Sundance Square (Photo: Jeremy Enlow)

Ask John Neely Bryan: Is Fort Worth a Suburb of Dallas?

Short answer: No

John Neely Bryan, Our Founder
John Neely Bryan, Our Founder

Question: Is Fort Worth a suburb of Dallas? — Bud K.

First, my friend, we must define our terms. In the very first collection of words I scribbled into this virtual space, I was asked — and answered with my customary acumen — as to what separated “sub-urbs” from cities.

If you trust that scoundrel Noah Webster, a suburb is “a town or other area where people live in houses near a larger city.” It’s been quite some time since I trekked to Tarrant County, but it’s my understanding that a not-inconsiderable number of people there live in houses. There’s also no denying that the town which has sprung forth from General Worth’s federal occupation is nearby (if only in 21st-century terms) a larger city, that being the greatest city ever conceived in the history of forever.

If you prefer, as all right-thinking persons should, a better-reasoned definition that takes into account the component roots of the word, then I shall reiterate my earlier findings:

The English word “suburb” is ultimately derived from the roots urbs, meaning “city,” and sub, meaning “no-way no-how not-nearly-as-good-as.” A “sub-urb” therefore is a territory far inferior to a city but with all the pretensions of civilization besides.

Fort Worth is inferior to Dallas, of course, but so too is every other place on the face of the earth. That’s hardly a fault that should be held against it. I’m afraid its relative proximity to our own shining city on the Trinity makes the drawing of contrasts quite inevitable, but was it just of the D Magazine staff to have joked about the distinctions in the newest issue of their monthly pamphlet?

I think not. D owes the good people of the Tarrant County seat, whom they have grossly wronged, an apology. It was awful of the editors involved in the production of this periodical to tease them so.

What was editor Tim Rogers thinking when he wrote something as provocative as “Treat Yourself to a Visit to Forth Worth” atop his editor’s note? What manner of advanced trolling was this? Not to mention that condescending overstatement on the cover: “85 Places to Eat, Drink, Shop, and Play Where the West Begins”? What cruelty Rogers displayed in exiling a team of writers to spend long, lazy, luxurious days perusing fashionable shops, imbibing at welcoming bars, and filling their bellies at top-notch restaurants far beyond the Dallas city limits! And then forcing each of them to compose the loveliest of word-pictures about what must have been a painful separation from their homeland!

How could D’s staff not have recognized that to center an issue around an exploration of Fort Worth was to invite unfair comparisons between our burgs? It was truly the cruelest of acts. Wholly uncalled for and leaving me with no recourse other than to make amends by cutting Cowtown loose.

Therefore, I, John Neely Bryan, being of sound mind and non-corporeal body, do hereby declare and determine that, no, Fort Worth is not a suburb of Dallas. Its relationship to its big brother to the east is hereafter severed. They shall stay on their end of the Trinity, and we shall stay on ours.

D will no longer recommend that Dallasites make the long journey down Interstate 30 — no matter how delicious the dining at Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, how astonishing the art at the Kimbell, or how lovely the walks at its Botanic Garden.

Fort Worthians have made it plain that they deserve better than our praise and admiration — and so should we honor that request.

Like a good neighbor,

John Neely Bryan is founder of the city of Dallas and an expert on all matters. For advice, to have a dispute adjudicated, or seeking wisdom on any of a myriad of topics, [email protected].