A Colossal Wreck; July 22, 2001

“You can see why George Bush doesn’t believe in global warming. Having grown up in West Texas summers he doubtless believes it can never get any hotter.”

“George Bush Sr. arrived [in Texas] in 1948, later recalling that ‘We all just wanted to make a lot of money quick.’ The time I interviewed her back in 1980 I thought Barbara Bush one of the meaner women I’d met in a long time, and looking at the photos in the oil museum you could see why she might have been bitter. To ship out from the East Coast first to broiling, oil-sodden Odessa and then in 1950 to broiling, oil-sodden Midland must have been a jarring experience. …

It was hard to tear myself away, but the place closed and I drove down the Interstate to seedy and depressed looking Odessa which one year edged Miami to become Murder Capital of the USA. The notorious aggressions of a slice of Odessa’s citizenry probably accounts for the fact that the nearby, more prosperous and classy Midland county is Texas’s rape capital on a per capita basis… So much for the timeless values Bush claims to have imbibed in West Texas. Leaving Odessa I passed a sign for the Harvest Time Church: ‘Jesus Knows That Life Can Be Hard As Nails,’ then, to the right, black on gold and red, the more urgent, ‘ETERNITY, IT’S HELL WITHOUT JESUS.’”

Cockburn, Alexander. 2013. A Colossal Wreck: A Road Trip Through Scandal, Political Corruption and American Culture. London: Verso. (From July 22, 2001, pp. 196-199. Hyperlinks and picture not in original.)

Oil pump jacks adjacent to an apartment complex in Midland, Texas.
Oil pump jacks adjacent to an apartment complex in Midland, Texas (Credit: Max Burkhalter, Bloomberg)

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