McDonald’s Thinks “Tamales Are a Thing of the Past,” McBurritos Are Where It’s At

In the U.S., McDonald’s latest ad campaign involves mocking wimps who turn to trendy foods like quinoa, kale, and Greek yogurt when they could be chowing down on a double-decker hamburger from McDonald’s. 

As culture war advertising goes, it’s pretty on point—the overlap between people who are considering getting a Big Mac and people who use kale and Greek yogurt as a base for their smoothies is probably not all that significant. McDonald’s can presumably afford to alienate the quinoa-eaters if it reassures their core market that they can eat their Big Macs with pride rather than shame. The emotions that accompany food are weird, but powerful! 

How Badly Did the Grammys Rob Beyoncé Last Night?

Let’s get this out of the way first: the Grammys, as a system to determine what the best music in a given year might have been, are a joke. Like, at the 29th Annual Grammy Awards in 1987, the Chicago Bears—the football teamnearly stole the award for “Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals” from Prince, who released “Kiss” that same year. Awards shows like the Oscars and the Emmys are generally inadequate when it comes to honoring different kinds of art, and the sheer amount of music recorded in any year, plus the wide diversity in genre, tone, expectations, styles, and tastes, makes true apples-to-apples comparisons impossible.

With all that said, however, it’s tough to swallow the fact that Beck’s Morning Phase pulled off the stunning upset of taking “Album of the Year” honors in a category that featured Beyoncé, whose self-titled album stunned the world when it was secretly released overnight in December 2013. 

What Does It Mean that Some High-Profile Sponsors Have Pulled Out of SXSW?

People have been making predictions about the end of SXSW for a very long time. Back in 2011, technology blog TechCrunch mocked the rush to declare that the conference had tipped past its point of relevance with the headline, “Saying ‘SXSW Is Over’ Is Over.” For SXSW co-founder and managing director Roland Swenson, those predictions go back even further. 

“We’ve had twenty years of people saying that it’s over,” Swenson says. “Every year, in the five weeks leading up to SXSW, we have a meeting where we bring in all the staff—which is now about 200 people—and one of the things that I’ve been doing for the past few years is I put up a projection of a headline from the Austin American-Statesman that says, ‘SXSW: How Big Is Too Big?’ and everybody looks at it like, ‘Oh, okay,” and I tell them, ‘That’s from 1991.’” 

Everybody Is Crowing about Johnny Manziel Checking Himself into Rehab

Capping off a month that saw anonymously-sourced reports snicker about how big a mess he was, Johnny Manziel checked himself into a treatment center last week. 

In some ways, Manziel—whose hard-partying “Johnny F—ing Football” persona combined with his on-field collegiate greatness to turn him into an icon—has seemed to be on a path of self-destruction for a while. But the dominant narrative about Manziel has celebrated him for his excess while he was dominant at Texas A&M, and then lampooned him for it after he went pro, which is a weird sort of pressure to put on a human being. 

Why It Matters That Austin's Black Population is Being Pushed to the Suburbs

Here’s a sobering demographic fact that came to national attention last year: Austin is the only large, fast-growing city whose African-American population is shrinking. Such was the troubling conclusion of a report authored by UT’s Professor Eric Tang and Postdoc Chunhui Ren, which analyzed US Census Bureau data. As The Texas Tribune wrote last year

“It is completely outside the norm,” said Eric Tang, an author of the report, which looked at cities of at least 500,000 residents that experienced a double-digit rate of population growth from 2000 to 2010. While Dr. Tang said researchers expected to find that Austin’s African-American population was not growing at the same rate as the general population, they did not expect to find a decline. None of the other cities examined, Dr. Tang said, showed a drop. 

As Austin’s population grew 20.4 percent from 2000 to 2010, its African-American population declined 5.4 percent. In contrast, the population of African-Americans increased for the Austin metropolitan region.

How Do We Feel about the Galveston Police Officer's Stunt Marriage Proposal?

Hey, Texas! How do we feel about public marriage proposal stunts? Do we kinda hate them? They’re the worst, right? I mean, sometimes somebody talks Tom Cruise into proposing to his girlfriend for him on live TV, and we all go, “Aww, Tom Cruise still possesses some shred of humanity,” and we acknowledge the cuteness of it before going back to our day. But often elaborate stunts stop being sweet (and occasionally start being illegal) the more we think about them. 

'American Sniper' Is Blowing Away Box Office Records

American Sniper was destined to be a hit. The movie has an A-list director, an A-list star, and tells a complex story about a decorated veteran widely regarded as a hero by many Americans. But the extent to which Clint Eastwood’s film about the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (with Bradley Cooper in the title role as the purported most lethal sniper in U.S. military history) would connect with audiences is downright unprecedented.

Films released in January are done so with low expectations. This month, with Oscar-bait films still in theaters, is when distributors typically dump their garbage. If a movie has a relatively strong cast and a director with some cachet—i.e., Michael Mann’s Blackhat, released last weekend—the odds are good that the movie itself is semi-coherent nonsense. The occasional comedy can become a modest hit in January, but if a movie is expected to perform well, it usually gets released before the holidays. 

A Gun Rights Organization Staged a Re-Enactment of the "Charlie Hebdo" Shooting

Regardless of how you feel about their cartoons, no one has argued that the murder of 12 people in the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is anything less than a tragedy. But aside from the debate of whether we should all be proud to declare “Je Suis Charlie” or not, another question has emerged here in Texas: How would the cartoonists and editors at the French magazine have fared if they’d all been armed?

Oil Field Worker in Odessa Looking For Homeless Lady For Indentured Servitude and "Bedroom Fun" on Craigslist

Working in the oil fields can make a fella lonely, we’re sure. It’s long hours, dirty work, and a whole lot of male company. If you’re a straight guy who pulls 18-hour days in the fields, we suspect that finding a lady friend to unwind with at the end of the day is both a high priority and, because of the restrictions on your time, very difficult.

A “mid-20’s” oil worker in Odessa came up with a novel solution to the crisis of loneliness that #DerrickLife brings: Post a Craigslist ad to find a young lady of his fancy to spend time with! 

Austin-Based Restaurant PR Firm “Strange Fruit PR” to Change Name After Twitter Finds Out They Exist

The fact that Austin is a liberal island of blue amidst a sea of red that—this past November—seemed to get even redder at the ballot box is well-remarked upon. That liberal, progressive Austin also has some very serious issues to deal with when it comes to race (the city is the only growing American city whose black population is declining) gets remarked upon less often.

So a number of Twitter users over the weekend were surprised to learn that liberal, progressive Austin has also been home to a major PR firm whose name is a reference to Abel Meeropol’s poem “Strange Fruit,” which is about lynching in the South, and which was made famous as a song by Billie Holiday. The firm was launched in 2012 by Mary Mickel and Ali Slutsky (neither of whom is African-American), and its name has been a source of controversy in the past.

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