"Oh, you lived in Austin? It's supposed to be really cool there."
"Oh, but I heard it was."
"Hm. See, I heard it was."
"Really, though, I think it must be."
"That's so strange, because there's no way that it's not cool there."
Sometimes it feels like I'm the only person in New York not enamored of the medium-sized, traffic-congested, isolated, provincial, cheap, politically-deranged, and culturally self-absorbed capital of Texas. Not that everyone has been there. Although the worst barista at my local coffee shop is from there. He wears sandals. He mentions being from Austin as though *that* were his job. I wish he would learn what pumpernickel was instead.
I understand that New York is stressful, and that also it is so great here that we have to (in bad faith) "really like" some other place that is secretly crappy so that we look all the better by comparison, but take a look at today's NY Times. Two (2) articles about Austin: 1) an indie film is opening in Austin instead of NY or LA. 2) The "Texas Hill Country" is the #1 place to visit this summer.
First off... "ooooh, an *indie* film." Indie, like organic, is one of those scams of capitalism and reification by which buying something is neat because it supports some supposedly noble venture. Austin is a real home of independent film, because of the number of college students and the University's film school. All I have to say about this is that when Bergman's last, magnificent film Sarabande played in Austin, there was one other person in the audience the night I saw it. Austin is not a town of film-lovers. It is just full of young people who don't work.
As far as the travel article, which begins "Who needs Europe?", viz. when Austin and the surrounding area is so wonderful, my only response is something like, "You fucking idiots." If the scorching heat, computer-industry yuppies, pretentious backwoods foodie-ism, and hicks hicks hicks are a substitute for Europe, really I don't see why sniffing glue is not a "travel destination" for the NY Times. It is equally disorientingly shitty, but at least you won't have 5 days left of it after you realize what a bad decision you made.
Oh and the other day this fat girl I met was telling me she wanted to move to Marfa, TX. That's not in Austin, but I still felt like I was on crazy pills. Honey, they don't have an Urban Outfitters there.