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‘Think’ Like A Texan With These Interviews On Politics, Cowboys, Culture & Queso

The Dallas Cowboys' cheerleaders perform a high-kicking routine at an NFL game in Miami, Fla., in Sept. 5, 1978.

Texas is a big, beautiful, eclectic state. 

It's full of stories, told and untold, and cultural complexities that have implications beyond its borders. That's why the Lone Star State is often a subject of KERA's hourlong talk show, "Think." 

In recent months, host Krys Boyd has been joined by notable Texans that bring a unique perspective on the state on a variety of topics — from understanding politics to celebrating Latino identity to leaving home. 

We've picked eight wildly different interviews that all explore a different part of Texas life.

Texas' problems are America's problems

Texas looks like a state that could’ve been designed by President Trump with its low taxes and minimal regulations. And it’s been more than 20 years since a Democrat has been elected to statewide office. On the other hand, its urban centers are reliably blue and its population has already hit minority-majority status. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright explains how contradictions that play out here reflect the nation as a whole in “God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State.”

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A conversation with St. Vincent

Credit Courtesy of Nedda Afsari
St. Vincent.

The world knows her as St. Vincent, but here in Dallas, she’s Annie Clark. For over a decade, she’s been a staple of the indie rock scene, playing with the Polyphonic Spree, touring with Sufjan Stevens and collaborating with David Byrne. And she’s made waves on her own. Before her hometown show in February, she stopped by to talk about her life and music.

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Listen to the KERA "Think" show from March 2, 2018.

The Cowboys Cheerleaders changed the game

In 1976, Suzanne Mitchell took over control of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, transforming the troupe – and the gameday experience – forever. The documentary “Daughters of the Sexual Revolution: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders” details how the squad influenced American culture and provided its members with once-in-a-lifetime experiences – some good, some not. Director Dana Adam Shapiro and Toni Washington talked about the documentary ahead of its USA Film Festival screening.

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Listen to the KERA "Think" show from April 27, 2018.

Creating a Latino superhero

Credit Hector Rodriguez / Rio Bravo Comics
Rio Bravo Comics

When undocumented immigrants cross the border into the United States, they can count on Ignacio Rivera to protect them. He’s the superhero of the “El Peso Hero” comic books. The series is written by North Texas teacher Hector Rodriguez, who talks about creating a character who seeks justice for those without hope.

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Listen to the KERA "Think" show from Jan. 18, 2018.

Fire in the Texas Panhandle

In the wide-open terrain of the Texas Panhandle, one of the major concerns for residents is the outbreak of a prairie fire. In “The Day the Fire Came,” writer Skip Hollandsworth told the tragic tale of one such blaze and how it changed the lives of young ranchers living outside Amarillo.

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Listen to the KERA "Think" show from July 28, 2017.

A 'Homesick Texan' gets cheesy

Lisa Fain spent a month eating hundreds of bowls of queso across her home state of Texas for “The Homesick Texan Cookbook.” In an article for Bon Appetit, she said she started her writing process at the library going through cookbooks, newspapers and magazines to study chile con queso’s history and evolution. Next, she visited almost 100 restaurants and talked with home cooks and chefs about the dish. Now a New York resident, Fain became a hero to Texans searching for the tastes of home outside the Lone Star State.

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Listen to the KERA "Think" show from Oct. 10, 2017.

Texas' mass Mexican deportation

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Along with the risks of poverty and unemployment during the Great Depression, Mexican immigrants and even U.S. citizens of Mexican descent faced an additional hazard: Around half a million of them were kicked out of the country to preserve jobs for white Americans. If you didn’t know this, it could be because it wasn’t covered the same way by every news outlet. TCU’s Melita M. Garza studied how this story was covered by different newspapers and how that coverage contributed to racial “othering” of Mexicans in Texas.

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Listen to the KERA "Think" show from March 15, 2018.

The Branch Davidian siege: 25 years later

In April 1993, cult leader David Koresh and his followers, known as the Branch Davidians, entered into a 51-day standoff with federal agents outside Waco that ended in the deaths of 75 people, including his own. A new documentary, “Waco: The Longest Siege” revisits how it happened and includes interviews with survivors. While Koresh ordered his followers to set their compound ablaze that spring day, federal agents and local journalists have also been blamed over the years for their role. Executive producer Charles Poe joined “Think” to talk about it.

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Listen to the KERA "Think" show from April 4, 2018.

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