For game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Mavericks, the Miami Heat will be going on the road and into unpleasant territory. Not just unpleasant for opposing professional sports teams -- we're talking bad for everybody.
There has been plenty of good-natured trash talk bouncing back and forth -- cries of "Dirk NoRingski" from Miami and loud replies of "how dare you have three good players on the same team" from Dallas -- but we believe a straightening-out of the facts is in order for those who may have been misled by posts from our sister paper, the Dallas Observer, that declare Miami's inferiority based on humidity levels and a football game that happened before even the decrepit Jason Kidd was born.
We were probably asking for trouble when we said Miami's barbecue was better than theirs. OK. Congratulations, guys. 790,000 years after man discovered fire, you have figured out a great way to cook things.
Unfortunately, it seems that adopting technology from the early Pleistocene epoch is actually pretty forward-thinking for Texas, a state that seems, remarkably, to be moving backward in time:
1. While some states were instituting provisions for gay marriage and expanding the rights of the LGBT community, Texas politicians were doing their damnedest to outlaw its existence: The Texas Republican Party approved a platform last year that declares "the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases." Remind us to thank the one true Lord and savior for making it so very clear which groups of people we are supposed to hate unconditionally with all of our hearts.
Oh, and Texas Republicans also wanted to (re-)outlaw gay sex, despite the United States Supreme Court's insistence that the only way to make that law constitutional is to quite literally shove it up your ass.
2. For a state so stuck in the past, Texas puts an awful lot of effort into revising history. State officials has proposed -- and in some cases adopted -- school textbook modifications intended, among other things, to minimize the historical role of Thomas Jefferson (the guy who wrote that "Declaration of Independence" thing) because of his insistence on the separation of church and state; to rename the "slave trade" the "Atlantic triangular trade"; and to ignore the history and culture of Texas's rapidly growing Latino population, because hey, if white people don't know about it, it's like it didn't happen, right?
3. Texas seceded from the United States to join the Confederacy in early 1861. It was an ugly time, but all of us are over it. All of us, that is, except for 48 percent of Texas Republicans, who said in a 2009 poll that they thought the state would be better off if it seceded again. From the United States. Of America.
Yes, the same people yelling and screaming about defending our country from gays, brown people and Jews are also quite willing to just say "aw, screw it" and set up shop by themselves. It's totally feasible! They balanced last year's budget, after all -- though it was due in large part to $6.4 billion in bailout money from Washington that Gov. Rick Perry came begging for on the same day he started a "no government bailouts" petition.
4. Creationism is a totally legitimate scientific theory there. Believe what you will; that's everyone's right. Great. But science classes in most of the country are usually reserved for... science. 51 percent of Texans may reject evolution, but 51 percent of Texans are not life scientists -- at most, about about 16 thousandths of one percent of them are, but they are undoubtedly kept heavily medicated. Rather, the most commonly held job in Texas, according to the Department of Labor, is occupation code 41-2031: "retail salesperson." There's nothing wrong with working at Sports Authority, nothing at all. Unless you're dictating the content of the nation's largest textbook market. Then, maybe.
And evolution's status as the only scientifically legitimate explanation for the origins of life hasn't stopped the horde of renegade simpletons known as the Texas State Board of Education from instructing teachers to scrutinize "all sides" of scientific debates, including those sides developed 3,000 years ago by illiterate shepherds talking to flaming shrubs.
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Throughout the centuries, there have been countless clashes between rivaling explanations from religion and science. Religion hasn't won any of them, and doesn't appear to be on track for a victory over genuine scientific inquiry any time soon.
Except in Texas, where logic and compassion are slaughtered, roasted and covered in a delicious dry-rub. Here's hoping the Mavs play basketball as blindly as their state's citizens lead their lives.