GREEN WITH 
FORT WORTH ENVY
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The beautiful skyline of Fort Worth looking west. We were not long into our exile in Texas, stationed in the forlorn outpost of Fort Worth, when we began to make note of rather odd attitudes on display in the local paper of record, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

One oddity was a fixation on Dallas, as if Dallas was some sort of evil presence against which Fort Worth must vigilantly protect itself.

And we have lost track of the number of Star-Telegram editorials in which this, that or the other thing in Fort Worth is boasted to be the Envy of this, that or the other thing.

It can be the Envy of other towns in Texas, of cities far and near, of cities that think of themselves as sophisticated or sometimes it is just poor lil' ol' Dallas that is Green with Envy over some wonder in Fort Worth.

It is not known how the Fort Worth Star-Telegram finds out that other places are in various states of Envy over the wonder that is Fort Worth. Perhaps in-depth research is conducted, surveys sent far and wide asking what Degree of Envy is being experienced regarding what is without a doubt the most incredible city in the United States. And maybe the entire world.

At some point we decided we needed to start keeping a record of all the things in Fort Worth that the rest of the world is Green with Envy about. Below are a few examples from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Feel free to comment. Express your own anguish regarding your Envy of Fort Worth. Or perhaps you have your own insight into Fort Worth's tendency to make the rest of the world Green with Envy....
The following is from our page about Fort Worth's Cultural District, which the Fort Worth Cultural District's website brags is the 3rd largest such district in the nation---

Our quest to discover other towns which call a part of their town the "Cultural District" continues without result, but we were recently surprised by information as to the town with the largest urban Arts District. None other than Dallas. This news could cause an outbreak of Green With Envy Fever in Fort Worth. In a book called "1001 Places in the United States and Canada to See Before you Die" the Dallas Arts District is listed as something you should see, with Dallas "having the nation's largest urban arts district." The book also says you need to stay in a Deluxe Dallas Hotel and visit the State Fair of Texas and the Sixth Floor Museum before you die, too. And then, one page later, the book also advises, under the heading "Cowtown's Cultural District", that you also visit "one of the world's largest cultural quarters." That being Fort Worth's Cultural District. The book also says you need to see the Stockyards National Historic District in Fort Worth before you die, too.
We thought the Star-Telegram had cured itself of its patented "Green With Envy" type verbiage. But we were wrong. With about a year of not using that unfortunate type verbiage, today, March 23, 2008 they did it again, in an editorial. Here's a blurb containing the offense:

"Fort Worthians love to think their community is unique among big U.S. cities. And it is. Local downtown revitalization is a case study for municipal leaders nationwide. The cooperative, progressive elected leadership found here is the envy of cities that are beset with political and racial divisiveness."

So, this latest ridiculousness was the subject of our blog today. And it ended up being the longest post yet. You can read it all by going here.

Today on my Blog I commented on an article in the 2/19/08 Star-Telegram in which I verbalized my distaste for another Star-Telegram idiosyncrasy that is sort of related to the 'Green With Envy' syndrome. So, the Star-Telegram's Entertainment Writer posted a comment. I'll copy the comment below. You can go to the Blog and read the post to which he is reacting. And the comments.

I don't consider it boasting or bragging, and if you'll Google any American Idol contestant, you'll find mentions of them in their hometown papers. Interesting that you should bring up Seattle, which plopped several contestants -- including the much-maligned Sanjaya Malakar, who was from Federal Way -- into the previous season of 'Idol.'

It is true that we often, although not always, refer to Bill Paxton's Fort Worth roots and Kelly's Burleson roots (and, if you were honest in your post, you'd note that we actually poked fun at ourselves at doing so in the 'Idol' article. I don't consider this bragging so much as giving readers a local connection to identify with.

This has become much more important in the current newspaper atmosphere. As the lead TV writer for the Star-Telegram, I'm writing about a genre that many newspapers, including our rival to the East, don't consider "local." But when you're writing for a Fort Worth audience, and Fort Worth and Dallas and other North Texas cities place actors on series and contestants on reality series, it IS local. Boasting has nothing to do with it.

