*I googled "what is the largest state fair in the united states" just to get some facts and figures to back up my claims of the Texas State Fair's superiority, but I came up with nothing. This doesn't mean anything.
So, you can imagine my heartbreak last year when the Big Tex, the State Fair's official mascot, landmark for lost children, and welcoming creepy old cowboy, perished in a fire.
I was heartbroken, y'all. I legitimately cried...for kind of an embarrassingly long time. I watched the footage on TV like some major world event. In the days and weeks following, I paid attention to the details of how they were planning on rebuilding the big guy. I even donated to the fundraiser they held for his resurrection (or at least, I really, really meant to). I spent the early part of this past week trying to figure out how I could sneakily watch the live feed of the unveiling at work. My scheming was short lived, since the wind blew the curtain away from Big Tex a day early. Here he is! My new Prince Charming!
Now, I know you can't please everyone, and I knew that there would certainly be naysayers, but I did NOT expect the vitriol that emerged after Big Tex's unveiling. Is he a bit malproportioned? Of course. He wouldn't be Big Tex otherwise. Are his boots a bit misshapen? Yes, and I can't blame anyone for being a little annoyed about that. Boots make the cowboy, after all, and as someone who really, really meant to donate to that fund, I think the money could have been spent on better looking boots. These were normal complaints. This, I expected. I did not expect this, though I probably should have.
These aren't even all of them. They're just all I could stomach long enough to take screen shots.
I strongly doubt that anyone intended to make Big Tex look Hispanic. This state is simply not that progressive. Nope, I am sure that his slightly darker coloring was a mishap of paint color that turned out darker than the swatch, or an attempt at the kind of tan a cowboy like Big Tex would have if he's working outdoors all day, every day. Regardless of the intention, if he is in fact darker skinned: GOOD. Texas is increasingly darker skinned, so he is a reflection of our changing demographic. It is a sad indication of the atmosphere of our state that so many people seemed to want Big Tex to stay white. I wonder how many other things in Texas these people would like to "paint lighter."
And furthermore, if Big Tex is the kind of cowboy that would rather go dancing at the Round-Up Saloon than Billy Bob's, that's OK, too. Diversity, people! It's beautiful, it's nothing to be ashamed of, and it's a huge part of what makes this a great state. The future is now, and it looks a lot like Big Tex Mex. I dig it.
I can't wait to take my daughter to the fair, get a corn dog, and wait for Big Tex's semi-hourly address. Maybe it will be bi-lingual? Nah. That's hoping too much.