Texas Is the Obsession

“I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study, and the passionate possession of all Texans.”
― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

B-17 Nose Art, Commemorative Air Force

Nose Art

A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.

It is too late.
—-Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow, opening lines.

Machine gun and pinup girl

Machine gun and pinup girl

The doomed flyboys of WWII painted pinup girls on the noses of their B-17s cementing the fusion of sex and bombs, of beautiful women and annihilation from the sky, of danger and love, of longing and luck, of desire and death.

Image from Wikipedia.

Image from Wikipedia.

This is the (arguably) most famous of all, the “Memphis Belle.”

I give you a reproduction, a homage if you will – painted on a restored old car, a “Rat Rod” – complete with fake machine guns mounted over the exhaust headers.

Rat Rod - Car Show, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Rat Rod – Car Show, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Sex and power and death and speed, beauty and doom, lust and destruction – a potent cocktail that tastes like licorice and smells like gasoline.