Welcome to Mediocre, Texas

by Michael Corcoran (first published April 2012)

Only the mediocre are always at their best, someone said, which could be why Austin is so damn proud of itself.

Welcome to Mediocre, Texas, the home of the Texas Longhorns, Harry Knowles, the bats, SoCo, Kerbey Lane, the weekly 10K fun run and street closer, the pot luck architecture of E. 11th St. and bands playing at the restaurant when you just want to fucking eat in peace.

romeoBut what about the world class music scene? Brooklyn Vegan loves us, but In 50 years as a hotbed, Austin didn’t produce a single Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee until Stevie Ray Vaughan got in a couple years ago. Timbuk 3 ain’t gonna make it, folks. Rock stars aren’t launched here, they go to Austin to retire, work the steps, and wait for their Austin Chronicle cover story.

This used to be a town that worshipped guitar players, but forget learning at the feet of blues masters. If you want big ups in the ATX these days you want to get with Bobby Flay, not Buddy Guy. Tyson Cole and Bryce Gilmore are the new Vaughan brothers, and folks on the Eastside are lining up for Aaron Franklin’s smoked brisket the way they once did Aaron “T-Bone” Walker’s smokin’ riffs.

It’s true the food scene has improved immensely from the years when the four culinary options were Tex-Mex, BBQ, Thundercloud, Other. But it’s a little lame to live in a city where there are more groupies lurking around kitchens than backstage. Mouth-watering is the new jaw-dropping.

Austin is populated by artists, writers, musicians who are driven to be the absolute best in town. Unfortunately, they’re not great, so they have to live in Austin.

We’re touted as a movie town, but unless we want to count UT grad Wes Anderson, we haven’t really been churning out the great flicks. “Tree of Life,” what was that? Director Terrence Malick doesn’t like to have his picture taken, but he’ll let us watch him masturbate for three hours.

There are two cities in the U.S. that truly matter: New York and L.A. Everywhere else is bullshit. Austin is cool and fun and artistic and- most importantly, easy– but that doesn’t make it a great city. The things that make a town a city- rapid transit, Chinatown, pro sports- Austin is without. We’ve got L.A.’s traffic, but no one who can greenlight a project bigger than a “Don’t Mess With Texas” commercial.

The only Austinites who have the right to feel smug are those who made their money in L.A. or New York and came here to raise kids. Everyone else should shut their Mighty Cone-holes. Don’t blow your own horn after you’ve been blowing your nose all morning due to cedar fever.

To paraphrase the blue-eyed singer of “New York, New York,”  if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere and if you can’t there’s always Austin. We got chicken shit bingo, too!072613-xl-east-austin-21

This is a burg populated by those unsatisfied by their hometowns- and Portland didn’t work out either. Some came from Houston and Dallas to attend the University of Texas, or from Lubbock to tend to the women, and never left. Or they came during SXSW and realized, dude, this is much cooler than Norfolk. Dreams and reality share an apartment on Parmer Lane.

We’re not here to knock mediocrity, but embrace it. It’s something to strive for, Capital Metro. This college and legislative town was built on being just good enough to advance. Mediocrity means that you know exactly how your day is going to go, so the only messy surprise might be that migas don’t travel. It’s so unchallenging here that living dangerously is going to the HEB on E. 7th instead of Hancock Center. A movie about the Austin mindset was called “Slacker” because “Lazy and Full of Shit” was too hard to market.

The limits of Austin as a city are right there in the name of its famous TV show. Nothing that happens here seems to have much impact elsewhere.

Let’s lose that “Live Music Capital of the World” slogan like an itchy scarf. Most live music is unlistenable and yet we still have all these entitled musicians who want affordable housing and other benefits. Stop feeding the pigeons and, you know what, San Marcos has a pigeon problem. Not against musicians- the talented ones truly enhance the quality of life. But you never hear them complaining.

austin6thstreetObviously, if you’ve read this far, I’m not exactly Joan Didion. You want to know who ‘nated in my cornflakes? My own mediocrity did.

But it’s cool. Pressure’s off. I’m just going to live an Austin life like I should’ve been doing all those years I tried to set the world on fire. I think I’ve got a new slogan we can all say proudly, and without refute, “Austin: Not bad, not bad at all.”

Heard in Mediocre, Texas

“It’s boring as shit, but the kids love it. And it’s free.”

“Is it true this used to be a black neighborhood?”

“Good news. We’ve got Andy Langer to emcee!”

“Why move to Brooklyn when Brooklyn’s coming to the Eastside?”

“The place is small, without any charm, but at $1350 a month the price is right. And we can walk to Torchy’s.”

“I’ll go with you to Merle Haggard, but only if Dale Watson is opening.”

“We don’t need to know the lineup to pay $200 for three-day passes. It’s gonna be awesome.”

“Sorry, but I had to listen to screaming babies when I was single. Now it’s my turn to make everyone in the restaurant miserable.”

“Lambert’s used to be called Liberty Lunch.”

“Hook ‘em, Horns”

“Allright, I’m moving to Austin. Who wants to come with?”

Mediocre, TX goes to the ole ball g-a-m-e

Haven’t been to a Round Rock Express game for years, but I can imagine that, by now, Austin’s team has got a ball park that is better than the rest. Yes, they have hot dogs, but these are artisan franks made from antelope and bison sausage with grilled horseradish slaw. More than 20 food booths serve everything from poblano chicken in a cornbread cube to ahi tuna frittatas.

Before every game, the Blues on the Mound stage is set up, facing the crowd, and such top local bands as Carolyn Wonderland, Quiet Company and Ray Wylie Hubbard delight the earlybirds. Or fans can get a tattoo from one of three shops on the premises.

The ballpark features spring-fed Leslie Cochran Cove over the left field fence. And the cool thing about the press-box: all unpaid bloggers. They eat up the Seventh Inning Sketch, where Brian Gaar and Friends improvise scenarios yelled out by plants in the crowd.

After you’ve been to a Round Rock Express game, you wouldn’t want to go to any other ballpark in America. It’s the coolest place in all of sports.

But it’s still just minor league baseball.

86 Responses to “Welcome to Mediocre, Texas”

  1. Ian Dille said

    This reminds me of that time Don Draper wrote that op/ed about big tobacco.

  2. Riki said

    What a great articulation of my sentiments.

  3. shim said

    i really loved this, it gives me a little more strength to work 2-3 thankless, sub-minimum wage, dead end jobs to save to get the hell out of here for good.

    really wish you would have left it on a more sour note as the nature of austin’s true mediocrity is a sucking vortex of suck moving towards a singularity of total suckage.

    a big FU to austin and all the false promises, half truths and downright lies that you peddle.

    can’t wait to see this place in my rearview.

  4. B. Richards said

    Referring to yourself as “mediocre” is unduly generous.

  5. Angus Wynne said

    You got it, Corky. Used to be like this in Dallas. Keep up the good work.

  6. John DeBlanc said

    Great stuff, Austin, is a lie, shrouded by just enough truth and talent to fool you. But in the end, Austin is mediocre. Don’t get me wrong, still one of the best places to live, most of this world, quite honestly sucks, some of it is down right terrifying. But Austin, is just mediocre. It will continue to draw people in, the smart ones from California that know the big one is coming, people from well… everywhere who move here after a SXSW or ACL weekend that changed their lives. But in the end… Austin is mediocre.

    Great stuff, glad to have found you, and your site.

  7. […] whip up a firestorm when we want to, he managed to enrage Austinites recently with a post called Welcome to Mediocre, Texas.  As he notes towards the end ("Obviously, if you’ve read this far, I’m not exactly Joan […]

  8. Austin native said

    I was born and raised in Austin, but have been living in China for about a year now. Having also lived in NYC, and spent some time on the West coast, I used to share the same sentiment: that Austin was a mediocre and, at times, overly safe place to be. I was ready to get out and take on a more fast-paced adventure.

    After exploring a very diverse range of locations and lifestyles (currently living in South East China), I can now say that those of you who call Austin home should realize just how fortunate you are. I am admittedly the epitome of the “grass is always greener” cliché, but it has taken me a number of years to realize that Austin is, in fact, the greatest city on this planet.

    Fantastic food. Culture. Music. Friendly people. Booming job market. Environmentally conscious with unlimited outdoor activities and green space. Beautiful hill country scenery with nearby lakes. Not to mention its close proximity to three of the most populous cities in the US, where you can easily catch any number of professional sporting events.

