Monday, March 10
notes: SXSW 2014
“The National Beer of Texas” should make me hate Lone Star, but somehow it does the opposite.
Austin might not be as weird and quirky as Austin thinks it is, but then neither is Boulder, and meanwhile there’s a lot to be said for any town with this many good bars.
Why cannot I buy breakfast tacos everywhere on the planet?
If I hear the word “influencer” in an actual conversation between actual human beings one more time I’m gonna start throwing bottles.
I actually, sincerely believe that most people can learn basic craft skills, and three days of showing small children how to stitch an LED to some felt with conductive thread did nothing to change that idea. On the other hand, it made me realize that I’ve spent my entire life around people who are enormously more competent than is normal in American society. There’s a weird kind of privilege in this. A couple of generations of adults in this country are now mentally unequipped to sew on a button.
Sometimes I can get pretty cynical about the whole d.i.y. trip and all of this twee, sloppy nonsense it can foster, but it’s useful to remember that the politics of the thing aren’t just rooted in putting birds on stuff. Forget for a minute the hilariously delusional root idea of all the recent STEM-mongering that we can solve the fundamental problems of late capitalism by turning every schoolkid in America into a programmer-engineer. There’s just a crying need for people to have some control over the basic material elements of their own lives.
I went to a giant industry conference and instead of going on the company dime to expensive sessions by high-paid neckbeards, I ran my ass into the ground for three days helping people make stuff in a free-to-the-public tent. This ain’t precisely charity work, but it still feels incredibly redeeming.
Maybe it’s also worth saying that I really like and respect the people I work with, which is unfortunately a rare and precious thing in this life.
About driving in Texas: America is never ever going to stop running entirely on cars. Not until it kills us. Not even when it becomes completely obvious even to Republicans and retirees and farmers that it’s killing us. We just don’t care. We aren’t even capable of imagining caring. We are going to drive until there is nothing left for driving to destroy, and then we are going to drive some more. The last American will die alone, huffing gasoline in the front seat of a late-model Toyota the size of a city block in the center of a vast, oil-stained pavement stretching from horizon to horizon.
(I suppose to be fair the same goes for living in a picturesque town 20 miles from anything and flying all over the place all the time to drink too much in different cities and put birds on stuff. I AM THE PROBLEM.)
There are people on this plane out of town more hung over than I am, but not very many of them. There are also people who are not hung over at all, but, again, probably not very many of them.