Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is It Just Me?

Or does the terrorist suspect look a lot like every other Austin hipster guy? Read the story here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What Would Carson Want?

Of the people who read this blog, I'm pretty sure none of them would care about this nearly as much as I do. But many of you are literature nerds, so I hope you can appreciate my agitation here.

Since high school, I've had a fascination with Carson McCullers. She grew up in Columbus and is, by far, the most notable literary figure to come from that town. One could argue that she's the most notable person, well, ever to come from Columbus. (The guys who invented Coca-Cola and baseball player Frank Thomas could also take the title, I suppose...)

All that to say, Columbus's snooty, old-school Southern elite ignored her and her literary accomplishments for years. No wonder she never came back to live there. (This makes her decidedly different from my most favorite Georgia writer, Flannery O'Connor). Poor Carson, she was outcasted by them while she was growing up, outcasted after she proved herself to them. I've always identified with her (outcasted writer!) and like her, I hope to never live in Columbus again, if I can help it. (Although, being honest with myself, I will never be as successful as she was...)

Ok, so we've established that I love Carson McCullers. Now for the really good stuff. I recently made a discovery while researching for my Intro to Archives class. The Columbus State University archives held a collection of McCullers papers for a while. The collection must have been sold sometime recently because I found this suspicious link, suggesting that CSU had some of McCullers's papers but now no longer do. I have reason to believe those papers were purchased, at some point, by UT's prestigious Harry Ransom Center here in Austin (although they could also be at Duke University or Emory University).

This leaves me rather conflicted. Part of me feels strongly that those papers should stay at CSU, so that the city of Columbus can continue to atone for its neglect of her. However, I'm not sure that's what she'd want. While she was alive, she wanted nothing to do with Columbus (although she mined it -- well, mined her negative experiences there -- for the settings of her novels and stories). And it's great that the Ransom Center, which is practically in my backyard, has this kick-ass collection of her work (albeit an artificial collection, which goes against some archivists' principles).

Still, I wonder if those papers should have stayed in Columbus. A lot of people there have embraced McCullers and the literary tradition she established for the city. She certainly left a mark on my literary development, one that is different from any other writer, simply because we share Columbus as a hometown.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Missed Connections and The Summation of Hipster Culture

That sounds like the title of a paper, and that's how I'm thinking these days: in terms of assignments, journal articles, presentation, and of course, papers.

But onto the good stuff. I took a break from school work and work work today to check out Craig's List Missed Connections, and found this gem (and I think it speaks for itself):

Hipster girls of Austin

I see you, cute hipster girls of Austin. I see you rocking that Deep V wheelset at the Thursday night social ride, or writing the next great American collection of poems at the corner table at Quack's, or browsing the Mamet archives at the Harry Ransom Center, or listening to the XX on your iPod at a bus stop because the Dirty Projectors are so two months ago. I see you with your wisely chosen and very artful and very sexy tattoos, your carefully-but-not-too-carefully maintained hair, perhaps with highlights of an unusual, biologically impossible color. I see you with your impeccably snazzy clothes, no doubt skillfully curated from countless Cream Vintage visits.

And I just want all of you to know: you are all very hot. Every Pitchfork-reading, farmer's-market-shopping, liberal-arts-college-educated inch of you.

I know I can never be with you, cute hipster girl. My bicycle has not only brakes, but multiple gears. It is, in fact, a hybrid, the fanny pack of the bicycle world. I am entirely free of tattoos. My facial hair is patchy at best, so I am unable to grow a beard. I live west of I-35. I am not a member of a lo-fi shoegaze indie pop band that sometimes gigs at Progress Coffee, and indeed I can't play any musical instruments. I can't even play the ukulele, the fanny pack of the indie rock world. I find Wes Anderson somewhat tedious, and I have not read a single issue of McSweeney's in anything even vaguely resembling its entirety. My jeans do not hug my legs, and I do not have a single stylishly retro vest or hat in my closet. I rarely listen to KUT or KVRX. Although I own a Moleskine, I have to be honest with you — I don't really write in it that much. I went to the Chuck Close show at the Austin Museum of Art and I'm pretty sure I didn't get it. I shop at HEB and not Wheatsville.

My appreciation of Hall and Oates is entirely non-ironic. I occasionally eat meat.

But the biggest problem, hipster girl of Austin, is that you're just too intimidating in your good taste and vaguely-counterculture-but-not-threateningly-eccentric hotness for me to ever work up the pluck to talk to you. I know I will never be cool enough. Le sigh.

But that's okay. You still brighten my vinyl happy hours at Waterloo Records and my Shangri-La visits. Thank you, hipster girl. You rock my world, and you make it look so easy. Carry on with your Bianchi Pista self.