. You’re kind of in the moment, because the wind’s in your face and there’s always another highway.”
“IF YOU’RE GOING TO SHOOT THE KING, you’d better kill the king.” That’s what famous blogger and occasional journalist Paul Burka, our senior executive editor, told me on the phone the morning of Saturday, December 23, as I was huffing and puffing between sets of tennis. He had called to
“If we advocate righteousness and if in the way we live our lives we exemplify righteousness, we are winning by doing our duty. But if we try to mandate righteousness, we are wrong.”
IT WILL SHOCK AND DISTURB YOU—OR MAYBE it won’t—to learn that there are no original ideas in the magazine business; there are only good, worthwhile, creative riffs on original ideas. All of us who assign stories know what we like, and our job is to figure out how to do
“What does it say about us as humans beings when we listen to leaders who lie to us and, as a result, thousands of people are killed?”
THERE’S A CONTROVERSIAL WAR GOING ON, the aftermath of an election to mop up, the stock market rising, the price of oil falling, famine, pestilence—and our December cover story is about tacos? You bet. For as long as there’s been a Texas Monthly, the very best service journalism has had
“The newspaper business? I don’t mind being in a dying industry, but it really pisses me off to be in one that’s committing suicide.”
WHEN I MOVED TO TEXAS TO WORK for Texas Monthly in late 1991, the two words staring out at me from an upcoming cover were “Aggie Sex.” Was I on a different planet? I quickly got up to speed on what an Aggie was—sex I’d heard of—but it took me
HE DESCRIBED HIS LETTER to me as “an inquiry from the fringe of things,” a turn of phrase every bit as elegant as I would have expected from its author. He informed me that, at 86, he didn’t write much anymore, at least not for public consumption, but that as
“You know, talking to people is not appeasement if you know what you’re doing and you’re a good, hard-nosed negotiator. There ought to be nothing wrong with diplomacy.”
“I’m a good ol’ girl from Texas, and sometimes people misinterpret that Texas thing. I’ve learned to tone it down, but it’s been a drag. It’s the unfortunate aftermath of having gone to the mat with the wrong guys in Hollywood.’
I’M CONFLICTED. On the one hand, I feel strongly that the editor of a magazine should be able to have friends, acquaintances, and organizational ties that are occasionally newsworthy. And just because the editor has newsworthy associations, the magazine should not be precluded from covering a story related to those
“They take a shot at the presidency indirectly through me, which is fine . . . It just angers me that our professional journalists have accepted lower standards. I feel like Sergeant Friday: ‘Just the facts, ma’am.’”
Two related points about the state of the increasingly crazy business we’re in. First, like delicate species in the ecosystem, magazines can’t survive if they don’t adapt. Second, rumors of print journalism’s death have been greatly exaggerated, but as with so many overstatements, there’s an embedded grain of truth, and
“It’s funny: I’ve never been scared on a shuttle mission. It’s just the nature of the job. You’re busy, you’re focused, you’re well trained, and you go, ‘You know, if I’m going to die, there’s nothing I can do about it.’”
YES, THAT’S GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE Kinky Friedman—four words I’ve yet to utter with a straight face—on our cover this month, dressed somewhat less outlandishly than in the past. The last time (July 2004), you’ll recall, he was elegantly done up like the queen of England, as feminine as a swarthy man
“We don’t look at color, we don’t look at religion, we don’t look at economic means. Laredo is a real laid-back, accept-everybody kind of place.”
Wealthy Republican donor James Leininger on why he supports school vouchers and opposes apostates in his party.
I’m going to go out on a limb here—but not too far—and predict that supporters of Chris Bell’s campaign for governor will be angry when they read “He’s Sisyphus, and He Approves This Message”, by executive editor S. C. Gwynne. But misery loves company: Residents of Marfa, the Presidio
“It’s immensely gratifying to work with people who are trying to do their best at what they do toward a common end. And whether it’s an arrangement or the performance of a single song, I just love the feeling of watching three or four or sixteen people all working together.”
AS IT HAPPENS, we had already planned a May cover on Tom DeLay—on his political difficulties, on his ethical problems, on the ongoing investigation by Travis County DA Ronnie Earle into various alleged campaign finance shenanigans—when the defanged House majority leader announced he was withdrawing from his reelection race and
The candidate cattle call begins.
“There are a lot more people in the Democratic party who do what the Good Book says: Take care of the poor and the afflicted and the downtrodden.”
ONCE UPON A TIME, MAGAZINES redesigned every few years, in response to changing tastes and the possibilities presented by evolving technology. These days, if you want to ensure that the sell-by date on your most creative impulses doesn’t pass, it makes sense to redesign more often. This month, thanks to
Will Iraq be the president’s legacy? A conversation with eminent historians H. W. Brands and Doris Kearns Goodwin.
“The problem is that there’s nobody who can put their foot down and say, ‘Yep, by God, we’re going to do this . . .’ It’s a city without leadership.”
“Any idea you can think up and plan out isn’t going to be that good. There’s no way I could have thought up all of Holes beforehand.”
“I always thought that if I was having fun doing what I was doing and making a living doing it, then I was already successful.”
The case for my Texanness.
“People speak nostalgically about family newspapers. For every decent one, there were literally hundreds of embarrassingly bad ones.”