Dallas, An "American Icon"

On Christmas Eve afternoon, radio-radio's Julia Barton stopped by the offices to interview Schutze and me for an episode of Public Radio International's Studio 360, which is hosted by Kurt Andersen. Barton had been tasked with doing a piece on Dallas as part of the show's "American Icons" series, which, since the summer of '07, has included the likes of Superman, The Wizard of Oz, Andy Warhol's Soup Cans, Harley-Davidson and Jimi Hendrix's version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." To that estimable company -- nominated for inclusion by the show's listeners -- add J.R. Ewing and Southfork Ranch.

Wisely, Julia wound up using only Schutze's contributions; can't say I blame her. Also part of piece: series creator David Jacobs (who explains that he never intended to make a series about Dallas), an Estonian filmmaker for whom the series helped crumble the Iron Curtain ("We wanted to believe that people live in skyscrapers and have beautiful cars and everything is shiny and glamorous") and Reason's Matt Welch, who co-wrote the November '08 piece that insisted Dallas helped win the Cold War.

Studio 360 airs tomorrow at 1 p.m. on KERA-FM (90.1). But no need to wait till then.

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Also, may I suggest a raise for Schutze, now that he is a "Dallas Expert" and not just a writer about Dallas (not to mention "Bully")?


It's super crazy true. Been to Russia and Estonia and the Baltic countries, and they can quote the series, as though we do that also. If it helps make peace from pieces. I think they are genuinely disappointed, however, when I say that I'm from Dallas, and have only seen one or two eps.


I agree. Interesting way to look at the show through another lens. I hadn't considered Dallas the city becoming the image of Dallas the show...but it really has.

Southfork was a great metaphor. I love NPR.

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