Why Texas Is The Worst Place To Live

By Comments

See that headline up there? We’re pretty sure that you clicked on this piece out of a sense of outrage. See folks, we can do what VICE, the snarktacular international media outlet,  does, too. 

Last week, VICE published a piece with the title, “Reasons Why Austin Is The Worst Place Ever” by Luke Winkie (disclosure: Luke is a friend of mine), which set the Internet ablaze in various parts of Central Texas. It was shared over 4,000 times on Facebook, with another 36,000 “likes,” and a thousand tweets; it inspired over 1,500 comments on the VICE page, not to mention the endless discussion on other Austin media outlets—all of which further drove thousands of visitors to share content on the Austin Chronicle and Culturemap Austin. 

In short, being in the “does Austin suck or not” business the past few days has been good for everybody, so you can’t really blame us for wanting to get a piece of that sweet, sweet action. And if you feel manipulated by our headline up there, well, just be glad that we didn’t actually force ourselves to make the argument that the title promises—because that’s serious manipulation.

Everyone who got outraged reading VICE’s reasons why Austin sucks (which covered a predictable list of grievances: yuppies, hipsters, weather, traffic, etc) got took for a pretty serious ride. But not only is the list deliberately silly (the third item is: “Nobody has a clue what his or her job is”), it’s also not even unique to Austin: VICE published “Reasons Why San Francisco Is The Worst Place Ever” in April, and “Reasons Why Washington DC Is The Worst Place Ever” earlier this month. The format is the same in all three cases—an opening paragraph designed to outrage locals, a list of common complaints, and a bunch of jokes built around those complaints. The visible traffic stats on all three stories make it clear that this is a formula that works. 

One could make the same argument about literally anywhere—no place is perfect, and if you take a half-dozen of the most common complaints, hand them off to someone who can speak snark like a second language, and give it a title that triggers defensiveness—boom, instant outrage! You can play at home: “Reasons Why Houston Is The Worst Place Ever” would probably include traffic, humidity, smelly water, the Astros, etc. San Antonio? Maybe something about the Riverwalk, some Charles Barkley jokes, that “Keep San Antonio Lame” sticker, and a handful of other cheap shots. Dallas? Sprawl, silicone, hipsters in Oak Cliff, Jerry Jones. It’s easy, and if you can’t find enough legitimate complaints, you can take something genuinely nice—as Winkie did when he listed Barton Springs—and make a counterintuitive argument for why it’s actually secretly awful. “Reasons Why Hawaii Is The Worst Place Ever”? Probably that it’s expensive, there are surfers everywhere, sand gets into everything, and the sound of the ocean gets soooo annoying after a few minutes. Heaven? All those buzzing angels, man, and doesn’t anybody play anything besides the harp? 

All of which is to say: Of course Austin is not the worst place ever, and all of the strident defenses penned about why Austin is great miss the point. Everybody who shared the link with outrage in their hearts, meanwhile, only gave the people who published the post exactly what they wanted. You can read VICE or you can hate-read VICE, and it all looks the same to advertisers.

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  • StellaTex

    Fuck that guy, though, seriously.

  • Chavo

    It does suck! Please I beg you, do not move here. It sucks that bad!

  • $19587871

    There’s only one thing wrong with Texas: Texans.

    • GooeyGomer

      Wow, that’s pure genius. How long did it take your teeny-weeny brain to come up that truly “unique” and insightful comment?

      • $19587871

        Far less time than it took you to prove it.

        • stormkite pls

          What’s wrong with us?

          • Unproud texan

            Texans are too dumb to even begin to understand how disgusting every aspect of this pathetic state is. That’s what is so funny about this hell hole of a state. Weather, landscapes and people are all equally sickening.

          • guest

            You’re obese, no healthcare, no education, corrupt politics who only care about the 1%, your war on women. Shall I continue?

    • [email protected]

      Just because you live in Austin, or somewhere else where you are surrounded by folks who do not share your proclivities doesn’t mean Texas or Texans suck. I felt the same way about NVA and DC when I lived there, but just because I was surrounded by infantile Bush-haters who smoked weed in their forties didn’t mean NVA or DC sucked; it just meant I needed to move. Like you.