Robert Philpot
Entertainment writer
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

On December 10, 2006 a former mayor of Fort Worth, Bob Bolen, wrote a column in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in which he stated...

"Today downtown Fort Worth and Sundance Square are the envy of communities across the nation."

EYES COMMENT: Maybe the former mayor can be forgiven his use of the "Envy of" verbiage. Apparently he was mayor when downtown Fort Worth was re-vitalized from what had been a very shabby, run-down downtown. The re-vitalization left several large parking lots in its wake that then became known as Sundance Square resulting eventually in a wave of envy sweeping across the nation as communities near and far coveted having large parking lots in their downtowns. Apparently a very difficult feat to emulate, hence the out of control envy.

January 19, 2007 in a restaurant review the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's June Naylor wrote...

"Because Sundance Square has imbued Cowtown with a distinctive personality envied by cities near and far, we cringe just a tiny bit each time something corporate or (perhaps worse) associated with Dallas comes to town.

EYES COMMENT: This blurb manages to achieve both the "Green with Envy" and the "Dallas Fixation" in one sentence. And who is this collective "we" who cringe when something corporate or from Dallas comes to town? If you've been to downtown Fort Worth you might notice it could use a few more corporate presences, like maybe a grocery store or a department store. Yes, it is true, the most envied downtown in America does not have a single grocery store or department store, no Macy's, Nordstroms, Sears or even that corporate wonder from Dallas known as Neiman Marcus.

TAKE A LOOK AT THE MOST ENVIED DOWNTOWN IN AMERICA AT NOON ON THE BUSIEST SHOPPING DAY OF THE YEAR.

A singer named Pat Green moves to Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has the following ridiculous thing to say.

"Dallas, Lubbock and Waco are green with envy, because Fort Worth has bragging rights to the 'Texas Transient.'"

EYES COMMENT: Bragging rights because a person few have heard of has moved to town? Who would brag about such a thing? How are these bragging rights assigned? How was it determined that Dallas, Lubbock and Waco had collectively turned green?

Below the Fort Worth Star-Telegram boasts about Fort Worth schools being the envy of other Texas schools, while the Star-Telegram's May 17, 2007 edition reported that well over half of all 8th and 10th graders in the Fort Worth School District failed the science portion of the Texas Assessment Test with 617 seniors (16%) not allowed to graduate on time. We don't know if this new news will put a stop to the envying of the Fort Worth schools by those other Texas schools.

"FWISD is still the envy of the other larger urban districts in Texas academically and in many other ways."

CLICK TO GET A GOOD LOOK AT THE DOWNTOWN
THAT IS MAKING THE NATION GREEN WITH ENVY

Here the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has other cities salivating with envy over Fort Worth's museums.

"Wealthy patrons and an enthusiastic city have welcomed some of the world's most celebrated architects, including Louis Kahn, Philip Johnson, and Tadao Ando, to create museums that make much larger and more cosmopolitan cities salivate with envy."

EYES COMMENT: Do cosmopolitan cities, with all their sophistication, actually drool over some museums in Fort Worth? What sophisticated, cosmopolitan city in America does not have museums equal to or better than Fort Worth's?

In this blurb the Star-Telegram has cultural institutions being the envy of many prideful metropolises. We have no idea what these Fort Worth envy inducing institutions might be. Or how metropolises more prideful than Fort Worth were discovered.

"Fort Worth also has cultural institutions which are the envy of many metropolises which pride themselves on their sophistication."

EYES COMMENT: Is no one curious which of the world's many metropolises which pride themselves on their sophistication somehow manage to suspend their sophistication long enough to be envious of cultural institutions in Fort Worth? And another note, does any actual sophisticated city brag about their cultural institutions, let alone call their location "The Cultural District"?

