Austin is like the safety school of life.
Reasons Why Austin Is the Worst Place Ever
I am a resident of Austin, Texas.
Perhaps you’ve heard of us. We seem to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue lately. Everyone’s investing in Austin, everyone’s excited about Austin. It’s the live music capital of the world, it’s on the cover of travel magazines, business magazines, and food magazines. It’s simply the place to be.
Well, fuck that. I’ve lived in Austin long enough to know that this city can drive you fucking crazy. It’s a sweltering, congested sub-metropolis full of slack-asses and yuppies who simultaneously take themselves too seriously and not seriously enough. It’s a place where spending $11 on a sandwich is considered a societal good. It’s a place where entitled people claim ownership on everything.
Austin is a place where bad people move. People in Austin actually believe they invented the breakfast taco. People in Austin will tell a Mexican family who has lived on the same street for generations that they’re doing their best to “save the neighborhood.”
If that’s not enough, here are some more reasons Austin sucks.
The Yuppiness Is so Chronic it Borders on Self-Parody
The following is an actual exchange I had with somebody in Austin not too long ago:
“We have to go to that place, they have whiskey-infused bacon!”
“Whiskey-infused bacon! That’s so cool!”
“But like why? Why is that cool? How is that more than just a thing? Why should I be excited that some dude made bacon and left it in a bottle of whiskey?”
“Come on, don’t be a party pooper.”
There are so many “crazy” and “awesome” things in Austin! The taco cannon! The moustache competition! The pun-off! Everyone is really excited about all of these things. People are very excited to see horribly self-involved white people tell puns at a bar. That’s something you do in Austin, that’s part of the scene. Why do you go to the pun-off? Because it fits a certain collection of circumstances and idealized cultural values that supposedly makes Austin what it is. By virtue of its own perceived audacity, a pun-off, whiskey-infused bacon, or a ratball bad taco somehow becomes really cool.
But you’re not keeping Austin weird. You’re engaging in this fake, utterly distasteful blend of irony and feigned enthusiasm that will eventually cause the city to self-implode under the density of its own facetiousness. Soon you won’t be able to identify a single genuine emotion within its borders. You don’t actually care about whiskey-infused bacon. You don’t give a shit about whiskey-infused bacon. You’re pretending to, because that’s what keeps the whole city from feeling like a big lie.
The George W. Bush Museum Is Just as Infuriating as You Think It Is
George W. Bush is history’s greatest monster you’d like to have a beer with. He’s a fun-loving, DUI-acquiring, shit-kicking everyman like you—a self-defined cowboy who slurred his way through Yale and into his stolen role as the former Leader of the Free World.
Miles away from his much-maligned presidency, he currently exists as an affable, inoffensive talk show guest, the kind who takes relish in presenting Jay Leno, America’s Former Late Night Leader, with semi-competently rendered portraits of himself. In spite of this we have not forgotten, nor forgiven, his misdeeds. We (and by “we,” I mean “I,” because I’m the one writing this) still hate him with every fiber of our beings. We, however, aren’t docents at his presidential library and museum. In the interest of checking out his apologists’ fun spin on revisionist history, I decided to visit the museum, located, naturally, on the campus of Dallas’s Southern Methodist University.
The first thing I witnessed, after walking by the “Freedom Registry,” was the sight of children on a field trip being shuffled through a metal detector. I have visited many presidential museums in my time, up to and including Richard Nixon’s. This, however, was the only one I had been to that required the frisking of its visitors. Nixon had enemies—a whole list of them, in fact. But in fairness, Bush’s enemies list is countries—his own included—long. I could understand the man’s paranoia.
An exhibition of childlike paintings of world leaders, titled The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy, was where I began my tour. Portraits of Bush’s cronies, displayed among tchotchkes given in friendship, hung alongside glowing reviews of his character. Tony Blair was quoted as saying, “I’ve admired him as a president and I regard him as a friend. I have taken the view that Britain should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with America after September 11th… I am proud of the relationship we have had.”
Cry-Baby of the Week
Cry-Baby #1: Lumberton Independent School District
The incident: Some parents complained that their children’s teacher was transgender.
