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The rivalry between Texas A&M and the University of Texas is an interesting one, because its basis seems to lie more in ideology than anything else. In anthropology, the rivalry is what might be called a central metaphor for life in Texas, because each Thanksgiving a symbolic battle for the soul of Texas is fought out on the football field.

To understand what I mean, you have to understand a bit about the percieved characters of each school. In the popular imagination, at least, people go to Texas A&M to learn how to be better farmers, drive pickup trucks, get short haircuts, and love Jesus. People go to the University of Texas, in the stereotype, to smoke a lot of dope, go clubbing every weekend, have strong opinions about foreign films and whether or not bands have sold out, and usually pick up a few body piercings.

Now, needless to say, there is much that is false in these images. There are people at the University of Texas who love Jesus, have short hair, and drive pickup trucks, and I have no doubt in my mind that there are people at Texas A&M, if perhaps not many, who smoke marijuana and argue about whether Modest Mouse totally sold out with that last album . Nevertheless, these are the images in the Texan Collective Unconscious, and they are powerful ones. The conflict here is one as old as humanity, a primal war between the agrarian and the urban, the simple truths and unchanging rhythyms of tradition, and the dizzying change and maddening uncertainties of a lifestyle re-inventing itself every twenty minutes.

Needless to say, this being Texas, there is only one possible way of resolving this conflict: football. Think of it as Hegelian. Dialectics in four 15 minute quarters.

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