On the Fort Worth Star-Telegram sports page it is revealed that Fort Worth (population over 600,000) has a minor league baseball field that is envied by the little towns in its league, towns with populations in the 20,000 zone.

" La Grave Field, in its short existence, had become "the envy of the league...".

With the headline "Yee Haw at Last" the below Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial does not exhibit the "Envy Of" pathology, but it is a prime example of the "Dallas Fixation" pathology, the "Dallas Fixation" being a related twisted variant of the "Envy Of" pathology and both strongly indicative of a massive civic inferiority complex. This editorial also exhibits the Star-Telegram obsession with what they apparently perceive to be sophistication in other cities. This time it is Dallas that exhibits 'faux sophistication'. Again, one can not help but wonder how the Star-Telegram gleans this information. Were reporters sent out to determine various metropolitan areas levels of real as opposed to fake sophistication? Shouldn't these important findings be printed somewhere in the paper to help buttress the insightful editorials?

"After years of ignoring its western heritage and trying to deny any affiliation with cowboys--the hat-wearing kind, not the helmet-wearing ones---Dallas finally has found a city it wants to emulate: Fort Worth. Readers of the Thursday Star-Telegram learned about a western-themed entertainment district that's being discussed for a site near the Dallas Convention Center. One of those involved is none other that Billy Bob Burnett, an original investor in the Fort Worth honky-tonk that still bears his name. A two-page advertising spread in the same paper beckoned NASCAR fans who weren't interested in seeing the practice and qualifying races at Fort Worth's Texas Motor Speedway to take Interstate 35E into Big D for the Chevy Speed Stampede yesterday and today. Seems that despite all its faux sophistication, even Dallas' upturned nose can smell the sweetness in cowboys, cattle and cars. Smells like money."

EYES COMMENT: Dallas turns its back on its western heritage? Dallas has an upturned nose? Who knew? As for turning its back on its western heritage, in downtown Dallas, adjacent to the Dallas Convention Center, Pioneer Plaza is the location of the world's largest bronze sculpture. The sculpture depicts a cattle drive of 3 cowboys and 50 longhorns. The convention goers who frequent the Dallas Convention Center likely enjoy this tribute to our western heritage. Meanwhile over in Fort Worth at Fort Worth's Convention Center, where very few conventions take place, there is no notable tribute to our western heritage. It is not known if Fort Worth is green with envy that Dallas has the world's largest bronze sculpture or if Fort Worth is turning up its collective nose at the Dallas display of faux western heritage.

fortworthskyline.jpg (79918 bytes)

click thumbnail to view photo

The downtown Fort Worth skyline. Undoubtedly the most stunning skyline of any American city with a population over a half million. The skyline, readily recognizable as Fort Worth by Americans near and far likely contributes to causing cities and towns across the nation to be Green with Envy about downtown Fort Worth and the stunning collection of parking lots known as Sundance Square.

click for a closer look at the downtown that is making the nation Green with Envy

Fort Worth's next door neighbor, Arlington, added some new trail to its existing trail system in Arlington's River Legacy Park, arguably the finest park in the D/FW Metroplex. In another variant of the "envy of" type mentality the Fort Worth Star-Telegram opined as to what inspired Arlington to build this trail.

"If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, well our neighboring city of Arlington has just paid Fort Worth a huge compliment with the dedication of a new section of trail in River Legacy Park...."

EYES COMMENT: The rest of the editorial bragged about Fort Worth's paved trails along the Trinity River, implying those trails somehow inspired Arlington. Apparently the Star-Telegram is oblivious to the fact that paved recreational trails have been built all over the nation. The trails at Arlington's River Legacy Park are heavily used, unlike the Fort Worth Trinity trails upon which one can often pedal for miles without encountering another person except for the occasional homeless person living under a bridge..

