Houston’s bigger, older and, thanks to “Apollo 13,” linked to the most overused cliché in American pop culture. Dallas is more glitzy, more gaudy and, thanks to “Dallas,” stuck with an international image based on ’80s TV.
In the 3,722 days that I lived in Texas (not that I was counting), I always found it amusing when people debated which city was better: Houston or Dallas. They’d start by trotting out the tired clichés:
Johnson Space Center
“Houston, we have a problem”
After that, the conversation would devolve to what’s wrong with and/or bad and ugly about both cities…and there’s certainly no lack of ammunition there. The Dallas Observer took a distinctly uncomplimentary look at Houston:
The Houston Chronicle, ever adverse to controversy and unpleasantness, was a good deal more diplomatic. In the end, though, it’s just another variation on a tired, overworked theme.
I lived in the Houston area during my 10+ years in Texas, so I’m probably not the most objective observer. That said, I do have my own opinion on the matter, which can be summed up thusly (with sincere apologies to mi compadre, Nick Bakay):
A pox on both their houses. Or, more colloquially, Dallas blows, but Houston sucks.
Dallas is hot but usually (sort of) dry. Houston has heat, humidity, and mosquitoes with a serious attitude problem. Advantage: Dallas
Dallas has urban sprawl, a taste for opulence, and poor taste. Houston has refineries, brownfields, and bayous that do double duty as mosquito farms.
Dallas sees itself as the center of the universe. Houston thinks it’s all that and a bag of chips.
Dallas has Cowboys Stadium and Love Field. Houston has Reliant Stadium, Minute Maid Park, and NASA.
Dallas has George W. Bush. Houston has George H.W. Bush.
Dallas has ridiculous traffic and tornadoes. Houston has ridiculous traffic and hurricanes.
Dallas is angrier and has more dangerous drivers. Houston is fatter and consumes more porn.
Dallas has Jerry Jones and Tom Hicks. Houston has Bob McNair and Leslie Alexander.
I could go on, but let’s just face reality, shall we? Both cities are armpits. Both cities are blights upon the Earth. Both cities are in Texas- ergo, both suck.
As far as I’m concerned, arguing over whether Houston is better than Dallas, or vice versa, is like arguing whether leukemia is better than brain cancer. Even when you win, you lose, right?
While all y’all are debating which city sucks less, y’all can enjoy your 100-degree days. I’ll take my 70-degree days here in Portland, where air pollution is rarely an issue and the phrase “shelter in place” is used…well, never. Y’all have refineries, we have mountains.
We win. I rest my case.