Journalist extraordinaire Gary Cartwright is retiring and has penned his final story as a staff writer for Texas Monthly.

He picked a substantial topic for his finale, profiling the state’s premier river writer John Graves.


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I haven’t read the new Texas Monthly yet, but a friend emailed me this Graves quote from the article:

“Maybe it’s a sign of old age, or decrepitude, but I’m not very optimistic about the future of this country. People here, they weren’t what you’d call an admirable hunk of American society, but they had their own ways, which I got used to. They were a distinctive variety. But that’s all been wiped out. It used to be that the differences among people were big, and those differences always interested me greatly. But now I find a lot of sameness. I don’t like the way things are shaping up.”

I don’t agree with Graves’ statement at all, at least the part about everybody being the same. I know plenty of distinctive characters. A few might even be clinically insane. Graves could get his fill of personalities by just hanging out at the Fort Worth Weekly office for a day or two.

But maybe when I’m 90 I’ll feel like he does. Until then, I still think Texans are pretty interesting folks on the whole — including Graves and Cartwright.


  1. I think you are talking about personality, Jeff , and Graves was, I think, referring to a sociological sameness. Like the kind of sameness that ushered in Nazism, the KKK or the Tea Party movement. As we have seen with Rush Limbaugh’s Ditto Heads, that kind of sameness can be dangerous. Or even the kind of sameness that makes masses of people apathetic and not care enough about anything but themselves. We live in dangerous times.

  2. Don, Going to slightly disagree with you. Your examples all point to what is often considered, in this time, as ‘conservative’ principles. With respect, I think that is a misdirection. I think that both sides of the so-called liberal-conservative spectrum are hardening. Actual debate and dialog and resulting free thinking & association is diminishing as news-as-entertainment makes it easy to “pick sides” and let personalities drive ideology rather than spending the time and critical thinking to make your own decisions. Abdication to personality is the danger IMO, a twisted form of representational democracy.