Austin Dispatches No. 197 Aug. 20, 2017

Recently, a neo-Nazi Web site denounced Austin’s leadership for enabling degeneracy and perversion. In turn, Austin’s power elite had an excuse to self-righteously denounce the neo-Nazis for being neo-Nazis.[1] “Excuse,” because both groups in this spat share overlapping views – pro-State and anti-bourgeoisie – that neither are prepared to admit, even if more people understood fascism as something more than an epithet toward someone or something you’re supposed to dislike.[2]

Those neo-Nazis can’t complain too much about degeneracy and perversion, as the original Nazi leaders were largely disaffected bohemian drug-addled homos.[3] They’d feel at home in Austin – and not just for social reasons. The Austin power elite wouldn’t be so smug if it understood its policy views, favoring heavily regulated collusion between government, business and labor, with government as the senior partner, are closer to fascist concepts, particularly the Italian variety, than anything in the authentic American spirit.[4] An un- or anti-American spirit, advocating such policies, stems from the “Progressive” Era. Italian fascism resulted partly from Italians Jews such as Enrico Rocca, Gino Arrias and Roberto Michels theorizing intently to create a new ideology.[5] In turn, the Nazis looked to the Italian Fascists for ideas.[6] Obviously, basic history classes and establishment media outlets don’t cover any of this. 

Austin Death Watch

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce says Austin’s too complacent.[7] For example, the July 14 Business Journal reports the city manager’s position has been vacant since October.[8] The Public Works Department acknowledges that mass transit destroyed Guadalupe Street along the UT campus, necessitating massive repairs.[9] The Aug. 4 Business Journal reports fewer people are using Cap Metro buses and trains.[10]

The Northwest Austin edition of Community Impact Newspaper confirms civic red tape exacerbates building costs, thereby driving developers to Williamson and Hays counties for more affordable houses, although the price tags are still six figures.[11] Republican and nonwhite councilors united in opposition to a complicated proposal to raise City property taxes in exchange for lower Austin Independent School District property taxes.[12]

Chronicle Co-Editor/-Publisher Nick Barbaro waxes indignant that the rich and connected are exploiting an Austin Energy program to benefit poor utility customers.[13] This sort of thing happens all the time, and is likely intrinsic to well-meaning attempts to help the less fortunate through civil government, but the Barbaros of the world also wax indignant any time one of us points this out, either before the attempt is implemented or afterward, when we cite the results against the next attempt.[14] They never learn.

Speaking of complacent, Louis Black plans to retire from the rag he co-founded, after 36 years of missing the point while doing his part to ruin Austin for the rest of us.[15] I suspect his departure is the beginning act in the Chronicle changing ownership from the last of the independent alternative weeklies into a media conglomerate’s property.[16]

Speaking of homos, the weekend of Aug. 18-20 two downtown events, Gay Pride and the Austin Hot Sauce Festival, combined under the theme “Flaming Assholes.”[17]

On the Town

Aug. 12: My seat in the Scottish Rite Theater was uncomfortable, and I was parched after walking several blocks from my car in triple-degree heat, yet I dared not leave the auditorium and miss even a minute of Henry Threadgill’s performance. Now that’s compelling music.[18]

Aug. 17: The Rose Room at The Domain offered free salsa dancing, which was really enjoyable for the short time before dudebros in cargo shorts and flip-flops thronged the ground floor and turned the place into a beer-guzzling sausage fest.[19]

Business Roundup

A new Jewish delicatessen has opened at Far West Boulevard, after a long dearth with the closing of Katz’s and Manny Hatten’s.[20] If the food and service are any indication, it’ll soon join its predecessors.

My best client of the last five years has filed for bankruptcy.[21]

Media Indigest

The July Tribeza includes a trend piece on coffee with butter’s health benefits.[22] The July/August Society Diaries proclaims Cuba chic for its preserved ‘50s esthetic,[23] and converts the cogitations of independent-minded stock trader-turned-philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb into a trite personal advice column.[24] A columnist in the July 17 Daily Texan denounces Tex-Mex as “white trash snack food wearing an inauthentic Mexican mask.”[25]

Neighborhood News

A construction crew is making a racket renovating the stairs, landings and breezeways of my building through mid-October at the earliest.[26]

The Statesman’s Traffic Web page reported collisions at Parmer Lane and the MoPac Expressway southbound frontage road on July 27 and Aug. 17, and at Braker Lane and Ptarmigan Drive on Aug. 10. A state inspector found credit card skimmers at fuel pumps at a convenience store at Burnet Road and Research Boulevard.[27]

University of Texas officials dedicated a new supercomputer at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus.[28] The Statesman notes the 50th anniversary of IBM’s North Austin campus, which has even employed me from time to time.[29]

Discount store Tuesday Morning left the Parmer Crossing Shopping Plaza for Cedar Park. A bankrupt bridal store at The Shops at Arbor Walk closed.[30]

Tech Notes

The Statesman’s technology columnist, a longtime Apple evangelist, has switched to using a Windows desktop.[31] No word on whether the problems with Windows have been satisfactorily resolved, though.

