A quarter-century ago, the Texas Department of Transportation launched its now famous "Don't Mess With Texas" campaign to reduce littering. That phrase is now universally understood, not only in references to trash, but any circumstance of accomplishment or bravado involving someone from the Lone Star State.
- Longhorns win the college football championship? Don't Mess With Texas.
- Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan slugs it out with a White Sox player who foolishly charges the mound? Don't Mess With Texas.
You get the idea.
Anyway, what started as a simple campaign became a huge part of pop culture. It "went viral" -- to borrow a phrase from the Internet age -- before viral was cool.
The transportation department is celebrating its 25th anniversary by asking you which Don't Mess With Texas campaign advertisement you liked best.
Here's a link to dontmesswithtexas.org, where you can watch the videos and cast your vote.
My personal favorite is the very first one -- a 1986 piece featuring the late, great guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. But don't let my opinion color your own preferences. There are tons of memorable ads by artists such as Willie Nelson, Little Joe y La Familia, LeAnn Rimes and (probably my second fave) the Cowboy Poet.
Update: Just watched a bunch more of 'em, and another of my all-time favorites is the one with Dallas Cowboys greats Too Tall Jones and Randy White. That's a classic!