Below is a good example of why it seems delusional for Fort Worth, well Fort Worth's paper of record, the Star-Telegram, to opine that Fort Worth is making other cities and towns near and far Green with Envy. Seems more likely people in other cities and towns are shaking their heads in wonderment at the puzzle of how a city that is the Envy of the World could be so littered and have so little regard for its appearance, particularly at the freeway exits to its top tourist attraction.
There are two exits from the I-35 freeway, with exit signs telling drivers this is the way to the Fort Worth Stockyards. Neither of these freeway exits is landscaped, both are usually heavily littered. Is there any other tourist attraction in America where the freeway exits are this unkempt? The photo you see to the right is the view when you take the northbound exit to Northside Drive. stockyards.jpg (52725 bytes)

Northside Drive exit to the Fort Worth Stockyards. Photo taken June 29, 2007. There is less litter than we usually see here.

If you have had the pleasure of driving in other parts of the nation, the West Coast for example, you may have noticed that many towns and cities landscape their freeway exits. And keep them cleaned up. For example, in the photo on the right you see the freeway exit from I-5 into the town of Mount Vernon, Washington, population 26,232. Fort Worth's population is 624,067, almost 24 times bigger than little Mount Vernon, yet little Mount Vernon manages to landscape and keep tidy all 3 of its I-5 freeway exits, while Fort Worth's exits to its most popular tourist attraction are littered eyesore messes. mountvernon.jpg (48244 bytes)

Kincaid Street exit to downtown Mount Vernon, Washington. Photo taken November 3, 2006. In the spring in this view you would see tulips and other flowers. And no litter.

MAKE A COMMENT

COMMENTS FROM PEOPLE GREEN WITH ENVY

Last July my husband and I visited the Dallas area for the first time. We bought the Sunday, July 8, 2007 Star-Telegram. In the A & E section the lead article was under the big headline "We were robbed'. The article was about an AIA sponsored public vote on America's Favorite Architecture. The theme of the article was that Fort Worth was robbed by not having any buildings on the list. With the prime crime being that Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum was not on the list. The article said "The Fort Worth building that cemented the reputation of Louis Kahn...heralded as one of the icons of modern architecture is not in the top 10, 20, 100 or even 150 favorite buildings..." The article goes on to say "this is a stunning, some would say outrageous slight."

Well, where do I begin? The keyword is icon. To be an icon the iconic item must be widely recognized. While perhaps architects may have found this building significant as an example of modern design back in the early 1970s, obviously the building is a big zero in the American National consciousness in 2007. Now, there were many surprising buildings on that list that gave one pause to wonder, such as Seattle's new library? How do a lot of Americans know about that new building? And why was Seattle's Safeco Field on the list? And not the Ballpark in Arlington? I've seen both buildings, they are somewhat similar. I suspect the reason one made the list and the other did not was that Seattle sees a lot more tourists, from all over America, than does the D/FW area. And that new Seattle library is a stunning piece of architecture. What strikes me is that this Fort Worth newspaper's article's theme suffers from the same strange type of delusion as all these "Green With Envy" examples you have gleaned from that newspaper. I would think a more useful theme might be to examine why it is that structures in the Fort Worth and the Dallas area apparently do not register with the rest of America while structures in other parts of America are known far and wide across the country. I bet a large percentage of north Texans would recognize the Space Needle. What structure in north Texas do you think the rest of the country recognizes on sight as an iconic image? Maybe the new Dallas Cowboy stadium will fill that void.

Betty and David P.
Ballard, WA

EYES COMMENT: We remember cringing when we read that 'We were robbed" article last summer. You only touched on part of what was goofy. The reporter's list of other buildings in Fort Worth that were robbed of recognition was equally odd. The funniest one was the Star-Telegram thought the Fort Worth Public Market Building should be on the list, saying it has been a landmark for more than 75 years. And yet, just a few short years ago, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram helped hype a very lame development called the Santa Fe Rail Market as being the "First Public Market in Texas". Not just in Fort Worth, but all of Texas. We pointed out to the Star-Telegram the existence of the Fort Worth Public Market Building and its historical marker which seemed to indicate the Fort Worth Sante Fe Rail Market was not Fort Worth's first.