    Instead of focusing on what you don’t have and wishing you lived in some metropolis (where you’ll happily pay $12 for a pack of Marlboros), try to look at the overwhelming positives in life.

    • K. T. said


    • Adam said

      Well guess for some mediocre is the best place on the planet I guess… of course you have to be seriously on your game to handle China, NYC, SF, etc (lived in all of them for years… prefer a place where I’m challenged and there are tons of folks smarter than me… in Austin I was almost always the smartest, most well travelled, lived life full guy in the room… those other places… maybe slightly above average)

    • Jimy said

      You are right about the “grass is greener” stuff.

      I’ve lived just about everywhere in the US now, and several places abroad; and traveled almost the entire world.

      So, yeah, Austin doesn’t just inherently suck, and cities shouldn’t really be compared, it’s not always apples to apples.

      But it’s definitely not the best city in the world, not by a long shot. The easy way to tell is that it has a huge chip on its shoulder, and constantly has to write magazines, blog posts, etc, telling the world that it IS the best place in the world, and constantly comparing itself to places it would like to be. Yet, it struggles to have a true identity of its own. Other cities that truly are the best cities, receive ratings often, over and over, from international economic agencies that rate things more scientifically than “I grew up here, went to college here and had fun, and now it’s grown a few new tall buildings, so it must be the greatest!”

      That said, I find Austin boring. It’s nice that it’s safe, and that business (for the most part) gets done (though it pales in comparison to NYC, SF, Seattle).

      However, there’s really nothing to do here. Other than the “hill country” which is pretty to look at approximately 1-2 times (then you realize it’s just some hills), the scene is based around college kids, going to bars, dives, etc.

      If you aren’t doing that, you have a family and go to the park and go to a food truck once in a while and have a laugh.

      But there’s no ocean, no mountains, nothing epic to explore, nothing epic to find, or do, or experience.

      It’s just a slacker, calm, chill, friendly place, but also kind of just a dirt hole in the middle of the Texas desert that got overhyped because a few Americana/Country musicians made a name here.

      The business scene is more sophisticated than New Orleans, with its terrible struggling (and completely ignorant tech scene–Carrolton Tech, you idiots). But, it has a long, long way to go before it can match the three cities I mentioned earlier.

      Also infrastructure-wise, it’s bad; traffic is horrible. They’re trying to expand roads, but they can’t expand fast enough to meet demand. Housing is an issue; there’s a real estate bubble that’s going to burst soon. Look left of downtown, and you’ll find Clarksville, a bunch of old homes taking up entire blocks. As nice as the homes may be, it’s obvious they have to go; that entire area needs to be an extension of the skyline, and be razed, then put up condos and mixed-used mid-rise and high-dish buildings. Until they start doing this, housing is all screwed up here, cause it’s either rentals for students only, or houses that are outrageously overpriced because they are where they should no longer be.

      Overall, Austin’s very friendly (except its police force; they have very small penises and will pull you over for no reason just for having a nice car, which you obtained from working your ASS off at your job and improving the economy here).

      It’s just that, if you didn’t go to college here, it’s just another college-made, closed-off, frat-boy/sorority-girl, old money kind of town at heart. The people who went to college here won’t invite you fully into their circle of friends because you missed the initiation. You can’t find yourself in a place like that, nor find total peace. You have to go to places where people have more mixed backgrounds and put merit above privilege. Austin doesn’t do that, even for all it’s “blue dot in a sea of red” talk. It’s still old south in that sense.

      If you’re rich, sure, have a vacation home/condo here, and come visit in the nice months. Go elsewhere for the half of the year when its 105+ degrees out; that’s just not worth it.

      • desertzinnia said

        When are the nice months? I haven’t noticed any yet. An occasional nice day, but usually during the work week.

      • Tony said

        Could not agree more. Different is not accepted here, unless it has a clever look at me way about it.

        Also, Mexican and black people seem to HATE the white man down here.

  9. […] Main menu Skip to primary content Skip to secondary content HomeAboutACL FestContactFacebookHistory of Black GospelSportswritingSXSWTrue Heroes of Texas Music, PT IITwitterWelcome to Mediocre, Texas […]

  10. Ray Manzer said

    LA and New York?

    Those meccas of everything that is soul-less, vacant, shallow in America??

    the heart of america isn’t in either of those two places. id go so far as to say that those two cities are the ANTITHESIS of what makes america great.

    give me athens, georgia, RDU/Chapel Hill, NC, Columbus, Ohio, eugene oregon. and yes, Austin….any day.

    fuck those big cities and their goddamn cookie cutter bullshit. all fluff, no substance. two cities full of clones. fake plastic people.

    • Harry A. Hole said

      I hereby give you Athens, Chapel hill, and Columbus and if you find a way to be in all three at once, by all means stay there. If you’re lucky you can hold up a sign on ESPN College Game Day advising NY and LA to fvck off.

  11. stewart scruggs said

    Austin’s web has always been sticky – born and raised here, lived many other places, but came back for good. The best description I ever heard of Austin was 30 years ago from KJK – “The velvet rut”. Great piece and all of us share your loss at Brent’s passing.

  12. DKB said

    Almost as good as your Traci Lords story oh so many years and publications ago.

  13. Stephen Beez said

    Who cares about the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame? A bunch of old clothes and guitars. Have they even inducted Led Zeppelin into that hall of fame yet? The idea that the more you sell, the better you are, pervades our society. But just because you sell the most doesn’t mean you’re the best. McDonald’s may sell the most hamburgers, but that doesn’t make them the best hamburgers in the world. So, if Timbuktu or whatever Austin band you want to mention doesn’t make it to the Hall of Fame, it doesn’t mean that much. I doubt they care.
    Austin does not have the infrastructure that LA or New York has to propel bands to the national / international level. We do have a good reputation world-wide that helps Austin bands get a foot in the door in Europe, etc. Lacking other infrastructure, it’s one of the only things Austin musicians do enjoy that other cities may not. Let’s not drag that through the mud and ruin one of the good things Austin musicians can benefit from.

  14. Josh said

    Noone in Austin ever said Austin was LA, Seattle, New York etc. As far as Texas goes Id rather live here than Dallas, San Antonio or Houston for a variety of reasons. Eventually Ill head to Seattle but as far as Texas goes it’s a very good option. Does the shine wear off a little? Of course. An idiot could make that assumption. When compared to most of the other cities in Texas though its still an amazing city. Its all relevant. And most of the people living in New York are probably bored with their simple lives the same as they would be anywhere lol. Its only called Hollywood till you get there, then its just LA.

  15. Happy in 78704 said

    That 9/11 picture you Photoshopped was really tasteful.

    Stay classy!

  16. Very Funny Stuff. I really don’t know what to say, because I could easily slip and sound like ‘sour grapes’ and all my experiences made meaningless. I performed off and on in the Austin Scene from 1980 till 2004 and ‘seriously’ I think beginning in 1997 because I began to demand MONEY. By 2000 I was paid to play on Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays (twice) and Friday afternoons, plus I averaged 2 performances on the weekend ‘solo’ and all in the CITY LIMITS of AUSTIN. And yet I am virtually unknown. I opened for Townes, W.C. Clark, and many many others…. still never to the attention of anyone. But I always got work, and sometimes at a BARN DANCE some of the folks getting attention in the Chronicle always asked me where I was playing getting more money than them, but never seen otherwise. I still do that to this day except performing professionally I use several talents to make about $1,000 a week doing shows for the Sick and Old. As I say to friends all the time, “I play for people who don’t remember tomorrow and you know what that means? It means I get to play tomorrow TOO.”

    How do I see Austin? 16 years old in the late 1960s breaking into a Black Blues Club on 6th Street way before it got so WHITE. Remembering that Guadalupe was the Capital of Music most of the 70s or SOAP CREEK god bless that place. Suddenly Rock and Roll was replaced with the ‘Sensitive Singer Songwriter,’ and with so very little experience opening for Townes at EmmaJoes and then Townes allowing me to party with his better friends. Remembering when Bands had to play 4 hours to be paid something instead of 4 bands playing for FREE! And watching 6th Street become mostly small establishments for people to buy Jello shots. And what came of all the MUSIC, as you point out, almost NOTHING save Stevie and the Vaughn Brothers and friends.

    So I guess although I never got any press for being the best paid unknown artist in Austin Texas. I’m still earning a LIVING as a full time Musician and Entertainer at my nitch, and of the rest of the musicians from the past where are they? Working else where I guess with Bumper Stickers “Real Musicians Have Day Jobs,” but not in music trying to conquer the world regardless of the PRESS Ms. Moser gave them.

