Up front, let me share that I am a big fan of D Magazine. Their stories are compelling, their writing is crisp and imaginative, and if you follow some of their folks on Twitter, you are in for an interesting ride through hipster pop culture and liberal politics, both things I enjoy keeping track of.
I particularly enjoy the work of Editor Tim Rogers, who every once in a while reveals that I drive him nuts.
But that can be fun, as it was a year ago, when we went a few rounds on those disgusting sideline protests by NFL players:
Amid the sharp disagreement, Tim graciously compartmentalized between the ideological and personal, referring to me as someone whom he has met “and found to be delightful. I just think much of what he writes and says is distasteful.”
Fair enough. I haven’t met the most of the crew at D, but their views sometimes grate me to the core. So what? I read them anyway, sometimes agreeing, usually not, but never throwing a hissy about it.
So today, it appears Tim has another gripe with me, and the goodwill of last fall is gone. My thoughts on the current post-Charlottesville hysteria have led him to conclude that I am an “intellectually dishonest fearmonger.” It gets better. He now calls on the Dallas Morning News to rid itself of the burden of my work and find “ another conservative writer.” The translation, of course, is “a less conservative writer,” because the charges of fearmongering and intellectual dishonesty are just the usual code language I hear all the time when people really, really disagree with me.
Which is fine. I enjoy vigorous debate, and have enjoyed it in particular with Tim. But here’s his post today, after which we will see what to conclude when people just want to shut you down instead of addressing real issues:
First, to the photograph. It is a screengrab from one of my Dallas Gold and Silver ad campaigns, which they very cleverly used in a post a few years ago, an imaginary interview with me about how I write my columns. A few freeze-frames were accompanied by “quotes” they wrote in which I essentially admit to being a shallow windbag.
It was funny stuff. And it appears they truly believe it and can’t restrain themselves from sharing it, as in this finger-wagging this week from Zac Crain:
Really? Why do they publish me? Maybe it’s because I supply something they want. I have readers who love me, and readers who hate me, and the Dallas Morning News has an op-ed page that welcomes a wide panoply of views, and one of them is mine. They publish columns (and sometimes write editorials) that strike me as absurd, but at no point do I storm off in a huff suggesting that those words just don’t deserve to see the light of day because they rankle me. The notion that I should just be sidelined is just so very, well, stereotypical left, and I thought these boys were better than that. It is the liberal weasels that seek to silence speech they disagree with; the D Mag team seem like sharp, smart and often funny people more than equipped to actually address things I say, if they ever want to do it. But no, it’s just far easier to badger the Morning News Editor to drop me. Whatever.
I hate to disillusion them but my relationship with the DMN has never been stronger. For thirteen years, they have let me address whatever I wish in the style I choose, even allowing me to take issue with their editorials and other columnists. My columns for them are often run in other newspapers, for which I am always grateful. I think the chances of them acceding to D’s demands are fairly low.
My value is that in a wide range of American opinions, from left to right, from hating Trump to loving Trump, I’m the consistent conservative who actually supports the Trump agenda (if not every element of his demeanor).
My Charlottesville column apparently sent them into a sufficient tizzy that they decided to scour my Twitter feed to find something they could eviscerate. And this was the best they could do?
I have indeed assured listeners and readers that the movement that seeks to uproot every Confederate statue contains people who will not stop at that. They will come for Sam Houston, they will come for Thomas Jefferson, they will come for George Washington for the retroactively unpardonable sin of slave ownership. I found a tweet highlighting a 2015 Newsweek article asking that very question, “Should We Change the Name of Washington, DC, because he owned slaves?” The opinion piece described how Democrats have removed the names of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson from some of their fundraising dinners because these great Presidents did not hew to 21st century sensibilities. The article itself was a hypothetical exercise, not a screed recommending the purge of Washington’s name… and I never said it was. It was an illustration of the question I expect to hear more and more as activists seek to go after not just Confederate generals but founding fathers.
If the boys at D think this mob will self-restrain, okay. I don’t. They may think I’m a “fear-monger.” I think they are naive.
But so what? We disagree. Fine. D Publisher Wick Allison has a pearl-clutching piece online now about how all the confederate statues “must come down.” I read it. I wholly disagree. I am somehow restraining myself from suggesting the publication should be embarrassed to have printed it, or that he and his stable of writers just generally suck because they annoy me sometimes.
So, to return to my initial premise: I am a fan of the D Magazine product. How could I not be? I have an award from them on my studio wall: “Best Local Tweeter, 2014,” which takes on a delicious irony at the moment. But that was from readers, not editors; I suppose I should thank them for not tampering with the votes. And their always tremendous “Best of Big D” issue names my friend Tom Fleming’s Crossroads Diner for Best Breakfast 2017. In fact, I had been sharing some love for them on that point when I was informed today that they apparently view my work as a Zika virus. Oh, well.
So to wrap up, I look forward to the occasional barbs from D Magazine or anyone else who thinks I’m just full of it. But when it degenerates into ugly disdain devoid of goodwill, that just gets tiresome. And that is the last thing I ever thought I would feel about these guys. So even if I continue to irritate them mightily, I hope we can share space in a constructive fashion, because ain’t neither one of us going anywhere.