I live in Waco. I had no idea until I read it here that my town was green with envy because Pat Green had moved to Fort Worth. Who is Pat Green?

David H.
Waco, Texas

EYES COMMENT: We believe Pat Green is a country western musician. Obviously highly regarded and sought after by many Texas towns and cities because if you get him to move to your town it gives you some sort of bragging rights and somehow makes other places green with envy.

I live in one of those towns not near, but far, from Fort Worth, that being New York City, and I must confess I did not know there was an epidemic of green with envy jealousy regarding Fort Worth's downtown. I've actually been to Fort Worth and to its downtown, and like others of your readers we too could not figure out what Sundance Square was, let alone that it was the object of such envy. What I am wondering is how do these people who write in that paper find out about all this envy? I can't imagine how that research is done. Have they ever published a list of all the towns and cities, far and near, who have succumbed to this epidemic of envy?

Sally P.
NYC

How does this green with envy drivel get past the editors of that paper? I particularly find this quote quite sad, "museums that make much larger and more cosmopolitan cities salivate with envy." What are these larger, more cosmopolitan cities who are drooling due to some museums in Fort Worth? I really would like to know.

Brad P.
San Diego, CA


My town is, well, a bit more sophisticated, all in all, than Fort Worth, and, well, the population here is much better educated, but still, it does not take a shrink to point out the obvious, that being that the use of the "envy of" verbiage and the "Dallas Fixation" is indicative of what amounts to a civic inferiority complex. Additionally it is, well, bad manners to brag like this. I mean it'd actually be worse if it were actually true that other cities envied Fort Worth. To brag about this faux envy is very tacky. It's like telling your neighbors my house is the envy of the neighborhood. What'd make that analogy perfect would be if the bragging neighbor's home was the house that the other neighbors considered an eyesore in bad need of landscaping and a new paint job.

Dean S.
Seattle, Washington

You seem to be having way too much fun making fun of this paper's idiotic editorials. But I've gotta admit, I am a lifelong resident of Oklahoma City and I'll be darned if I can think of anything about Fort Worth I'd be green with envy about. I'll have to ask others if they are green with envy or know anyone who is. Doesn't anyone call this paper on this nonsense?

Mindy N.
Oklahoma City, OK

EYES COMMENT: Yes, we have sent a message to the Star-Telegram pleading with them to cease the cringe provoking embarrassing "green with envy" verbiage. We may have suggested that whoever was responsible for that journalistic fraud should be fired. Unless he or she could provide documentation identifying the cities, towns and communities that have become infected with pernicious envy of Fort Worth. We have not heard back from the Star-Telegram. We suspect it is only a matter of time until we once more read an editorial bragging about something in Fort Worth causing an envy epidemic across the nation.

Saw nothing all that exciting in Fort Worth to get someone feeling envious. Why brag about a downtown being a great place when it isn't? Why lie to us in a newspaper? That vacant Day after Thanksgiving street reminds me of a modern day ghost town or something off a Si-Fi movie. Being noon and only one person was to be seen? Hmmm. I live in a small town with a population of a thousand. There's always someone walking about or a stray dog or some other living breathing creature. Whoever is bragging about Fort Worth making other places green with envy is basically a liar. Please Ms/ Mr/ Mrs. Pinocchio, quit lying to your readers. Face the fact that your area needs some major help if you rely on this type nonsensical self flattery to build up your self image!!!

Ali U.
Tonasket, WA

EYES COMMENT: Yes, the local paper of record has a long history of misrepresenting local matters. There was the time the paper did not quite tell the whole story when some obscure lobbying group named Fort Worth a "Most Livable Community". And then there was the way they have reported what is now called the "Trinity River Vision". Early on the Star-Telegram reported the "vision" would make Fort Worth the "Vancouver of the South". Which fit right in with another notorious Star-Telegram misrepresentation, that being repeating over and over again that a lame little, now failed, so-called Public Market, was modeled after Vancouver's neighbor, Seattle's Pike Place Market.

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