    TaTa 😉 lol
    Marvin Gershowitz (aka a lot of different names)

  17. Minds Eye said

    I couldn’t agree more. I saw yet another article about how Austin is “growing up” and sooooo great in one of its many lame hipster rags, and found a link mocking it in the pingbacks. I think you’d dig it.


  18. markeyk said

    The problem with Austin is it has way too much obsession with coolness. It would be great if they ended SXSW the 200+ million dollar rolling monster but in reality it’s going to keep growing until the whole city becomes a massive convention city like Las Vegas. In the future downtown will be hotels, impoverished service workers and rude douche bags running around town lake. I think the problem with Austin is SXSW/The Chronicle people, if it wasn’t for them Austin would not be overly gentrified, culturally vacant, expensive, I-35 would not be bumper to bumper and Brent Grulke would still be alive. Austin hasn’t been weird in years, they should be honest about who they really and change their slogan from “Keep Austin Weird” to “Keep Austin White” because that’s the kind of city that it’s become.

  19. FdaHaters said

    Except Austin is getting less white…..

  20. Jimmy said

    I dunno. Sounds like you just have the kind of personality that will find stuff wrong with anything once you’ve grown tired enough of it.

    I’ve lived in SF, NYC, Seattle, LA, New Orleans, traveled around the world, etc. To be honest, there really isn’t much difference in places when you LIVE and WORK there. Austin is actually pretty decent in this respect… It’s small enough to get around, do your hobbies and enjoy life, and do your work, with nice people and stuff to do.

    In LA and NYC you think you can become famous, but you won’t. You think you can move up some neverending ladder, but you never go anywhere and spend all of your income on rent and high cost of living, etc. NYC is a shithole and a concrete prison. LA is a smoggy, sprawling wasteland of traffic and hopeless dreams. With the internet, you can become famous from anywhere; Austin, too… But at least in Austin you can get more stuff done, faster, due to the scale and accessibility of things.

    It’s mediocre to me in its scenery… People are healthy and outdoors, but the “hill country” is just… nothing… The west coast and mountains states are much more beautiful. But it’s a lot prettier than New York or most places on the east coast.

    The public transportation should be better, but oh well. The real estate is really problematic, but oh well.

    It’s got a lot of things the rest of the world comes to visit for, and many are staying, for a reason; cause it’s a nice place to live. Go live somewhere else if you hate it so much. But I’m pretty sure you’ll just grow to hate that place, too. In such a situation the problem is more with the person doing the hating than the object of the hate, which in this case, has value consisting primarily of the people populating it (and doing the hating or not hating).

  21. […] Story: The Sanctified Soul of Arizona Dranes” in 2012. This piece was originally posted at Michaelcorcoran.net and appears here with the author’s […]

  22. John Merriman said

    Sorry you didn’t set the world on fire but don’t take it out on Austin. I’m also sorry michaelcorcoran.com wasn’t available 🙁

  23. Great Cornholio said

    I agree with this post. Used to live in Austin. Glad I left. Some observations.

    1. You can walk the entire downtown in less than 2 hrs. Is this a real city?
    2. There are REALLY GOOD RESTAURANTS. About 10 of them. In the entire city. Takes about 2 weeks to figure this out.
    3. A traffic nightmare.
    4. Jobs, Jobs, and wait a minute- NO jobs.
    5. A severe case of group think among the residents. All talking about ‘how great’ Austin is…and ‘how much they like AUSTIN’. Always carefully placing the city’s name in every sentence. And (the kicker) carefully watching to make sure others confirm how much they ALSO ‘like’ it there (Like what? Paying $600K mortgages?) People in LA do this too…

    I could go on…maybe you can find something actually cool there (like a real city). I failed in this particular quest.

  24. Jimmy said

    Great Cornholio, while I agree with some of your general sentiments, your reasoning is incredibly stupid. Wherever you went just got collectively dumber.

    1) If the measure of whether a place is a city is how long is takes to walk it’s downtown, then 2 hours is actually a rather long time. You can walk the entire distance of Manhattan (that’s in NYC, if you don’t know geography) in about four hours; it’s not that big. The ENTIRE CITY of San Francisco is seven square miles and the downtown area can be walked probably more quickly than Austin’s. Austin’s downtown area isn’t it’s problem; it’s actually one of the most simultaneously functional, live, and ever expanding downtown areas of any city in the US (and now that they are considering running I-35’s downtown portion underground, it will further open up the downtown area to development and pedestrian activity). Austin’s infrastructure problem lies OUTSIDE of downtown–it’s gotten too populated for the three or so major roads running north/south to accommodate the traffic, and not enough of the neighborhoods PERIPHERAL to downtown have urbanized/densified–they still contain several houses per block when there should be far more multi-tenant condo buildings. This leads to an overall underdevelopment of housing and overdemand for it (and sky high prices–it’s getting as expensive to live here as Seattle, San Francisco, etc).

    2) Austin has far more than 10 good restaurants. It’s one of its best attributes; there are many food truck congregations and new restaurants popping up constantly, and the bar is set extremely high. I lived in New Orleans for a time, a place considered by many as the culinary capitol of the world, and I think at some point–as early as Katrina–Austin actually surpassed New Orleans in terms of average quality of restaurants.

    3) Yes, a traffic nightmare. What shocks me is why they don’t implement “smart” fixes to this problem. If you can’t pay to build/expand highways, you can at least do things like install onramp metering–stoplights that allow one car to enter the highway at a time. Seattle did this and it massively ameliorated their traffic issues–there’s cars during peak traffic hours, but there’s almost never stop and go or standstill traffic. Here, with no onramp metering, everyone just hops right on and there’s no order to anything. There seems to be no thought or order in place to intra-city red light timing either–even many small cities time their red lights to synchronize so that if drivers drive the speed limit, they catch all green lights. This could easily be done with a little planning, and would require no new construction. It’s just plain dumb and lazy. And of course, the base problem stems from the fact that Austin began (and was planned as) a small college town, then grew into a city, but nobody planned for this contingency. Seattle (often compared in parallel to Austin given its start as a smaller city that then boomed during the dot com days into a much more urban and densified place) planned this very well. Austin’s “light rail” goes to nowhere–Seattle’s starts at the airport and goes all the way through neighborhoods, by the major league baseball and football stadiums, and the line ends downtown near tourist attractions. One can then change over to the monorail to reach Seattle Center and the Space Needle, or change over to the second “Link” of the line and reach the University district. The next line, under construction now, will allow one to go all the way from the airport to Redmond and the Microsoft/Nintendo campus areas. Austin needs to PLAN.

    4) Jobs – wrong. Forbes rated Austin #1 in the country in 2013 for jobs, in the top 3 for new grads, so on and so forth. This place is booming with jobs. Granted many of those jobs are tech-oriented, but still; Texas’s economy has coincidentally benefitted from its traditionally anti-employee policies in this bad economy, and it currently one of the best places to get a job.

    5) Group think – yes; people who moved here before Austin became a “city” (especially those who went to UT) got sucked into group-think because they had a chip on their shoulder–they knew Austin wasn’t much of a city and wanted others to believe it was greater than it was. I think those who have moved here because they received job offers aren’t as much a part of this group think–they weren’t part of the college/frat scene and arrived after Austin had already outgrown its college town origins. Only time will tell how things aggregate from here onwards.

    • J said

      Did you say Austin surpassed New Orleans in quality of restaurants? Have you lost your mind? Food in Austin is mediocre at best with a few exceptions. Food in New Orleans is the most inventive and delicious this side of NYC.

  25. The Mang said

    You’ve truly lost touch, Corc. It’s clear you were once on the inside, but now, from the outside, you no longer have any idea what’s going on. The pulse of this city and the people refute what you wrote here every….single….day. If you don’t see the music groupies, then you’re just not paying attention. It must have been ironic writing about the state of our city from the bottom of your basement.

    It’s sad that instead of realizing how little you know about the place you live in anymore, you just took to your blog to write a hate rant. Out of touch and hateful isn’t a good look for you.

    Congratulations you little bitch.

  26. Tim said

    Just out of curiosity, why’d you come back?

