Sunday, March 06, 2005

New Dallas Newspaper Feature

Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News has introduced a new Sunday section called "Points."
Points is dedicated to publishing challenging essays, editorial features and commentaries that are more cutting-edge than what some readers of America's daily newspapers may be used to. We want to shake things up, and be as stylish, witty and surprising as we can while doing it.

Today's Points cover story asks a provocative question—" Is Dallas good for smart people?" —that gets to the heart of our mission. We put the query to three of Big D's best-informed and most opinionated intellectuals, and they offered answers that should get our readers debating.
Today's Points features an interview with Malcolm Gladwell, as well as the above-mentioned debate on whether Dallas is a friendly place for smart people. Virginia Postrel has a provocative take on that question:
Four years ago, I told my New York literary agent that I was moving from Los Angeles to Dallas. He replied, "You have my condolences."

* * *

The professional intellectual could do a lot worse than Dallas, however. You could, for instance, be stuck in the provincial ghettos of New York or San Francisco. There you'd have lots of other writers to talk to. The newspaper would report publishing gossip as major business news. You'd go to book parties and free lectures. You'd know who was arguing with whom about what.

But unless you traveled a lot, you'd have no idea what the rest of American culture is like. Reporters in New York have called me up to ask about the business significance of Whole Foods Market and the cultural meaning of the Left Behind series–both ancient news everywhere but The New York Times. New York is an intellectual cave, and San Francisco is even worse.

If your job is to analyze the society in which you live, Dallas is in fact a fine place to be. Live here and you won't believe nonsense like David Brooks' claim in The Atlantic that "In Red America the self is small. ... In Red America there is very little one-upmanship." You'll know that this part of Red America throbs with ambition. Dallas remembers what it was like to be poor and insignificant, and it wants to be rich and important. Nobody builds a megachurch by being humble.
It was over a year ago that Rod first told me that the Dallas Morning News was thinking about launching a new Sunday section, and that they were considering him for the job. I'm pleased to see the plan come to life.

Stuart Buck


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's really astonishing how insular NYC can be. Camus once remarked, wrt Parisian intellectuals, that the more confident they seemed in their opinions, they less they likely knew about the subject. It seems to me that the same could be said about NYC writers attempting to describe the rest of the country - they think they understand us, even as they disdain and avoid us. It's astonishing, really.

8:15 PM  

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