Here Be Deplorables

A few years ago I was at a wedding in Delaware when the father of the bride, on learning that I lived in Austin, asked whether Texans still wore spurs and had guns holstered at their hips. I assumed he was joking: this successful businessman had to know that Texas is home to NASA, Dell computers and the oil-metropolis of Houston. But he was sincere. I assured him that in twenty-first-century Texas, nobody wear spurs to the mall. Perhaps, however, I got off lightly. As Lawrence Wright observes in God Save Texas: A journey into the future of America, “One can’t be from Texas and fail to have encountered the liberal loathing for Texanness, even among people who have never visited the place”. This is true also of some residents. I know people who arrived in Austin years ago, but have never ventured outside the city limits, through fear of what lies beyond: here be deplorables.