  27. K. T. said

    You got so much right, as always Michael. And you made me laugh. A friend of mine calls Austin, “The ‘whatever’ city,” because of the slack attitude that allows so much here to pass short of excellence and bask in kudos just the same. You also got some things wrong. Whole Foods started here and it has surely made an impact on the world. Don Walser comes to mind. Spoon. Rocky Erickson. Still, “Not bad, not bad at all” gets at something true, given all the hype about this place. I love it here and prefer to VISIT the other cities that you say “matter.” Glad you’re still here and still writing what you think and feel, excellently.

  28. […] The patriot in me loves a great narrative, particularly if a space embodies the narrative. Austin’s narrative is that it is the cool, hip, laid-back kid who might dress like it’s Monday for a paycheck but has a heart for year-round Spring Break. All this beauty and fun and queso and breakfast tacos, all these festivals and all this live music and all that football and burnt orange everything and our shared contempt for Interstate 35. What only a few people say is that what keeps Austin from leaping from the precipice toward greatness is its aversion to constructive criticism, a kind of collective defensive denial about what it really means to be liberal, progressive and great. (For more, read Michael Corcoran’s great piece,Welcome to Mediocre, Texas.) […]

  29. Johnny said

    There are A LOT of statements about how really GREAT Austin is, but in reality is not so great. I’m not saying it is BAD either, it is actually NOT BAD at all. There are a lot of really nice things about Austin, like:

    The sunny weather, its cleanliness, and the overall relaxed attitude, but that is pretty much it really. It lacks FLAVOR. Also, 6th street with it’s bars, music, and partying, SXSW, UT, and hill country, doesn’t make up for this lack of flavor AT ALL. Further, the surrounding nature lacks tall trees, and is more toward desert-like, with skinny shorter trees that are more like bushes, and there are no pronounced seasonal changes.

    LA and NYC do have flavor, but Austin, aside from the above mentioned semi-perks, is just bland.

    Weather you want to live in Austin really just depends on your personality. Would you like to just live without a whole lot of excitement and options, but in very family friendly place, with some nice perks, like mentioned above?, then cool, Austin is your place.

    Do you want to have a lot of flavor in your city and tons of energy, options, and excitement, then go to LA or NYC.

    Austin is a good place to be mellow, low energy, and pretty happy in nice weather and clean surroundings, with only a few options and things to do for fun.

    LA and NYC are good places to dwell in excitement, flavor, and high energy.

    LA, and especially NYC are better for meeting people that are into what you are into, because there are bigger groups of people and more energy being put into those things. Also, LA and NYC are more diverse, and have a better racial mix. In Austin, there are too many white people, so it lacks the energy that arises from cultural diffusion.

    Austin is in it’s own little “artificial” world, it lacks that flavor that is apparent in large east coast or west coast cities, and is more homogenous, white, mellow, and nice.

    Go to Austin if you want to chill, go to LA and NYC if you want to have a more real experience.

    Also, since so many people have bought the Austin argument, traffic is bad, and also the air is not that clean, but again Austin is not bad at all, the thing is that it just is not as great as it is being touted.

  30. Bob said

    Ray, in New York you gotta be real in order to make it. Focus, priorities, and drive need to be considered on a daily basis. It ain’t easy like Austin but at times rewarding.

  31. Jimmy said

    Austin is just so boring. Despite all the exciting stuff it has on paper, it’s just a dull town. Despite “everything being bigger in Texas”, Austin is small, cramped, has tiny hills that people claim are mountains. The population continues to grow, but the incompetent people running the place didn’t/won’t look ahead and build infrastructure to support it. It’s like they just hope people will go away. The Hill Country is kind of a metaphor for the entire place. It’s a nice area, but they’re just tiny hills–there are so much more beautiful places in the Western half of the US (the mountain states, the Pacific Coast, the giant Redwoods, the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges in the northwest, etc. Food trucks get old. F1 is once a year. The bars are flooded with dumb pseudo-intellectual college students who think they’re at Harvard but act like they’re at LSU.

    Austin gets compared to Seattle a lot, but Seattle is so much better. Austin has no real culture of its own; it just tries to imitate all these other places. It has no identity and it’s searching desperately for one. And it’s 10-20 years behind Seattle in terms of roads, public transportation, social services in general. People don’t take pride in their jobs (every repair man, service person, etc, I’ve dealt with, acts more like someone from New Orleans; people who put work ethic and pride in their work last on their list of priorities). In Seattle, everyone from bottom to top (bus drivers, janitors, etc) take pride in their work and themselves. Taxes are spent on the people; software billionaires give back in tremendous amounts to the community. Light rail, subway, street cars, monorail, and metered onramps that eliminate standstill traffic exist and are used by all classes of people. It has so much unique culture that it was invaded by MTV for 5-10 years.

    I thought Austin would have Seattle’s positive attributes, but that the people would be nicer. Not true. Austinites are cold, cliquey, introverted, mostly stoned out on pot, and boring (aside from the aforementioned college students, which are too busy vomiting and acting stupid downtown, drunk out of their minds). And with no public transportation that actually works, most people who drink also end up driving, so there are a tremendous amount of DUIs and drinking-related driving deaths. So this place just sucks. It’s a college town, trying to be a city; failing at the latter, maybe failing at both now.

  32. The Mang said

    AND THE HATERS ABOUND! Hey Jimmy, I think people are acting “cold” and “cliquey” around you because you say things like “stoned out on pot.”

    If you really think Austin is boring, you’re boring. It’s difficult to experience a city’s true culture from your garage attic. Get out there. Start mixing it up with people. Stop pre-judging all of our citizens as stoned, drunk, pseudo-intellectuals and bitching about the public transportation, and you just might find yourself having a good time at the MILLIONS of events we throw.

    People don’t like tools, Jimmy. Stop being a tool.

    • Jimmy said

      Actually I’ve been to pretty much everywhere in Austin over the years; all the hot spots, all the hidden spots (via friends who finished college there). But live there, hell no. During college years we’d go do college age stuff. Again, that’s all the city’s good for. Otherwise it’s a bunch of stoners and stiffs. There is life after college, people, but it doesn’t exist in Austin.

      Despite being the “live music capital of the world” there’s only country and americana music, and cover bands. Hollywood rarely films here anymore; they shoot most of their big-budget films in New Orleans now. “Mediocre” simply hits it on the spot. It’s just a mediocre town, full of mediocre people, like “The Mang”, a mediocre dudebro type, calling out haters while hating. Another good metaphor for the city.

      Austin’s a place to party/football in college. Afterwards people just smoke pot, are lazy, go to the park when it’s not flooded with particularly annoying hipsters. Or you’ve got dated tech businesses like Dell. Dell is another great metaphor for Austin (they haven’t been relevant since the early 90s). The ratio of selfies and instagrams in Austin outnumbers all other cool cities by an exponential factor. You should be ashamed of yourself. Produce something! Stop trying to be like other cities and focus on doing your own thing well; make some progress.

      On the scale of world cities (alpha, beta, omega, etc), Austin rates “high school loser that can’t move on with its life”. Sorry if the truth hurts, but it is what it is.

      At one time, Austin might have been a nice place to own a second home (in the 90s), but now it’s flooded to hell with traffic and nobody does anything of significance. Ooh, we got Google Fiber, we’re “innovators”! Austin hasn’t “innovated” anything, except the movie “Slackers”. This one’s a simile; not a metaphor.

      • The Mang said

        What an amazing analysis from someone who doesn’t live here! Glad you didn’t stick around, bud. I’m sorry that my bitter response to your hate-filled tirade fuled your desire to make metaphors. Trust me, you have no talent for it.

        I’m also sorry for anyone who has to listen to you bitch all day. If you can pour this much cynicism into a blog comment, I can only imagine the vile shit that comes out of your mouth. You, sir, could actually use some pot.

        It must have really sucked for you to not be able to see A-list celebrities and movie sets on your jaunts through Austin’s “hot spots.” That must be what LA is “good for.” How many movies are shot in the metropolitan area seems like a really awesome indicator for how mediocre that city is. Also, great research on the volume of instagrams and selfies taken here, that must have been really tough to track down.

        Let’s move on though. Since you’re so knowledgeable about the Austin music scene here are just a few of the bands that came out of austin, are successful, and have nothing to do with Americana/Country. I can promise you there are waaaaay more where these came from.

        Grupo Fantasmo – Latin Jazz/Funk
        White Denim – Acid/Garage Rock
        Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears – Rock/Funk
        Gary Clarke Jr- Blues Rock

        And here are some innovative tech companies that have nothing to do with Dell. A larger list is here: http://www.atxup.com/

        Trilogy Software
        National Instruments

        I guess it also doesn’t matter to you that SXSW interactive is now the largest interactive conference in nation and the event company just added Eco, Education and Venture labs conferences as well. But, please, continue on the subject of us never “producing something.”

