Friday, February 9, 2007

Keep the University of Texas weird

It's funny how times change. I just had lunch over by the University of Texas campus, which resulted in a discussion about how normal and clean cut all the students look. I grew up in Austin, where we loved to go down to the Drag to gawk at the freaks. Gee, I miss them.

Which brings us to Red (if you think that's him in the photo, you don't know Austin weird), a bespeckled librarian at Austin Community College who is so thin that bony isn't a sufficient description. Red is the guy who created the buzzword around these parts: Keep Austin Weird. He made up some basic bumperstickers and gave them away for free around ACC and elsewhere. Seems he wanted to save the hippie/punk counterculture that allows people to get away with calling Austin "the music capital of the world."

Then some capitalist dillweed stole the idea and started making his own bumperstickers and t-shirts, only using a chic font that made it all so edgy. Red didn't much care, because he figured it wasn't in the spirit of the thing to do so. Then the dillweed tried to copyright the phrase and the New York Times wrote an article about it.

Now in Austin you can't turn around without someone spouting about the Keep Austin Weird Movement. It's on the radio, in the newspaper's letters to the editors. Everyone has heard it, even though few of them know about Red.

Here's what he'd tell U.T. students: Quit walking around like sheep. Break out of the mold. Or as they say hereabouts, Keep It Weird.

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