      • $19587871

        I lived all over the state for over half a century. Fifth generation native. Like I said, the only thing wrong with Texas is the Texans. I’ve watched the state go from a good place to live with a proud heritage to a vicious insane asylum peopled in large measure by arrogant abusive sociopaths with no redeeming qualities except absolute predictability. I keep hoping you morons will try again to secede; this time I think the rest of the country will let you go off and destroy yourselves. It’ll take maybe a year before you kill each other off and then the US can flip a coin with Mexico and see who has to try to rehabilitate whatever disaster is left.

        • [email protected]

          A quite ironic post. Absolute predictability is a great description for someone spewing that Kool Aid. May I use that for folks like you?

          • $19587871

            Feel free. About the time RayGun got elected I realized that expecting Texans (or any form of “conservative” for that matter) to learn or think was a total waste of time, and expecting them to say anything coherent or useful was an equally total waste of energy. Feel free to say whatever you like. The “voices in the wind” don’t have to make sense.

          • Rocketman

            God – leave Texas already!

          • $19587871

            That’s the great thing about Texans… just knowing that there are people who see you lunatics for what you are is enough to make you want to scream and whine and throw people out.

            It’s almost enough to make me want to move back, just so you’d know that somewhere in Texas there’s someone who knows what’s going on. I’m betting it’d ruin your life for the next thirty years, just because somewhere in the state there’s a person who really knows you.

          • wessexmom

            If you don’t live here now then you don’t have insight into the thoughts and behaviors of actual living breathing Texans. You are just buying into the simplistic broad brushed stereotypes promulgated by the cable news media.

          • Alla Texas sucks,notjustaustin

            Oh, I do live here, and this place sucks!

          • A_tired_Texan

            Dude ive been Texas my entire life and im watching it get worse and worse by the year. I’m heading for the Rockies once i get my bachelor’s. Im just taking advantage of the cheap education and then im packing up and selling my land.

          • MadisonJ

            That “conservative” comment explains it all. Whether you’re a fifth generation Texan, which I doubt, or not… the only arrogant abusive sociopaths I’ve noticed in Texas are the hoards of transplant liberal wannabe intellectuals who tend to fail in that department as well.
            Just leave.
            You would fit much better in NY City

          • Asher B. Garber

            We all know George W. Bush is a true Texan and not one of those Northern Big City slickers who came down here to swindle the good, God fearing, salt of the Earth folk like you, Mad J.

            Yippers.

          • wessexmom

            FYI: RayGun was from California. In fact, Californians liked him so much that they elected him to be governor of their state. And America’s most liberal post war prez was LBJ, a native Texan. Ignorant stereotyping will only get you so far.

          • 20yr texan

            The entire state of texas is disgusting. I am still trying to figure out what is worse, the people or the flat chigger infested landscapes. Funny how tx always seems to top the list for the worst and is always at the bottom of every list for what makes a place desireable to live in. The false bravado and arrogance of texans is the source of mockery whenever i travel for biz and mention that i live in tx. Texas is always spoken of as a joke no matter where i go. That’s just fact. It’s a land of broken stupid people with no appreciation or understanding of civil liberties, property rights, or the constitution…but texans never shut up about how great and free the pathetic lone star state is, which makes texans seem even more ridiculous.
            So y’all keep defending yur lone star state, as true conservs and libertarians keep laughing at u.

          • [email protected]

            That’s very sad and I feel sorry for you. People who actually live such unfulfilling and unsuccessful lives that they walk around bashing an entire state out of insecurity or an inferiority complex is very sad indeed.

          • michael

            That must suck to have a job in which people do not act like professionals and make fun of a state

        • Romulus

          You realize that a large amount of the 27M people in Texas are transplants from other states, right? Anyway, you sound like a dumb kid because reasonable adults don’t say those things.

          • $19587871

            Most people, especially the ones in Texas, learn that telling the truth when people would prefer to believe the lies they tell themselves can be very dangerous.

            (The transplants in Texas tend to fall into two groups: The good folks and the ones who try to out-native the natives. They more or less cancel each other out, in the larger scale. On a personal level, it’s usually pretty simple: if you hear a Texas Drawl, real or exaggerated, walk away. It’s not worth it.)

