Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Junket Joys

Looming Longhorn
Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
I'm pretty close to completing my first ever press junket, after seven years as a reporter (I'm not counting free lunches here, though even those are pretty rare). And it's pitiful to report that getting wined and dined has left me rather well-disposed towards Texas. It becomes clearer that while Austin is a much more liberal city than, say, Houston, it's much more representative of the state than the eastern oil mecca.

While Houston, with its bland glass skyscrapers, hodge-podge of styles, easy oil money, and Southern outlook, is much more Republican, I'm prepared to admit that Texas is about a lot more than that. Whether I'd agree with one politician I interviewed, that the good politicians of the state are navigating a middle path between left and right wing crazies, is another matter. Read the platform of the Texas Republican Party here, and tell me how you think Texas defines crazy these days.

What's more interesting is that Texas really doesn't see its state as a precious resource to be preserved at all cost. There's a feeling that it still has plenty of room, plenty of water (at least around the centre), and plenty of opportunities for migrants. It was a rather strange experience to sit through a few days of wonky transport discussions and not hear the word "sustainable" once (sorta refreshing, too, I won't deny it).

Texas has had a fair bit of luck in attracting new businesses, and souls inclined to a low taxation and low regulation environment. The level of condescension towards the older states in the northeast is impressive, although you can't help but think that either a reckoning is due eventually, or that the state is feigning blissful ignorance of the consequences of its expansion.

Either way, following its progress from the badlands to young professionals' refuge of choice is going to be fascinating.

At bottom is a picture from a show I caught last night. A veeery trad blues show, all lengthy guitar and harmonica solos and husky-voiced vocalists. Pretty good way to pass the time on a Tuesday night on 6th street, since this seemed to be the only night of late that there was nothing on city wide. I'd missed Cannibal Corpse by a good five days, for instance.

Blues Exposition


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