        Here’s the problem, Jimmy: you have no fucking clue what you’re talking about. You came here a few times, acted like an entitled dick, made a snap judgment and now you’re sticking with it.

        Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not saying you should come back. You wouldn’t like it here. This is a city of dynamic people who seek out unique experiences and are willing to let new information change their minds. They generally don’t mix well cynical dicks like you, Jimmy.

        You know where there isn’t “hell traffic?” Tibet, Jimmy. Go live there.

  33. Jimmy said

    SXSW = cheap Silicon Valley knockoff attempt. The companies you listed suuuuck. HomeAway has increased its fees tremendously recently, you pay them almost as much as the rental. National Instruments? Crappy Windows software. Give me a break. Everything you said just supports this entire post’s point. Austin = mediocore. The Mangina/haterdude… mmm… less than mediocre. Have fun doing nothing in Austin.

  34. The Mang said

    Silicon Valley is a place with tech companies. SXSW is a conference. The latter cannot be a knockoff of the former since they are entirely different things. Everything you type is mindless. I’m out. I can’t believe I wasted time on this.

    I’m gonna go DO this: http://www.austinchronicle.com/paper-cuts/

    Try to not dropkick a small dog tonight, Jimmy.

  35. Jimmy said

    Silicon Valley was innovating long before Austin was filming Slackers, one of its only films.

    As for dogs, that’s actually about the only thing Austin is good at; it’s one of the most dog-friendly cities in the country. Unfortunately many of the owners (like The Mangina) are so unintelligent that they don’t take the months it takes to train their dogs, nor do they pick up after their dogs. But, that’s mediocre for you.

    • Johnny said

      Seriously, there has be a team of PR reps that are paid by real estate developers to get on the boards and try to “sell” Austin. That is why you see all these internet media releases about Austin and postings in forums touting its “greatness”.

      When you check out Austin yourself in person, you realize that you had been mislead. Austin actually sucks badly, I would say Austin is on par with Cincinnati yet maybe worse.

      The “Spirit” in Austin? That’s a laugh. What is it? A bunch of crowded up drunks down on 6th listening to rotten music? Truth of told, that is all there is in Austin. Nothing else, except of course, the real estate owners who pocketed your cash, oh, wait they don’t actually live in Austin.

      Austin is a “product”. It is truly the first time I have seen a city purposely “advertised” like a product with car-salesman type exaggerations.

      Austin is just like every other dull and boring city, except the temperature is 80-100 for 8 months a year.

      It has the smallest little things that are exaggerated to the max: 6th street, live music, hill country, and sxsw. That’s it. All those things suck in reality.

      There is absolutely nothing to do in Austin at all. No nothing. Seriously. Ask on the internet very directly about what there really is to do in Austin and you will get bullshit answers like: “oh, the Spirit in Austin”. What is that? It is complete bullshit. It is a way not to answer the question with concrete points, but rather to try to create some mystique about Austin in an attempt at convincing people to relocate into the new condos.

      • Jimmy said

        So true. Very well said. It’s like people saw the smallest things starting in Austin, and tried to elevate it into some huge “thing”. It’s crap; the infrastructure is crap, the companies are managed like crap, the only thing to do is centered around a tiny downtown area filled with drunk puking college students. The only “escape” is the “hill country” which is basically flat land with nothing on it. And it’s hot as fuck even deep into winter. People are lazy, super cliquey, and in this really high school mindset. They overuse social media to over publicize their few rinky dink festivals.

        Austin is just a crappy dirt bowl of a town in the middle of Texas. It’s not coastal; it’s just regular old, middle America, where people were so lazy in the 90s that they made a funny film about it. That’s all Austin has done.

        It really did it for me when I saw this recent AT&T add with some redneck country singer talking about how “innovation really ‘thrives’ what Austin is!”. I guess Austin succeeding in anything is kind of like a retard succeeding in something; you’re still a retard regardless. Austin is definitely a retard. Not a city worth moving to.

        The people in Austin SUUUUUCK, as does the weather, and there’s nothing to do. Who the hell decided this was a good place to build a real estate market around??? I guess they figured Dallas and Houston were full so they’d make an experiment out of Austin. But god, it is the most overpriced city in the country, by far. You pay San Francisco prices to live in Austin, and it’s a DIRT HOLE in the middle of the road in central Texas! Fucking hell. I’m glad I took a big chunk of their money and got the hell out, back to the real world. Austin will slowly kill you with its mediocrity.

        • Johnny said

          Relative to the pump-up sales pitches about Austin plastered all over the internet, Austin is totally not what these pitches are saying.

          Austin is actually way different than those depictions.

          Those pitches mention the things above, because they think that is what people want, but those things actually suck.

          The actual possibly good things about Austin are not really mentioned. The possibly good things(depending on your taste):

          Hot sun

          Hot at 100+ degrees, except a for a very abrupt 2 months of extreme cold weather, for some strange reason in Austin, the cold feels so much colder than it really is.

          Very, very mellow, with the very, very highest level of the inhabitants not paying attention to their clothing demeanor.

          A limited set of distractions and things to do: this makes it relaxing and easy, because there aren’t many alternatives, there’s just not much to decide, you can just do whatever, sleep more, or work on startups.

          So, pretty much one will simply go to the coffee shops or other bohemian flavored shops to work on startups, within a pretty clean, very large town.

          Though, in the back of your mind, you have the slight idea that you might go down to the blatant shitty-ness that is 6th street, because there is really nothing else.

          Actually, Austin is an extremely great place if you are a slacker, and just want to be comfortable, and don’t mind boredom.

          Well, that’s pretty much Austin in a nutshell.

          • Jimmy said

            I pretty much agree with Johnny and the last few posts. Centering on the mediocrity and nothing to do, etc. To be honest the place just made me completely depressed. It has some of the problems of New Orleans, without as many of the upsides. In New Orleans, the entire city was a party. Here, the entire city is flat, mellow, doesn’t care about anything. It’s no place to move on in life. At points I’ve felt like I was dying here, things were so slow, repair people and landlords (even highly paid ones) so incompetent and taking such little care in their jobs. And yes, in the back of your mind, is 6th street, from some time I visited years ago, but a place I’d never go now. This place is still a college town. If you’re still wanting to do fun things and you’re done with college, Austin isn’t the place; it’s dead, soulless. Even Seattle with its grey seemed to achieve something truly stellar when you made enough friends, and it was a great town for dating. Austin tore my relationship apart. She hated the place so much she left. I just kept working, making money. But then I realized, there’s never been an IPO out of Austin (recently), and probably won’t be for a while; even the companies are run by general managers who can’t read/write code; the investors are non-technical, for the most part, as well. It’s slackerville. I was never a slacker. So this place goes against my natural inclination as a hard worker and interested-in-life person. Austin advertised itself as something it isn’t. I have several friends who migrated here at one point or another who were high school friends; one lives so far out that we’re too slacker to go visit him, the other lives a mile or two away from me but we’re too slackerish to bother to visit with each other. Yet the guy goes out with his boring wife and does austin’s plethora of “festivals” and doesn’t invite any old friends. This place is really screwed up. Stuff like this would never happen in LA/NYC/SF.

          • Jimmy said

            Oh, I might add, the traffic has gotten so bad in Austin, with so many new people moving in every year, and whole giant housing developments, it’s EXPENSIVE to live here now, and you constantly have to fight heavy traffic. It’s like nobody wants to do anything because the first thought is (dammmnnnnn the traffic is gonna suuuuuckkk).

          • Johnny said

            Austin is definitely changing, growing, getting bigger, and traffic volume growing fast. Without changes in road infrastructure, growth could become limited. It seems that there are some changes coming though, like adding another level to I35.

            It seems that given transit improvements, Austin will definitely continue to grow, maybe even beyond the sizes of DFW and Houston, because it appears to be the most liberal and Democratic place in Texas.

            Austin is a high priced, clean, calm, laid back and mellow town, heavily influenced by UT. College kids study, party, and are slackers too, and are drawn to kitchy things, they don’t usually entertain much else, that could be why Austin has a kitchy, bohemian flavor to it, and doesnt have much of anything outside of the realm of what a college student would want.