          • wessexmom

            Then good riddance to you.

    • Endoxa52

      Yeah…stay put.

      • $19587871

        I’m inclined to say “I will if you will” but that’s kind of asking too much, so nope. As soon as the last of my family obligations in the US dies (not too long now, probably) I’ll be out from under.

        • Endoxa52

          I am a seventh-generation Texan. I’m not going anywhere except to the Caribbean when I retire. But if you are already in Texas and you dislike Texans, it’s best you leave as soon as you can.

          • $19587871

            So you love Texas so much you’ll retire elsewhere. Impressive argument.

          • Endoxa52

            The US is too expensive. Contrary to popular belief, not all Texans are oil rich millionaires.

    • http://tacfi.com David Benton

      I’ll bet you. I’ll BET you “stormkite” still smokes pot.

      • $19587871

        Never in my life. I think I’m probably the only person in my generation that can say that, but nope. Gotta leave the room (or the building, if necessary) because I simply cannot abide the smell of the stuff.

  • joethepleb

    I hate it here, I never want to leave.

  • Amy S

    Successful troll is successful.

  • fleurdelivres

    I wasn’t offended by the headline, but “got took” crossed the line.

  • OldBlindBob

    Does this story link from Clickhole?

  • Andrew Elliott McBurney

    So, it sounds like the proper title of this article should be, “Why My Friend is a Tool.” I hope your friend finds better work than to write formulaic sucker punch articles for third rate troll-sites.

  • Cheri

    “Got took” for a pretty serious ride? Where is your editor? :)

  • Texaslady

    Texas is awesome!!!

  • Romulus

    As a born and raised Austin old-timer, it does suck now. But it’s my sucky city. The sucky city of my birth and I love you still.

  • William Andrew McWhorter

    I can appreciate for-profit trolling for what it is. It’s even a little funny when you step back and consider the sociological mechanations that make Austin such a perfect target.

    Austin is a city that takes its identity very seriously even though part of its identity is that it isn’t supposed to take social convention very seriously. It is a contradiction, the Achilles’ heel of Austin’s ostensible coolness. It is impossible for somebody that is cool to actually be cool if they care so viscerally and openly about being considered cool by others. THIS is why Austin sucks; poor Luke Winkie, he couldn’t quite articulate it, but he managed to demonstrate it masterfully by inducing this sort of response from Austin’s denizens.

    Imagine a counterfactual scenario where Winkie had gone after Houston, a city so challenged by the things that everybody can agree suck about it that its unofficial marketing slogan is: “Houston…it’s worth it.” Go ahead and try to complain to a Houstonian (even a hipster from Montrose) about the air pollution, the stinky water, the traffic, the baseball team, the cockroaches; it won’t faze them even slightly. Although most Houstonians are proud of their city, it is no oasis of coolness and the residents take that fact in stride — with a sense of humor, even. It’s not expected to be cool. The people that live in Houston live there because it is big enough, diverse enough, inexpensive enough, and has plenty of jobs suitable for people of every background, so that Houston can mean something that is desirable enough to justify living there to pretty much anybody that has decided to live there. Everybody experiences Houston differently, and their reality is what they make of it. One thing is for sure, though: nobody moves to Houston to be thought of as cool. And that’s why Houston is at once cool and also…unassailable.

    Austin is…the mirror image of that. That either of the cities are situated in the Great State of Texas is completely irrelevant.

  • Endoxa52

    It’s an attention grabbing headline. When it comes down to it, if you like where you live…who cares?

  • Rocketman

    Austin is the butthole of Texas. Liberalland

    • Im going to florida…

      And texas is the butthole of the usa. Butthole surfers even knew that.
      Hi Gibby!!

      • Guest2

        You are both wrong! californa is the ‘butthole’ of usa

  • 1bimbo

    the city is the worst place ever… any city-austin, houston, san francisco, DC etc.. that’s why looney liberals complain about it so much, their sole purpose in life is to attack and criticize anyone else who doesn’t share in their city-dwelling misery or pay for their misery or seek to emulate their misery .. that’s beside the point, ATX is a pretty disgusting place devoid of quality-of-life-affirming culture

    • Jimbob

      Well maybe you have never been to rural Texas, but there aint no place worse on gods green earth than rural TX. Lived here all my life, but have done a bit of travelling, too so I can pass judgement. Never been to a more depressing and miserable place than rural Texas. No economy/jobs, just jesus, drugs, alcohol and now the tea party. A misinformation super hi-way out here. Please yall pray for the lost “christian” souls of rural Texas.

