WHEN YOU BECOME EDItor of a magazine, even one you knew well in a former incarnation, things happen in a rush, You don’t just plop down in the easy chair, make your selections from a tall stack of lively, informative, prize-winning stories, then head off to lunch with a writer who’s got the latest from City Hall.

Au contraire, as we used to say at Garland High School. A magazine is a work in rapid progress. Deadlines wait for no man (though they will stretch if you pull hard enough).

So the D magazine train roars by, its February issue bound for the printer, slowing just slightly to pick up the new editor. You run alongside the tracks and catch hold of the caboose, flinging your Rolodex and red pencils aboard. Then you clamber like Indiana Jones atop the swaying cars (look out for that tunnel!) until you can reach the lead engine and swing down into the conductor’s chair. Full steam ahead.

While you’re clambering, you don’t have much time for media buzz about Old D vs. New D vs. Paleo-D vs. Neo-D. Such labels, as Mayor Steve Bartlett likes to say of more important things, make “a distinction without a: difference.” D is not a set of stick-on labels, but an ongoing affair of the heart and mind with the city around us. And that city is always a fascinating menage à trois (I did have time to read this month’s cover story) of past, present, and future.

Gatsby was wrong. You can never repeat the past, not even if you wanted to. But Faulkner was right: “The past is never dead. In fact, it’s not even past.” In the life of any magazine, as in the life of any city, any person, the forces of continuity and change work together. I live about eight miles from where 1 was bom. That’s continuity. But someone has built a warehouse and a sprawling apartment complex over the fields where I played as a boy. That’s change.

Same with this magazine. Next time you’re in a doctor’s waiting room, flip through a D magazine from 1975 or 1985. Chances are you’ll see stories about crime and punishment, local politicians, mass transit, great restaurants, good drinks, the Dallas Cowboys, White Rock Lake, new fashions, business winners and losers, useful gadgets, the media, health, and fitness.

Some things change, some continue. We’ll take new looks at many of these subjects in 1995 and beyond. Take education, for example. Our public schools, like our parks and libraries, are a measure of our civic health. D has always cared about the schools and 1 suspect it always will, regardless of who’s driving the train. On the other hand, the phenomenon of cybersex, explored in this month’s “Sex In Dallas,” is, well, new. You couldn’t do that on your IBM Selectric. Or maybe I never found the right key.

So, Old D or New D? Early-neoclassical-post-impres-sionist D? The old and new readers I’ve talked to just want great D-compelling, fun, honest, informative, relevant to their lives. And that’s exactly what we owe readers who share with us their most precious resource-their time.

No city or magazine is ever just one thing. Unlike magazines devoted to golf, or movies, or food, or sports, or computers, this magazine is devoted to a city that tourists and New York sportscasters still call “Big D.” This place is so vast that some call it a Metroplex-and still so small that I almost never go to a mall without seeing someone I know.

Dallas is many contradictory things at once-serious, lighthearted, optimistic, anxious, rich, poor, conservative, liberal, moralistic, hedonistic. Same with D magazine. We like the big idea, but also the nice little place; the hot new trend, but also the stubborn reminder that some things do not change.

What we don’t like are roads (or tracks, as the case may be) not taken. We want to take them all, with you. I look forward to the journey.


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