There are days when I wake up and wonder if I've blogged it all. I ask myself whether I can bring the snark one more time. Is that all there is? Is this the day that my muse abandons me?
Upon seeing this story in today's paper, I gratefully realized that today was not one of those days.
ALPINE -- The first indication that Dr. Larry J. Sechrest's neighbors and students had read his article titled "A Strange Little Town in Texas" came when he began receiving death threats and obscene phone calls and his house was vandalized.
The article by Sechrest, 57, an economics professor at Sul Ross State University, was published in the January issue of Liberty, a small libertarian magazine with a circulation of about 10,000 and only two local subscribers. But it was weeks before people heard about it in remote Alpine, which is three hours from the closest Barnes & Noble, in Midland.
The article lauded the beauty of West Texas, the pleasant climate, the friendliness and tolerance of the locals. But Sechrest, who has a Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Texas, also contended that "the students at Sul Ross, and more generally, the long-term residents of the entire area, are appallingly ignorant, irrational, anti-intellectual, and well ... just plain stupid."
Sechrest wrote that he was "prepared to defend to the death the proposition that Sul Ross, and this area of Texas more generally, is the proud home of some of the dumbest clods on the planet."
The article, copied and passed around by the hundreds, led to two anonymous death threats on Sechrest's office phone, scores of obscene phone calls in the middle of the night, eggs tossed at his home and windows smashed on a car parked outside his house.
Sechrest said he never expected the people in Alpine to read the article, nor did he expect such violent reaction.
He thought of his piece as "a Mark Twain sort of thing, meant to be light-hearted," he said. "I can't believe there's such anger -- not in Alpine!"
UPDATE: El Gato is an alum of Sul Ross, and is unsurprisingly unimpressed with Prof. Sechrest's remarks. Just so we're all clear on this, neither am I. CrispyShot's interpretation in the comments here is spot on.Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 17, 2004 to The great state of Texas | TrackBack