The Sound and the Fiery

Editor’s Note

What J.J. taught us

By Scott Vogel September 3, 2013 Published in the September 2013 issue of Houstonia Magazine

In the aftermath of the furor brought on by the release of our August issue, by the full-scale panic that ensued at grocery stores, by the frenzy unleashed at the hands of excitable Tweeters and Instagram types—my staff and I learned a number of things. First, people will buy pretty much anything with J.J. Watt’s picture on it. This was something of a revelation, to be honest, so much so that we briefly considered featuring J.J. on every future Houstonia cover, as say, the patient in this month’s Top Doctors issue. We feared, however, giving the false impression that J.J. was injured, not to mention the mass suicides that such a misunderstanding might trigger. Also, the little girl we’d hired wasn’t having it. 

The second thing we learned was that almost everyone was thrilled by our Houston v. Dallas cover story, the notable exception being the entire city of Dallas, whose oft-voiced claim that it was above such petty disputes did not preclude it from describing H-Town in terms that would make a Barbary pirate blush. That’s gratitude for you. Our original plan had been to publish 1,000 reasons Houston was superior to Big D, but in the end we winnowed the list down to the top 273, once again fearing mass suicide. Also, the little girl we’d hired wasn’t having it.

But the biggest thing August taught us—and here I hope you’ll forgive me for turning serious a moment—was that there were many, many Houstonians who weren’t aware of our existence, or had avoided us out of fear that we were yet another Houston magazine dedicated to some privileged niche. Nothing could be further from the case. Houstonia exists to tell the story of the whole city, in all its complicated glory, and to tell it to readers of every economic class, every ethnic group, every persuasion, and every passion. That’s our mission, one inspired not by trite idealism but our experience of Houston itself, a city that owes its vitality and greatness to the variety of souls who call it home.

To all who have bought and subscribed to Houstonia during the past six months, all we can say is thanks for giving us a chance. We appreciate too the many kind words of support and good wishes we’ve received from all over the Bayou City. There are easier things to do in this world than create a great magazine, even in a great town like this, but the generosity with which you’ve welcomed Houstonia has inspired us to work even harder to give this city the publication it deserves.

Subj: Houstonia! Say What!!!

I’m standing in line at Walmart to buy tortillas and cabbage. I’m a firefighter, HFD Station 38. We went to the store in the morning and I forgot tortillas and cabbage for the fish tacos I’m making for us to eat for dinner. So I’m standing in the checkout line and an employee takes out a stack of magazines from the magazine rack (forgot what the magazine was) and pops in Houstonia magazine. It catches my eye. Red cover with J.J. Watt holding a football. I’m thinking to myself, what is this magazine? Cover looks cool, “H-Town Vs. Big D” writing is cool, and it’s a collector’s edition. So I pick it up and toss it in my cart. 

On the way back to the station I was a little discouraged, as the first 11 pages were advertisements, but I kept flipping. “Refresher Course” article was great. Frank Billingsley’s piece was great. “Dept. of New Directions” piece was funny, more so because I live “out” in Katy and drive “down” I-10 to get to work every morning.

Then it hit me. 

 I’ve been reading this magazine for 20 minutes and haven’t skipped a page. Every article has interested me. And I haven’t even got to the article about J.J. Watt yet! Magazines don’t do that to me. I’m not one to email magazines, book publishers, websites or companies about their products, but I just had to take 10 minutes of my time and let y’all know this magazine is awesome. I just found my new fire truck reading material.

You just got yourself a new subscriber!

Perry McClendon
HFD Station 38

Filed under
Show Comments