            Austin is definitely not a bulwark of any one particular culture, yet because of the draconian laws of Texas, the inhabitants are still molded to be conformist to a substantial degree, and so are stuck on the same crappy music, same crappy clothes, and alcohol. Pot laws are draconian in Texas. Austin sucks to the degree that Texas is Republican.

            News flash – Whiteys are about 85% of the demographic within about a 6 mile radius of the center of Austin. The mexican browns, the ones that nicely dominate the welfare roles, are 85% of the demographic outside of that radius. Austin may look like Miami soon. To protect profits, the real estate investors are advertising to bring in more rich racists. Whatever Austin was or used to be, ain’t gonna be the case no more.

            Major corporations don’t even have headquarters in Austin, they have offices/sweatshops in Austin the same way they do in Hyderabad. They pick a place that on paper could be adjusted to appear as an attractive destination for relocation, usually near a very large University, to maintain a hiring pool of lowly paid workers.

          • Johnny said

            Let me add that as soon as the population is predominantly a certain race, there is no way to stop it an eventual overrun. Austin can’t hold back the flood of mexicans, and to a lesser extent blacks, that are at the seams of Austin, ready to burst in.

            This is because the smart businessmen will open businesses that cater to groups that offer the highest demand, therefore you will see bars and shops opening right in the heart of Austin that cater to mexicans. Once that happens, you will see mexicans in town, driving slow, walking slowly down the streets, and taking a very long time to get through the checkout lines, because they don’t have anywhere else they need to be. When that happens, whitey will leave in droves.

  36. The Empty Mirror said

    I liked your essay. I relocated from Austin to Portland several years ago and enjoy comparing the two towns (and they ARE “towns,” not “cities”).

    Portland has similar identity/immaturity issues. Here is where a lot of people migrate to be mediocre without judgment. Everybody has a band. Everybody’s writing a book. Many people cobble together several part time jobs to make ends meet. The music scene is hit or miss, mostly miss. The art scene thinks more highly of itself than it should.

    But Portland has a foreboding mountain overlooking it, seven months of rain and fog, and a suicide rate that rivals Las Vegas’, so its residents are frequently reminded not to look a gift horse in the mouth by pretending this is nirvana.

    Austin, or at least the Austin I lived in and loved for so many years, is great for attending twelve-step meetings, sunbathing topless, and accessing affordable yoga. It’s a great place to befriend musicians with a good bit of talent (just don’t think dropping their names elsewhere, including Dallas, will get you anywhere– no one knows them and probably never will).

    Austin is great if you drive a convertible and aren’t prone to skin cancer.

    It’s a wonderful place to be a middle-aged underachieving writer/artist because there are so many like-minded souls.

    Friends abound in Austin. Lots of circles of community form there because the collective psyche is based on magical thinking.

    Not quite so in Portland. In Portland, you keep your head down and focus on one or a few things and try really hard to finally make something of yourself that will pay the bills. And I like it this way because it feels slightly more grown-up.

    I miss Austin, though. Mostly the people.

  37. Didn’t know you had written this Michael. Someone just forwarded it to me. I’ve been a fan of yours, and now even more so. Finally someone willing to be honest. I moved here 2 years ago and had to start a blog just to vent, and hopefully journal my way back to being a happy person, living in Austin. Ugh, it’s a tough road, but we will see what happens. You might enjoy this – I’m sure The Mang will have a field day with it, but here goes:

  38. Jimmy said

    @Jonny: So true! The big companies are all HQ’d somewhere else and have an “austin branch”, it seems like.

    Austin’s not ready for primetime, though certain people think it is, for some reason. Half the streets are missing street signs, the roads are so poorly designed, etc.

    Did you guys know the guy who designed I-35 actually killed himself? I don’t know if it was because I-35 was such a failure or because Austin sucked the life out of him, or what, but that’s the word.

    Austin is referred to as the “Velvet Coffin” by musicians, because you can die here comfortably but never really amount to anything. Sounds about right. Where I came from they taught ambition; most people here just don’t seem to have a lot of it for the most part. I’m not sure it can even sustain its own tech boom; there are an awful lot of tech companies “doing it wrong” here. But it’s comfortable and lazy. Maybe a good place to retire. Not to get sucked into during mid-life though.

  39. Jennifer B said

    OMG – totally nailed it!!!

  40. Stephen austin said

    i’m so glad that Jimmy left Austin. He had such a boring, common, whitey name. With no real appeal or draw. Austin became very bored with him after a few months.

    • jimmy said

      @Stephanie Austin why, so you can have all the mediocrity to yourself?

      Austin’s real estate bubble is bursting, its tech bubble is bursting, and is now officially over-saturated.

      At this point, it as nothing to do with the bland and immature culture of Austin, and the poor city design and urban planning. It’s that the city is going bust; too many masses in, massively over-inflated housing and job markets, and now all the tech companies are, one-by-one, beginning to pull their office/branches out of Austin, and the best engineers and smartest people are being plucked right out and placed into San Francisco, Seattle, NYC.

      The top venture capitalist in the city has echoed these exact same sentiments; Austin’s late boom has ended before it even really got off to much of a start.

      Everyone who’s got talent is moving out of Austin; most already have; and looking back on it, when there were big groups of talent for a minute there, they all ended up leaving too.

      Austin’s no place to live; as expensive as SF, NYC, or London, yet sprawling and absolutely nothing novel to show your guests when they come into town, except “downtown” full of the drunk college students, and the BATS ON A BRIDGE. Austin has like 2 or 3 things worth seeing, and a couple of overgrown dumb festivals a year. It’s like the bible, a record that randomly got too popular and was left on repeat, and everyone forgot to turn it off, but it actually sucked. Austin’s just a little dirt bowl full of wannabe intellectual types who claim to be libertarian but are as Republican as it gets, and who all still believe TX ca exist as its own country.

      Man, people there are just UGLY, too. Like Dollywood/Pigeon Forge looking.

      In all seriousness, get out now while you can; it’s going to be really bad there soon economically (and not in the funny way; more like Hurricane Katrina).

      Austin: End of Line.

  41. rich said

    It’s not that Austin sucks; it’s just that Austin completely fails to live up to its reputation. It has two reputations, as best I can tell, as “The Live Music Capital of the World” and ‘The Most Progressive City in Texas.”

    Claim 1 is fine. I have no idea if it is better than, say, New Orleans or Havana or any other such place, but the music here is plentiful and good. Along with the bats and Barton Springs and some other such things, there are some really positive good things about this place.

    Claim 2 is absurd. I don’t know about the other cities in Texas, but Austin is certainly not progressive. Austin certainly claims to be progressive. You hear it all the time: It’s a foodie city now. It’s eco-friendly. It’s a city that takes care of its poor. It’s racially diverse. (Actually, no one even pretends that last one.) Austin is horrible in almost every livability metric. Austin is essentially a giant suburb once you get more than 1 block outside of downtown. Think about it: It’s almost completely single family houses in neighborhoods that don’t have sidewalks or neighborhood businesses. The businesses are all on major roads. This ‘eco-friendly’ town essentially requires you to have a car just to get groceries unless you live directly above the store. Further, even if you lived in reasonable walking distance, there are few sidewalks to use to walk there. The biking community fights for dedicated biking lanes, but Austin is the only major city I’ve seen anywhere that has yet to provide dedicated walking lanes for its pedestrians.

    Austin is perhaps the most segregated city I’ve ever been in. As a middle class white guy, I can say that I can go weeks in Austin without seeing anything other than other middle class white folk, unless they are students at UT.

    Austin is a ‘foodie’ town by virtue of the fact that you can now get food from a truck. A friend of mine from India moved to a new US city and was confused when she couldn’t find any food trucks. I have to explain to her that in other US cities, people go inside restaurants to eat. Austinites are apparently the only people in the world who prefer eating in parking lots to eating inside a restaurant. The thing is that I like food trucks just fine. They do not however make your city a foodie destination. Further, most progressive Austinites are proud that their city has embraced the ‘local, seasonal, organic’ thing. Have they ever even looked? Many progressive restaurants advertise ‘seasonal produce, when available.’ That’s like me claiming that my broken watch is right if you ask at the right time. Further, Whole Foods Market, supposedly the world leader in organic foods, did not have a single organic fruit for sale from within the United States during the month of April. It’s not like I was looking for local strawberries in downtown Detroit in December, people. Further, organic pork and beef cannot be found in Austin. When I asked the guys at WF if they had any animals that were higher on their ‘Animal Welfare Rating’ than a 1, they were utterly confused. After asking several times and calling in the manager, they finally said,’Oh, I thought you were f&*^king with me.’ Apparently, I’m the first person to ask? Also, I cannot count the number of times I’ve gone to these ‘seasonal’ restaurants and been offered something like peach cobbler in January or apple pie in July or tomatoes on pretty much everything throughout the year. Ask them where they got them: A local distributor. Apparently, that makes them local.