Home Archives


[1] Tuma, Mary. “Mayor Not Losing Sleep Over a Few Nazis.” AC 4 Aug. 2017: 7.

[2] AD No. 127n35 (Sep. 21, 2009); Flynn, John T. As We Go Marching. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran and Co., 1944: 1; Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York City: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004: 40; Peikoff, Leonard. The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America. New York City: Stein and Day, 1982: 42.

[3] Farren, Mick. Speed-Speed-Speedfreak: A Fast History of Amphetamine. Port Townsend, Wash.: Feral House, 2010: Ch. 2-3; Lively, Scott Eric, and Kevin Abrams. The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, 3rd rev. ed. Sacramento, Calif.: Veritas Aeterna Press, 2002; Ohler, Norman. Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich. 2015. Trans. Shaun Whiteside. 2016. Rpt. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017; Paxton, op. cit., 52.

[4] Paxton, op. cit., Ch. 5; Reimann, Guenter. The Vampire Economy: Doing Business Under Fascism. New York City: Vanguard Press, 1939.

[5] Johnson, Paul. A History of the Jews. New York City: Harper & Row, 1987: 501; Johnson. Modern Times: The World From the Twenties to the Nineties, rev. ed. New York City: HarperPerennial, 1992: 56-57, 319; Paxton, op. cit., 37-40.

[6] Johnson, Modern Times, 319.

[7] Theis, Michael. “Austin Chamber: This Town Is Resting on Its Laurels.” ABJ 4 Aug. 2017: 10.

[8] Pope, Colin. “Austin Needs a City Manager Yesterday.” ABJ 14 Jul. 2017: A19.

[9] Story, Wendy. “Guadalupe Street Receives Extensive Restoration.” DT 24 Jul. 2017: 3.

[10] Douglas, Craig M. “Why Commuters Are Ditching Public Transit.” ABJ 4 Aug. 2017: 4-6.

[11] Albiges, Marie. “First-Time Homebuyers Struggle to Afford NW Austin.” CIN 31 Jul. 2017, Northwest Austin ed.: 1+.

[12] King, Michael. “Priority Problems.” AC 11 Aug. 2017: 6+.

[13] Barbaro, Nick. “Other People’s Money?” AC 4 Aug. 2017: 6.

[14] De Jasay, Anthony. The State. Oxford, U.K.: Basil Blackwell, 1985: Ch. 4; Gillon, Steven M. That’s Not What We Meant to Do”: Reform and Its Unintended Consequences in Twentieth-Century America. New York City: W.W. Norton & Co., 2000.

[15] Hoffberger, Chase. “Louis Black Retires From the Chronicle.” AC 11 Aug. 2017: 9; Slusher, Daryl. “The Chronicle’s New Deal.” Letter. AC 18 Aug. 2017: 7.

[16] Jones, Kimberley. “Trump and the Co-Opting of ‘Alt.’ ” AC 18 Aug. 2017: 6.

[17] “Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival.” AC 18 Aug. 2017: 36; Marloff, Sarah. “Gay Place.” AC 18 Aug. 2017: 28.

[18] “Music Listings.” Ed. Raoul Herandez. AC 11 Aug. 2017: 48.

[19] “Community.” AC 18 Aug. 2017: 32.

[20] AD No. 138n68 (Jan. 13, 2011); AD No. 150n54 (April 16, 2012); Cone, Tonyia. “Local Restaurant Owner Carries on Jewish Family Food Traditions.”  The Jewish Outlook Jul. 2017: 4+.

[21] “Software Company Goes Ch. 11.” ABJ 4 Aug. 2017: 13.

[22] Hepfer, Hannah M. “Butter As Beverage.” Tribeza Jul. 2017: 70-73.

[23] Johnson, Tori. “Viva Cuba.” The Society Diaries Jul./Aug. 2017: 48-49.

[24] Walichowski, Miranda Fernande. “Go Ahead and Take a Risk.” The Society Diaries Jul./Aug. 2017: 54.

[25] Larcher, Audrey. “Tex-Mex Culinary Pillar but Not Actually Good Food.” DT 17 Jul. 2017: 4.

[26] Folio leasing office. Letter to Building 12A and Building 2A residents, 14 Aug. 2017.

[27] Wilson, Mark D. “3 Card Skimmers Found at Gas Pump.” AAS 28 Jul. 2017: B5.

[28] Herrera, Sebastian. “UT Gains Tech Clout With Coveted Supercomputer.” AAS 29 Jul. 2017: A1.

[29] Rockwell, Lily. “50 Years of Big Blue.” AAS 30 Jul. 2017: A1.

[30] “Closings.” CIN Jul. 2017, Northwest Austin ed.: 5.

[31] Gallaga, Omar L. “Leaving the Faith: Mac Guy Goes PC.” AAS 9 Jul. 2017: F1.