  • Kozmo

    Still, among all the jokes and exaggeration, it does make some good points. The truth hurts. Austin is no longer the great place I have lived in more or less since 1976 and moved back to twise when I left for new jobs. But this city has mutated into something monstrous and unlovable and I can’t afford to live here on a fixed income. Not with the skyrocketing cost of living, taxes, traffic, insurance rates, pollution, ugly sprawl, and insufferable Angelenos everywhere. Austin has always suffered from envy of other places (San Antonio, New Orleans, Nashville) but now at last has decided who it wants to be: Los Angeles and Hollywood glitz now set the standards. The next time I leave, it will be for good.

  • putesputes

    Vice is notorious for making trolling part of their commercial enterprise. It is ingrained in their writers. Don’t pay too much attention to it.

  • mynameis me

    lol and I thought Laredo was bad. At least there’s stuff to do and places to go in Austin? We. have. bars. and mexican restaurants. or you could go watch the illegals cross the river 😉

  • marykellogg

    Try living in Seattle. Now that REALLY sucks!

  • dog balls

    texans eat monkey shit!

  • dog balls

    run like hell..we’re infested with niggers and mexicoons!

  • dog balls

    fuck texas!

  • dog balls

    texans eat monkey shit and howl at the moon!!

  • TexasGirl254

    You got to be kidding! IVE LIVED IN TEXAS MY WHOLE LIFE! TEXANS ARE PROBABLY STRONGER AND TOUGHER THAN ANY OF YOU LITTLE ASSHOLES! MY STEP-GRANDPARENTS LIVE ON A FARM AND I LOVE GOING UP THERE! I HELP FEED DONKEYS AND TAKE CARE OF THEM! TEXAS IS THE SECOND LARGEST STATE IN THE USA AND TRUST ME ITS AWESOME HERE! SO IF YOU GUYS HAVE NEVER BEEN TO TEXAS AND YOUR SAYING A BUNCH OF SHIT ABOUT OUR STATE AND ABOUT OUR PEOPLE SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GET OUT OF THE FREAKIN’ CONVERSATION!

  • Wendy Collins

    I live in Houston and it truly does suck. The people are rude, the traffic is always backed up on I-45 and I-59 both. If you want to get anywhere fast, well you are going to be disappointed. There are TONS of gangs running around selling drugs, robbing and killing people, the police are a joke. The don’t do proper investigations unless it involves one of their own. If you are an animal lover well you can hang that up because they are not. It’s hard to find apartments who will accept large dogs and if you have a pitty well you can almost hang that up unless you are going to live in a really bad neighborhood. Then they charge extra rent for your pet.

  • CcruiseLL

    The worst place to live in Texas is if not the whole country- Midland Odessa. Hands down the rudest vile people in the U.S.

  • Bob Comp

    GET RID OF ALL THE NATIVE REDNECK INBRED BEER SWILLIONG SISTER HUMPING TEXANS AND THIS CRAP HOLE WOULD BE TOLERAVBLE! THEN, RUN ALL THE NIGGERS. MEXICOONS AND ASSORTED NON-WHITE MONGRELS UT AND THIS PLACE WOULD BE GREAT! ALL THESE LOUD MOUTHER TEXANS AND THEIR FAT ASSED BIG HAIR UGLY WOMEN DO IS BITCH ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE SO…FUCK YOU TEXAN COCK-SUCKERS!

  • Bill Goldberg

    Austin sucks. Way too crowded and it doesn’t feel like Texas anymore. I’d pick Lubbock or Amarillo over Austin any day. West Texas and the Panhandle rock. Except maybe Marfa (aka Austin Junior) but that was a small little town in the otherwise gorgeous Big Bend area.

  • Louis Mingüey

    It has no ocean. No beach. Therefore it sucks.