Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Make Austin Normal

This is an old rant, but my fury is renewed every day. I go to school in Austin, Texas. It's something like living in Berkley, California, circa 1969. The big thing around here is "Keep Austin Weird." Keep Austin Weird t-shirts. Keep Austin Weird hemp skirts. Keep Austin Weird hula-hoops. And, of course, Keep Austin Weird bumper stickers. It's supposed to be like an anti-corporate, anti-homogenous, anti-establishment thing. I think it's just anti-common sense.

How about you make Austin a little more normal? How about you scoop your stank hobo ass off the drag and get a job? Starbucks is probably hiring. Too corporate for you? Wear a tanktop with those hairy armpits - then everyone will think you're alternative. How about you take all those f-ing hippie political bumper stickers off your damn ride? "Keep your rosaries out of my ovaries"? I'm not even Catholic, but I wish the Pope would come over here and catch you upside your damn head. "Subvert the dominant paradigm"? What does that even mean? If you're a real hippie, aren't you supposed to be driving a bike?

My latest rage is spurred by the newest infuriating wave to sweep Austin: that damn yellow LiveStrong bracelet. It's supposed to be in support of cancer survivors, or research, or who knows what. But people around here are making the online donation only so people will see them rocking the thing and think they're cool. Oh, wow! You must be best buddies with Lance Damn Armstrong to have gotten one of those! The bracelets are even on E-bay now - so you can purchase the cool factor without all of that pesky societal contribution crap. Genius! The next person I see with that damn yellow rubber band on is getting kicked in the face.

This LiveStrong bullshit is nothing new, but I saw a piece on TV the other day about how the fad is now sweeping the entire nation. So it's no longer just an Austin phenomenon - the whole country has officially gone hippie. I ask you: if Austin is supposed to be so into keeping itself weird, and so anti-homogenous and anti-establishment, then how is it that the city's biggest export in recent years (aside from the President, who clearly does not bear Austin's stamp of approval) is an exclusivist, readily apparent, meaningless status symbol?


Blogger ' dissed said...

Look you surly kookster, from someone who lived in Austin for 12 years and went to school there, you might want to consider the “weirdness” as a gift rather than a curse.
I have lived all around this country as well as abroad (east and west) and Austin in certainly one of the few places in the world left that has a unique local identity (which is what the “weirdness” is referring too).

Most of the physically developed landscape of this country has been sculpted into the same homogeneous crap in Idaho as there is in Baltimore and San Diego. Goto any other city, especially in Texas, and you find strip mall, car lots, Blockbusters and factory outlets linked by one Applebee’s after another. Don’t think of unique places or vignettes of activity in Dallas or Houston, they don’t really exist.

Having lived in Austin, I know the eternal quest of the “drag-worm” asking you to “spair some change” can be annoying but so what? You have great food in Austin. Tremendous music and natural resources are at your disposal almost 300 days a year. And to top it all off you are going to school in a town with over 60,000 people in your demographic (age, intelligence, and hours). So remind me again what you are complaining about.

Was it the silly cancer bracelet, right? Well, I’ve got news for you pal; people all over the world are perpetuating silly fads right now as we speak. Hell, people all around me as I type on the train from NYC to Philadelphia are wearing neckties in a attempt to achieve a “professional” look and cover the buttons on their shirt. This hold over from a time before there were buttons, doesn’t matter much in function but it sure does in business. Hey, by the way do you own jeans, because that’s a fad.

Let them enjoy their hairy armpits and little rubber bands and try to concentrate on your own sincerity.

October 12, 2004 at 3:57 PM  
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