The appropriate response: Nothing.
The actual response: The teacher was suspended.
Laura Jane Klug is a transgender woman who was recently hired by the Lumberton ISD School District in Texas as a substitute teacher. She was filling in as a teacher for a 5th grade class last Thursday when she found out that there had been complaints from the parents of some of her students about her being transgender.
The school responded to these complaints by suspending Laura, which was a legal for thing for them to do because Texas, a state located in a first world country, does not have laws to protect transgender people from workplace discrimination.
Roger Beard, whose son was in Laura’s class, said he complained because he felt that 11-year-olds were too young to understand the (fairly uncomplicated) concept of a trans woman. “There are some things that we accept in society that children are not going to accept in the same way that we do,” he told local news station 12 News. Adding, “I just don’t want them teaching, especially not this age group.”
Thankfully, other parents defended Laura. “My son knows who he is and I don’t think any outside influence is going to change that. I’m more concerned about straight predatory teachers rather than I am someone who lives an alternative private lifestyle. I don’t worry about my son,” said Jammie Marcantel, whose son was in Laura’s class.
According to another local news station, Laura will find out later today if she gets to keep her job.
"If you ain’t from Texas this ain’t the place to be because we’re burning this motherfucker down!” shouted Doughbeezy, the otherwise relentlessly friendly Houston rapper, at a recent show. He looked out over the crowd before him with the steady, combative gaze of a practiced performer. He was playing a larger, South-centric showcase called “Welcome to tha South” at South by Southwest, a time when the music industry as a whole fills Austin with the desperate sprawl of corporate sponsorship and mindless networking. Despite the presence of outsiders, there was a surplus of UT burnt ochre and hands throwing up the state’s longhorn symbol. And a lot of people seemed to know his songs. Like, maybe more than for Que or Ty Dolla $ign, artists on the bill with national radio hits. Most of the people there might have been from Texas—a mixed blessing given the setting.
Texas police looking for a missing woman and her two children found something else on Wednesday — 108 people imprisoned in an overflowing, squalid stash house where human smugglers had reportedly locked them up while waiting for payment.
How to Buy Jewelry Like a Jeweler, by Clancy Martin
For years I owned a chain of luxury jewelry stores in one of the wildest, most flamboyant, most duplicitous jewelry markets of them all: Dallas, Texas. I won’t tell you every kind of subterfuge I learned from when I first started in the business at age fifteen (the owners of that notorious store that taught me all I know eventually went to federal prison), but with Valentine’s Day coming up, I will tell you what sort of jewelry scams are popular throughout the world now. And just to make it easy, I’ve boiled them down to ten basic maxims. Follow these simple rules, and you will never go wrong in buying luxury jewelry. You’ll even seem like an expert. And that’s rule number one, which I’ll give you for free: If you seem like you’re in the know, if you come off as someone who’s in the business, most jewelers will be hesitant to try to dupe you. Never act like this is your first—or even fifteenth—time in a jewelry store. You cannot be intimidated by your salesperson. You must be confident and in complete control. Better still, tell the salesperson you don’t know much about jewelry at all—and then let slip, through the tricks I teach you below, subtle hints that convince him you’re an expert in disguise. Then the dealer will suspect you are trying to dupe him. And he will fear you.
1. All colored stones are treated.
There is simply no such thing as a “natural”-colored gemstone, particularly not in a jewelry store, and certainly not if it’s been set in a piece of finished jewelry. (Incidentally, “finished jewelry” is a term you should remember: It means a piece that has been completely assembled, rather than, say, a ring setting that is still waiting for its center stone.) So if someone is telling you a stone is natural, you can smile and say, “Oh, it hasn’t even been heated?” Now your salesperson must either admit that it’s been heated or lie to you or simply reveal his incompetence. In any event, you have established your superiority. There are natural pearls, but they are so rare that you should insist on a certificate guaranteeing their authenticity (more on such certificates below) and only buy from an established business that specializes in natural pearls. The most respected jewelry stores and auction houses in the world have been fooled into selling cultured pearls as natural and into selling treated colored stones as untreated.