Skip to comments.'White trash' Texas town written off by a professor
Posted on 02/21/2004 11:47:11 PM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
Over the years, Texans have been the butt of many cruel jokes. Opponents of President George W. Bush, who grew up in Midland, Texas, love to lampoon his folksy cowboy language.
But no one has been quite as insulting as Dr Larry Sechrest, a university professor in the Texan town of Alpine.
Last month, he published a 7,000-word essay entitled "A strange little town in Texas", in a small-circulation magazine based in Washington state. Unfortunately, a couple of subscribers who live in Alpine read his indictment of his 5,000 neighbours, two of whom have responded with death threats.
"The secret problem here," Dr Sechrest wrote in the introduction, "is that the students and more generally the long-term residents of the entire area are appallingly ignorant, irrational, anti-intellectual and well, just plain stupid."
The diatribe, which appeared in Liberty, an obscure libertarian journal, was apparently inspired by a letter from a student. On reading the words "Thank you for all your patients", an exasperated Dr Sechrest put pen to paper. "Here, one has poor white trash and poor Mexican trash socialising with each other," he wrote. "Here, the lowest common denominators get together to pro-create."
There was more. "Many of the kids are only a notch above retardation," he said. "The students here are among the worst... anywhere. I am prepared to defend to the death the proposition that this area of Texas generally is the proud home of some of the dumbest clods on the planet."
As an economics professor, Dr Sechrest had tried to interest the residents in theories of capital markets but most were interested only in "football, beer, sex and church".
Now he says: "The article was a Mark Twain sort of thing. I can't believe there's such anger."
Atomized, loosely knit and fiercely individualistic, citizens here are not much given to consensus. Or they weren't until Larry Sechrest came along and called them all a bunch of morons.
Sechrest, 56, is a jowly, acid-tongued economics professor at Sul Ross State University, an institution best known for producing schoolteachers and rodeo performers. The chain hotel manager has lived in the little town of Alpine for 13 years, more or less without incident. But it is not a gross overstatement to say that if an unpopularity contest were held here these days, he might give Saddam Hussein a run for his money.
In January, Sechrest published a 7,000-word article in Liberty, a tiny libertarian journal, titled "A Strange Little Town in Texas." After dispensing with the things he likes about Alpine -- great climate, clean air, awesome scenery, low crime rate, friendly locals, frontier spirit, robust theater scene -- Sechrest came to his main point.
"The secret problem is 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," he wrote. ***
........The reaction to Sechrest's article didn't stop at hostility. A petition circulated on campus calling on students to boycott his summer course offerings. Earlier this month, the university, citing budget cuts, informed him that he would be teaching -- and paid for -- just two summer courses, rather than the four he expected; the move would slash his income by $12,000. Furious, Sechrest accused the university of punishing him for his views and trying to drive him to quit. *** Source
Only two? I'd say that's pretty tolerant of them. If I lived in Alpine, I'd gladly make it three.
My advice to the professor is to be packed and out of town by sunset. Go to Berkely or Cambridge where such bilge is swallowed whole by the student populace.
In Texas, it will always be football, beer, sex and church - in one order or another. If he doesn't like that, I'd suggest he hook up with his kindred spirits in Vermont.
That's one powerful heap o' money for edukatin' ignoremuses....
Jest another Sunday 'round mi casa en Californica...!
They are, for the most part, narrow minded liberal snobs without a grasp of reality.They have never left the womb of the university and smelled the real world.
He's just pissed MIT or Harvard didn't want him.
No one is perfect.
The professor is tenured so the university president, who's under pressure to fire him, can't.
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