Roger Gray

December 1, 2001 by  
Filed under Edit

In Your Face

by Roger Gray

Memo: Houston Chamber of Commerce

CC: Convention and Visitors? Bureau, Houston Proud (or Houston’s Hot or whatever our self-conscious city boosters are calling it these days)

Hey gang,

Just a thought here. Considering what’s going on in the world, don’t you think it might be time to adopt a lower profile? After all, no one comes to Houston on vacation. Can you honestly picture Joe and Jane Average sitting on the divan in Des Moines and saying, “Hey, how about Houston this summer?” Don’t be silly.

So, since your efforts are doomed to failure, let’s just stay what we’ve always been ­ a great, underappreciated city where people live successful lives and enjoy the benefits of an international metropolis. Most folks don?t know we are the fourth largest city with the second largest port in the country. Let’s keep it that way. With terrorism virtually an Olympic event these days, why draw attention to yourself? And speaking of that, we are not, I repeat, not going to get the Olympics, so stop making noise about it.

The Astros did their part by folding up like a cardboard suitcase against Atlanta. Hakeem left, so we won’t hear from the Rockets for a decade. And if we?re lucky, the Texans will continue that Oiler tradition of choking like Mama Cass. Some guy you never heard of is conducting the symphony, and the ballet board has formed a circular firing squad around Ben Stevenson. Hey, Houston, it?s the 2000s. Stay low. Take the long way home. Duck and cover.

Tweedledum and Tweedledummer?

So the main hurdles to a federal airport security force were our very own examples of the downside of self-government, Reps. Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, neither of whom will ever be mistaken for Jefferson. OK, maybe George Jefferson. Seems they saw a regulated, standardized federal force of security folks to ensure the safety of air travel, all the rest of which is federally regulated, as an example of big government. Well, when the Capitol Hill police, who came to DeLay?s rescue when a nut with a pistol shot his way in, are converted to $6 an hour rent-a-cops, then he can complain. When Brink?s replaces the Secret Service, then they’ve got a case. How embarrassed do we have to be here and in Dallas/Fort Worth to rethink our representation?

And on that note, “Well, yes, Mr. Boney, there is a dog called an Afghan, but it has nothing to do with?”

Kofi Annan, U.N. secretary-general, Nobel Peace Prize winner and, interestingly enough, one of the General Foods International Kofis, came to Houston recently to discuss terrorism. The meeting was not open to the public, thus sparing us any embarrassing display of our city officials? lack of knowledge of the world east of Kingwood.

All Music, all the Time?

When the worst act of terrorism in history shocked America to its core, Houston radio listeners were kept abreast of the latest news, no matter what format they prefer unless they speak Spanish. While everyone from avant-garde rockers to classical broadcasters interspersed more news than ever into their formats, to the best of our knowledge, the only group to ignore the events of that day were those stations owned by Lieberman Broadcasting. This company, which bought a collection of stations from Clear Channel a while back, including KJOJ, KTJM and KQUE along with Channel 61, didn’t see fit to interrupt the music ­ and more importantly the commercials ­ to let Latino listeners know what was happening. One Lieberman station that did, KSEV, is leased by Dan Patrick and his gang of goose-steppers. But at least they had the good sense, or is decency the right word, to keep folks up to date (with spin of course), and damn the commercials. Another sad by-product of broadcast deregulation. The Lieberman crowd must figure the government doesn?t require news, so we won’t do any. Shameful.

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