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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Proud to Be from Oklahoma, But Sometimes... 

My home state of Oklahoma made the news twice today. First, the state government agency charged with promoting Oklahoma has proven itself inept:
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (Reuters) -- Oklahoma tourism officials have recalled about 200,000 brochures with images of activities that may have seemed uninviting to some travelers, such as cow manure tossing and re-enacting Confederate battles, officials said Wednesday.

The pamphlet, called 2005 Annual Events Guide, featured events and activities throughout Oklahoma. It was also riddled with spelling, grammatical and factual mistakes.

"We discovered the material in the event guide was culturally insensitive and contained errors," said state tourism director Rob Gray.
Look, I grew up there, and while we certainly spent most of our time throwing around excrement and saying "uh...do whaaahhtt?" once in a big while we'd do something more appealing to tourists, like watch a hawk making lazy circles in the sky or something. Surely the state tourism bureau could have found some pictures of that.

Now from the ridiculous to the absolutely appalling: while the state government was busy living up to stereotypes of public sector incompetence and Oklahoman yokeldom, the national Republican Party was finding ways to pander to the racists they bank on for electoral support. The NRSC has produced a new ad attacking Oklahoma's Democratic candidate for Senator, Rep. Brad Carson, for his stance on immigration policy. The ad bears more than a passing resemblance to the infamous "White Hands" Jesse Helms ad from 1990, and the national Democratic party is trying to draw attention to this nasty little tactic. If you're as disgusted by the commercial as I am, head on over to Brad Carson's website and supply some countervailing resources.

As bad as all this might make the state look, at least it's not Texas, further proof of which will be found this Saturday when the University of Oklahoma soundly defeats the University of Texas. Patrick at Ducks and Drakes is sounding the drumbeat...

UPDATE: Take three elements from the above post {aspects of Oklahoma culture that outsiders may find unattractive, Brad Carson's Senatorial campaign, and OU football}, and mix gently. The result: Former OU football coach Barry Switzer, a folk hero in the Sooner State despite an occasional ethical misstep, is now appearing in TV ads praising Carson as a bona fide conservative and "the only candidate in this race who we can trust to fight for Oklahoma." This is a massive coup for the Carson campaign: short of a televised message from Jesus himself, I can't imagine a more powerful endorser than Switzer. Seriously.

Incidentally, Switzer is often cited as the coiner of the jape about "being born on third base and thinking he hit a triple." He wasn't referring to a member of the Bush family, but I believe he's the original source of the phrase. Also, perhaps surprisingly, Switzer has done a lot of campaigning for Democrats during this election cycle, publicly endorsing John Edwards during the primary season. I'm not overly happy about the fact that sports figures are accorded such respect by Oklahoma voters (it got Steve Largent elected to Congress, after all), but given that it's a fact, I'm happy to see Switzer moving the ball for the Democrats.

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