    So, basically, this city sucks because it is a giant suburb with mediocre food being served out of trucks. You are forced to drive everywhere by a horrible system of non-sidewalks and poor zoning. (What I wouldn’t do for a nice neighborhood bar or grocery store…) If you live more than a mile or two from downtown, you even need to drive downtown to freaking RUN. The food is terrible, especially if you try to buy it from the store and cook it yourself; it will be half the meal it could’ve been. (Actually, I’ve have good luck with the chicken here. So, it’s not all bad.)

    I figure people like all of this though. They claim to hate suburbia, and they technically live within Austin City Limits, so they can claim to not be suburbanites. They live in a city with no past, no history, no charm, but also no limits. They still get to drive everywhere, which they like, but they don’t have to feel like suburbanites because they technically live in a city. They can tear down or build whatever they want because there’s no history.

    I’m glad people like it. I’ll be bailing whenever I get the chance.

    • rich said

      Oh, I forgot about the water situation. Not progressive. It’s sad to me that this city is freaking doomed because of the way they manage water. I don’t much like it here, but a lot of people do. None of them care enough to fight for a little conservation though.

      I feel bad for those of you who do like it here. There is no real future for this place without water, and the supply is not going to magically increase. It’s insane that no one conserves water here. Insane.

  42. Adam said

    Whoever told you Austin wasn’t a place where people like to be easy going and relaxed fooled you. Yes, this isn’t LA or New York where people are obsessed with their careers and bring a premiere city. You’re like Sherlock Holmes in that regard. If you’re looking for a laid back city to enjoy life in, come to Austin. If you’re looking to work your ass off and live in a premiere world class city and you come to Austin, well, there’s probably room for you somewhere, but I’m not gonna go out of my way for you.

  43. Burnt said

    I’ve lived her in Austin for 39 years. Moved here in 1976. Before here, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Michigan, Arizona & Germany. And traveled through many more states. I find Austin to be extremely boring. Unless you’re an alcoholic. (Sixth street) if you love exploring-don’t move here! Around this city is just one big maze of dead end roads and private property signs. This city is filled with hipster doofuses who will jump on any dumb cause just to get a selfie of themselves to post to Facebook. Although this city has been a boomtown for decades the city council tries to keep it the old small college town it used to be. And to not let it do like Dallas or Houston. So they don’t build the infrastructure needed. But with everyone in the world moving here it’s just not going to be a small town. And so it’s packed and traffic goes nowhere. If I could, I’d move away from here and never look back.

    • Burnt said

      Oh, I forgot a few points. If you enjoy Mexicans. This is the place for you. Schools are 65% Hispanic. I have a red headed daughter. When picking her up from school, Soooo easy to pick out of the sea of brown skin and black hair. Much easier than finding Waldo. And if you enjoy being cut off in traffic- and then flipped off. Again, Austin is the place for you. If you enjoy paying $10 per head in your car to see a nasty dirty lake that used to be free for all to enjoy. Lake Travis. Or “dead body lake” as we here call it. (Because there’s always a bloated corps to be found floating in it. Then by all means come on down! If spray painted bus stops, poles, fences or any other flat surface is your thing. Then you’ll probably love Austin. If your a dog nut and love the sound of four dogs barking in every yard around your house… Then Austin is the place for you! They don’t spend time with them or care for them. But this city loves to have them locked in their backyards. And when they get out and poo in your yard. You are satin himself if you complain to the owner. In summation. This city sucks!!!!

      • I am so glad that there are atleast a few long term Austinites that see Austin the same way so many relative new comers do. I have been here for 7 years and it is definitely the most boring place I have ever lived. I grew up in Mississippi, so that is really saying something. Everything you say is TRUE. Moved here for an opportunity and affordability (it was then compared to where I was living), but now wishing I would have chosen the other city that was an option. Also wanted to add to your list: If you love being around people that litter constantly at parks, and by litter I mean dirty diapers and dog crap everwhere at swimming holes, Austin is the place for you. Also, all the sewer lines utilize the natural creeks here. That’s why they smell so bad. People like to blame it on dog owners not picking up after their dogs (which they don’t, and is horrible in its own right), but the truth of the matter is that the city of Austin has layed out the sewer system using the creeks. GROSS! Austin is just a sprawling suburb with a sense of entitlement. The traffic thing though, I have lived places where there are 16 lane interstates that are at a standstill for miles, so I have to say relatively, Austin traffic is not so bad. I think what makes it seem so horrible is that traffic is so bad and there STILL is no where important anyone is really going, nothing to do here, and the fact that the city has made really poor decisions with infrastructure.

        • Billy Inthelowground said

          Please go back to Mississippi. I moved here in 1976. It was then, and remained over the next 20-odd years, the coolest place on Earth. Corcoran never had a clue about this town. He probably would have done better to try his set of skills in Dallas or LA. There are still some really amazing things happening Austin. But guys like you and Corky would never know where to look, and I sure ain’t telling. Happy Trails.

  44. Joan said

    Yay! Maybe people will believe you and stop moving to Austin. Then, I can move home to Austin without spending the rest of my life sitting in traffic on 35.

  45. Charles Boisseau said

    Love this, Michael. I’m tired of Austin’s self-congratulatory mindset. It’s epitomized by The Statesman’s and KUT’s regular features asking people why they came to Austin and love it. They usually say the same things. It’s so cooooool. I’d like to see why people came here and want to leave or have left. We can learn something.

    I disagree that Austin is inexpensive. Come on. It’s the most expensive place in Texas to live and gets more so every day. The property taxes are outrageous.

    Chicago is one of the great cities and I prefer it NYC and LA. Just the 18-mile stretch of beaches and trails and breath-taking views along Lake Michigan are worth the price of admission. And friendly people go a long way to making a place home.

  46. austinislamedouchebagcentral said

    I lived in austin for over 6 years (left years ago, thank GOD)…same ol story tho…thought it would be great…turned out self absorbed liberal fuk douchebags GALORE…I can’t determine if san francisco or austin people have their heads tooo far up their own asses, more…austin is lame, that whole “keep austin weird” so lame, ha…true comment, frat boy frat girl culture, if you didn’t grow up there or go to college there, your out…also, if you move to austin, be prepared to take a cut in pay by 50%…hope you like that ‘weirdness’ now! I have not missed austin one single iota, nor will I ever. period. austin can dry up and shrivel away for all I care.

  47. NS said

    Austin is a place where mediocre people flock to because they don’t have any ambition. Austin is the most un-inspirational and un-motivating location you’ll ever encounter. The amount of clueless people with 0 common sense is insane.

    If you’re looking to move to Austin, seriously, seriously, seriously… Reconsider…

  48. Ted James said

    And who is stopping him from moving to LA or NYC?

  49. Michael said

    The problem with Austin is the people and how petty, passive aggressive and dumb they are. Not to mention the bland non existent landscape.

    FIRST: The people. I have never been around such a bunch of pussies in my life. Take traffic for instance, they will literally try to hen peck at you for everything. If you switch lanes 3 car lengths in front of them, they will speed up (to try and prevent you fro switching lanes) and then wave their hands in the air and shake their head (like you did something wrong.) The people are always paying attention to what everyone else is doing and noticing what you wear, how you walk etc. (Passive aggressiveness is a way of life for the losers in Austin)

    Its like they have no personality of their own so they wait until someone from an actual city moves there in order to steal your personality. Envy is rampant in the town of Austin. People will try to mess with you if they are jealous and you are more successful because you make them look like the lazy losers they are.

    Also most of the people that are like this grew up there and live with their parents (or off parents still) Bunch of Peter Pan losers who didn’t have to grow up, so when you are new there and are successful they hate you.

    SECOND: The Landscape…..if you have ever been anywhere outside of the crappy state of Texas you will know what I mean about Austin being complete shit. Yet people always tout the “hike and bike” trails etc. (Fucking dirt sidewalks. Its basically mass delusion and false pride. They know Austin fucking sucks so that is why they are perpetually angry and always looking for someone to knit pick at. To fill the void of complete suckage.

    People in Austin..get a damn life and stop being a bunch of pussies. No one likes you but idiots who grew up in that cow town. No one can stand you dirty sons of bitches.

