Feature: Wednesday, November 21, 2002
2002 Turkey Awards

Found:Large Bird

By Gayle Reaves

Sometimes it’s nice being local. When we considered the flock of people and institutions on the national and international scene this year that deserved to have a turkey thermometer inserted into their carcasses (do not touch the bone) we, well... we quailed — and we’re not talking the ex-vice president for once, thankfully.

Beginning with al Qaeda, the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians, continuing through most of the Bush administration, pausing to note the headless-bird performance of the Democratic Party and then settling down to gorge upon a collection of plucked corporate birds basted in their own greed — it was a feast so lavish that it seemed like gluttony on the scale of Rome — or even Enron. Averting our eyes from such overindulgence, our Turkey Awards judges, like retirees looking at their 401K statements, decided to think small — to Curse Globally but Skewer Locally.

As always, we found that the North Texas landscape included more turkeys than the freezer section at Tom Thumb. The silly creature that Ben Franklin once suggested as our national bird is proliferating here at an alarming rate. Whatever the state hunting laws say, it seems that, for those who hunt with ink rather than gunpowder, it should be open season year-round on these gallinaceous goofs.

For the traditionalists, some old favorites are included — ex-Sheriff David Williams, for instance. Since he refuses to retire, we claim the right to un-retire him from the Turkey Awards. And we couldn’t omit local sports franchises, which always seem to be wearing feathers about this time of year. The Fort Worth school district, of course, remains the nirvana of turkey hunters — you can bag a Thanksgiving main course there by simply flailing about with a No. 2 pencil.

As we considered the theme of this year’s offerings, we thought of birds laying golden eggs, but only Anne Marion’s FPA Foundation seemed to fit that image. So many of the awards were for situations marked by absence — absence of theater patrons and music fans, of cojones among public officials, of foresight, direction, coaching, inspiration, ethics — we needed a kind of anti-matter pavo, a negative-space Big Bird. And so we drew inspiration from those wise civic leaders who have decorated a downtown park with the CEO who wasn’t there. This year’s awards, therefore, we hereby dub “Turkeys with Briefcases.” Unlike another publication in town did with “Man with Briefcase,” however, Fort Worth Weekly needed to dispatch no one from its numerous staff to track these birds on their trek to Texas. The gaggle of gobblers we present to you are, unfortunately, home-hatched.

In keeping with the spirit of the original, no actual award objects will be handed out. Winners are encouraged, instead, to use the same techniques necessary for appreciating “Man with Briefcase”: Squint your eyes and pretend it’s there.

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