The Man Behind The Texanist – And What’s Next for the Beloved Column

“The Texanist was always done in a fun, third person voice so I always thought of him as a little bit of a superhero.”

By Laura RiceJuly 20, 2016 12:41 pm

For nearly a decade, Texas Monthly readers have been seeking and receiving sage advice for Texas-centric issues from someone known only as the Texanist. Not sure whether it’s appropriate to ask the person in the row in front of you to take off their ten-gallon hat? Can you run the red light in your one-stoplight-town if it’s late at night and nobody is around? Can you pitch a tent anywhere along the bank of a Texas River? Ask the Texanist.

Now, for the first time on the radio, David Courtney a.k.a. the Texanist is coming out from behind his keyboard to talk about where the column is headed and give us some insight into his mysterious alter ego.

Your byline has never been secret, but why start talking publicly now? 

“It was spurred by the unfortunate demise of my long-time illustrator, Jack Unruh from Dallas, who was a world famous illustration who I’m very lucky to have worked with all these years. All that time I think he did a total of 105 illustrations. He died in may after a short battle with esophageal cancer, and we felt like the column just couldn’t be the same without his illustrations. And also after nine years of doling out my signature advice that it might be time for a little change anyway.”

Is it more David Courtney writing now, instead of the Texanist?

“It will be more David Courtney is the idea. The Texanist was always done in a fun, third person voice so I always thought of him as a little bit of a superhero. You know, David Courtney was at his core – but the Texanist could do and say things that David Courtney couldn’t. So David Courtney is going to emerge from behind the Texanist veil or superhero costume.”

When you were writing as the Texanist, did you have a vision of who he is? 

“Sometimes I thought of the Texanist as kind of your ne’er–do–well, maybe a little drink-y, yet very sage uncle or grandfather. Someone like that, a trusted voice but maybe a bit of a rounder. Someone who had experiences that I had not or at least I was able to embellish on my own experiences as the Texanist.”

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.

Post by Allyson Michele.

Courtesy Texas Monthly

David Courtney, the writer behind Texas Monthly’s column ‘The Texanist.