  50. jude said

    if we could just get rid of the asshole tech people. they ruined our city for good. now its california only less intelligent and more self-centered. i hope apple blows up some day and all those useless techies go with it. if there is a god….
    Mr. C, my hat off to you for telling it completely like it is. Austin really sucks now.

  51. Jeff said

    Austin is a complete shithole full of bums and shit. The people there always blame people from California, but the reality is that those are the people bringing money to that backwards ass city. Austin was trash way before those Californians showed up.

    People in Austin readily accept panhandlers at every fucking corner of damn near every traffic light. The city is extremely dirty and almost every girl there has blue fucking hair or some other stupid color to try and be different, in reality it just makes them look like every other hoe in Austin. Not to mention I’ve never seen so many loser women with tattoos in my life. I guess its their way of rebelling against mommy and daddy who still support them NOTE: Women with tattoos look like fucking drugged out street hoes.

    Which brings me to another thing, most of the tattooed idiots you see in Austin either live with their parents or are being supported by them in one way or another.

    Most of the females in Austin have kids by the time they are 20 and are all used up and stretched out, not to mention fat, broad shoulders looking like damn refrigerators. They all leave their kids with their parents while they go and get hammered and fuck more guys every weekend. Its a city of 100% failures. If you are single you will likely remain single unless you significantly lower your standards and will accept a hoe with thigh tattoos, full sleeve tattoos, blue/pink hair, ear plugs, septum piercings and likely 2-3 STD’s(Minimum) Glad I left that place, most people who are not complete shit end up leaving as soon as they can. If you are thinking about moving to that shithole city just don’t unless you are ready to be around people who fail at life. So many people have the same sentiment about that place for a reason.

  52. Craig said

    Yes it’s true, Austin does suck and here is part of the reason.

    I was hired by one of the major companies in Austin and I was from out of state. I was hired du to my track record for increasing productivity (bottom line) for the company (which is headquartered in another state). I had received many awards and accolades due to my performance and contributions.

    I accepted the job in Austin (after believing the hype-big mistake). The first week or 2 was normal (because the other people who worked there were kind of feeling me out) they like to call themselves “Austinites” or “native Austinites” (As if it fucking matters where they are from).

    Anyway, I dress very formal for work and professionally. After the first week I was confronted and told “you don’t have to dress like that”. I said “This is how I like to dress” and I thought that was it (little did I know that that was the start of the railroading and a sign of the jealousy/envy that was to come.
    So one month in I increased productivity just as I had previously. I was acknowledged by the company and I immediately saw the green eyes of envy start to appear amongst the dumb “Austinites”. This is when I realized they love being losers and mediocre and feel threatened by anyone better than them. So instead of improving to meet the standards of the bar that had been raised they would rather pull the bar down and be mediocre and stay the same level.

    Long story short, every day I was being called on for anything while co-workers were lazing about. They literally had me under a microscope and noticed everything I did and would point out any slight mistake (meanwhile other workers would get away with messing up entirely).

    One day I came to work and out of nowhere was told “we don’t need you here, clear your desk”. I said ok, then I asked why. They said we don’t need to explain, and I said “but, I’m afraid you do” they replied, your co-workers feel uncomfortable around you. I asked what made them “uncomfortable” and why wasn’t I informed of this before. They had no answer. I called headquarters (in other state) and explained to them. They agreed it was nonsense and told the dumb Austinite manager to apologize to me and rehire me. The dumb Austinite did, but rather than be rehired I asked corporate to rehire me at my old office in the other state. They were more than happy and agreed it was best. I got my old job back with a raise in salary. I later found out that the person who fired me was fired for incompetence shortly after.(HAHA justice served douchebag!)

    I then went back to my old office and was immediately met with handshakes from genuine people welcoming me back. I felt a relief that I wasn’t in the envy office any longer. I was amongst normal people, so I myself could be a normal person again without the weight of envious losers on my ass.

    This goes to highlight the FACT that people in Austin HATE anyone who is better than them (which is almost everyone from other states) and they will attempt to railroad you out of your job in order to keep the same low lying bar they are used to. If you are from out of state you stick out like a sore thumb since you know most likely how to think properly and don’t operate your life based around envy and jealousy.

    This stems from the Austin losers being coddled by mommy their whole life and being told “they are the best” and getting “participation awards” so they are used to being rewarded for mediocrity. I warn ANYONE who is mentally sane and a decent person to stay out of the FUCKING CESSPOOL THATIS AUSTIN. The people there are no good fucking losers with inferiority complexes and will try to bring you down to their level which is the level of a sewer. Anyone better dressed, better looking, smarter threatens them and their little pathetic close-minded world.
    Bottom line Austin sucks, and this is NOT an isolated incident. Had a friend move there for work and almost the same damn thing happened. I swear people in Austin are fucking lowlife losers.

  53. Farrell Katz said

    Best part a out Austin, the I-35 bypass. Worst thing about Austin, the on ramps coming from the city.

  54. Johnathan L said

    I am visiting friends in Austin for the new year and am here now it completely sucks. There is not a damn thing to do, all I see people doing is shopping and eating and drinking (that seems to be THE “thing” to do here.) I Actually found this article while sitting at friends house bored the fuck out of my mind and searching “Austin Sucks” to see if anyone else thought the same, low and behold here it is and the thread goes back since 2012 (Its basically 2018 already…so the fact it sucks has endured and apparently I am not the first and sure as hell not the last person to make that observation.)

    People here seem like they are bored out of their fucking minds, but pretend like its so fun and trendy. I guess they have to pretend, its like a psychological defense mechanism so they don’t go crazy and commit suicide. They seem like the type of morons who have mental breakdowns in the privacy of their homes and then when they go out in public put on fake ass smiles.

    Before you Austin retards say “If you dont like it leave” …I fully intend on leaving and am going to celebrate new year in an actual city with actual things to do, not some dirt heap in the middle of a crap state of texas. I’m out of here by Friday (thank God) and back to normal civilization where people have actual fucking hobbies besides going shopping, drinking and going to fucking restaurants (No wonder you fuckers are so fat and ignorant, all you do is eat)

    Observations while in Austin:
    People in Austin are passive aggressive
    People in Austin are bitter
    Traffic sucks
    People in Austin are generally annoying
    People in Austin are losers with tats everywhere, holes in their fucking ears 3 inches across
    People in Austin have no ambition
    People in Austin live with their parents far beyond what a normal person would
    People in Austin act like pussy ass spoiled brats
    The women in Austin are fat and ugly by regular standards anywhere else
    There are plenty more things, but you get the general idea…AUSTIN SUCKS.

  55. Cristina N said

    @ Jonathan L, its not just because of the new year, Austin sucks full time. I lived there for 5 years and it was literally the biggest waste of my life and the biggest regret of my life. If you want to live around a bunch of fake people who are self absorbed and narcissistic then Austin will be your heaven. I’ve known many people that moved out of there after only living there for a while and they were all glad they got out of that place. Just be glad you only visited and didn’t have to live there with all the idiots.

  56. Kellyanne Conway said

    I left Austin about a year ago after living there on and off since 2006. I went back to visit just after Christmas, hoping I’d love or even like it again—nope, just the opposite. I’m actually starting to wonder if I didn’t waste a decade of my life (and probably ~$100k of my money) trying to carve a niche into a city that never quite ended up being what I expected it to be.

  57. Ritchie said

    Your description of the Round Rock Express, sums up my experience of living in Austin! It’s a perfect metaphor!

  58. wayne said

    Austin sucks a tremendous amount of ass. I cannot stress this enough.

  59. Willie B. Dead said

    This place has no soul. Just a parade of fake liberals embracing stupidity. Music here is dead. Even the old legends are a caricature of their former selves. Greenbelt is full of garbage and cigarette butts, while everyone pretends to be healthy. Honestly, they just removed the convenience of ashtrays. If I see one more brand new designer 4runner, I probably will still feel nauseated. The only thing that makes it a city is the traffic. Google skyscraper blocking the sunset views. Tattoo sleeves of gorillas and “rock and roll” have become the new uniform. One step away from the sneetches looking to remove the stars upon thars. Thrift replaced by vintage handbag hags mocking men as they corral themselves in forced groups of fake lesbians. This place isn’t even worth correct spelling or complete sentences. Painful to see obese clowns posing with Stevies statue, who somehow looks out of place in this municipal “hole in the wall”. Way to go Texass.

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