Saturday, December 15, 2012

On the 50th Anniversary of the JFK Assassination, We Ponder; What Was the Great Dallas Novel?

They came back to Dallas to film it and record all its craziness. By accident they film JFK's killers. They try to tell the world, but a friend leaves a goat in their bathroom. It gets out and eats the film.  Dang! with a Big D! Bud Shrake's acid-enriched epic Strange Peaches might just be the Great Dallas Novel. Or maybe it's Brian Wooley's November 22, or Peter Gent's North Dallas 40. By rights it should be Doctor Strangelove, by Terry Southern, only Doctor Strangelove was a movie not a novel, and it wasn't about Dallas at all, though actually, it was.

There's more to Dallas, Texas than Football, JR, and the Kennedy Assassination.  There is Bonnie & Clyde, West Dallas,  rampant sex and drug use through the years, interference by Hindu gods, extreme rightwing nut jobs, extreme wealth and power, football, and, what the hell, the Kennedy Assassination.  In eleven months it'll be fifty years and the city fathers still haven't quite gotten past it.  Somewhere in the course of all of it,  some great books got written, that are mostly forgotten, but all worth remembering.

The Book of DallasHere is an article I did for D Magazine on the "Great Dallas Novel,"   I start off talking about Terry Southern, the great, Dallas-born satirist and hipster-king.  His life should have been the Great Dallas Novel.  Go watch Doctor Strangelove and know how completely it was informed by his growing up in Big D before the war.


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