Austin, Writing

What Are Your Thoughts on the Judgmental Austin Map?

I don’t know how I feel about the Judgmental Austin map.

I can typically take a joke, but something about this just rubbed me the wrong way.

The author’s classification of and negativity towards people in Austin is disconcerting by itself, but what startles me the most is the surprising adulation the map has received. The map has garnered thousands of shares and mostly positive response.

Being able to laugh at oneself is often a good idea and I can’t help but feel the applause for this map was born out of Austinites’ frustration with the city’s ever expanding population, but is it helping to perpetuate a growing disconnect within the city? An Us vs. Them, Me vs. You mentality? Austinites hate on California, but with the popularity of media such as this, we’re well on our way to becoming Los Angeles- the city of extreme societal segregation. I’m really surprised that racial and sexual classification such as “Black Resisting Gentrification”, “N. Mexico”, “S. Mexico” and “Boring Gays” hasn’t received more outcry.

Enough negativity exists in this world that it pains me to see our city labeled in such away that suggests that we’re all displeasing stereotypes.

Is the joke lost on me? I guess I’ve never been a fan of stereotyping…

Do you think the Judgmental Austin map is an innocent or disrespectful joke?

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  • Reply Jesse Campagna June 11, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I had this sent to me via email recently and didn’t find it particulary interesting. The concept is trite and divisive. We’ve seen the maps of the US like this, separated by types of bigotry or preconcieved segregational labels. Aside from the stereotypes you mentioned the author also uses pejoratives like boring, fake, and fatties. However, above all, my issue is that I didn’t find it funny. That base, lowest common denominator comedy of trotting out stereotypes is simply lazy.

    • Reply hipstercrite June 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm

      Well said.

  • Reply Nick June 11, 2012 at 10:34 am

    I feel as though Austin is heading in a completely different direction from what we Austinites are used to. There are high rises popping up when the ones that are built are nowhere near capacity. Demolition of historic building for new developments. It’s one thing to make a light hearted joke map but plz get it right. The map is not only an explosion of blue ink but it’s also wrong in more ways than one.

    • Reply Tim June 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      Just FYI. We are at 98% rental capacity in Austin. So this statement is completely false – “There are high rises popping up when the ones that are built are nowhere near capacity”

  • Reply Anonymous June 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    This map definitely rubbed me the wrong way, but the sentiment is partially why I moved to Brooklyn from my native Texas. Everything I have read of your writing makes Austin out to be an idyllic escape from LA non-personalities and whatever reason you don’t connect as well with the Northeast. I love Austin and will always call it home, but racism and gay hate still seem acceptable and I always felt that especially when I left my East Austin hood. The map gets that across pretty successfully.

    I could be mad, or entertained by this map, but I am not. It is boring and wrong and could be 500% funnier in most cases. I roll my eyes the 5 times a day when this shows up on my feed, and feel sorry for people who move to AUSTIN of all places to fix their problems. I am glad you have found some solace there, but it is pretty far from the progressive oasis the world thinks it is.

    • Reply hipstercrite June 11, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      Interesting point, Anony. Sadly, I think racism and gay hate exist everywhere. I’m back home in Central NY this week and there are the same small-minded people here as there are in Texas as there are in California as there are everywhere.

  • Reply Carol June 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I have no dog in the hunt, so I think it’s funny. I’m a firm believer that there are no sacred cows in comedy – unless it’s truly mean spirited, which I don’t think this is. C’mon guys, lighten up, it’s a joke. There are so many other things to be offended about that really matter. This ain’t one of ’em.

    • Reply Lia June 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      Agree one hundred per cent, Carol.

    • Reply hipstercrite June 11, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      Oh, Carol. I’ll always adore your candor.

  • Reply Tim June 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I was unamused as well. It’s racist, homophobic, and geographically challenged.

  • Reply David L June 11, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    South Park, anyone? Portlandia? The map slams everyone.

    Like it or not, clearly the image struck a chord with a LOT of Austinites, mostly because the author of the map didn’t invent the stereotypes, he just sorta threw them in people’s faces.

    I personally think both good ideas and bad ideas can benefit from a little sunlight, and this is deliberately different perspective than the usual “oh this and that is all great and local and we’re so progressive here”, but regardless, the map is out there. The only question now is whether we can laugh it off and use the opportunity to maybe learn something about ourselves. Portland seems to love Portlandia, let’s if Austin can take a joke.

    • Reply LaLa June 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      Agreed! I thought it was hilarious, and in the good company of:

      • Reply hipstercrite June 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm

        oh man! that is pretty harsh too!

    • Reply hipstercrite June 11, 2012 at 7:37 pm

      I don’t watch Portlandia. Do they make racial jokes like “Blacks Resisting Gentrification” etc.?

  • Reply Rich June 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    The map itself should not be what offends…if anything, the truths behind the satire should be the focus.

    • Reply Tim June 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Yeah. that was actually the problem. If you “lighten up” or look for the “truths behind the satire” you’re left with the fact that the guy that made this actually knows jack about humor OR the geography and makeup of Austin.

  • Reply Vince June 11, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I looked hoping to see a snarky comment on my part of town…but alas…my part of town didn’t even make the map. Who new the city of Austin was a square?

    • Reply hipstercrite June 11, 2012 at 7:38 pm

      Hahaha. The world is flat.

  • Reply eric June 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    There are at least two versions of this going around, one seems to be more cluttered with extra text.

    I am only upset that the concept could have been way funnier, instead it just comes across awkward and dumb. The poor execution of a joke I think is the only reason why it opens itself up to criticism of being offensive.

  • Reply Rusty June 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    It’s a joke people. Chill out. Are you really THAT sensitive?

    • Reply hipstercrite June 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      yes 😉

  • Reply albert June 12, 2012 at 1:15 am

    hi, it’s albert the map creator. I suppose I should be offended that a joke should be taken so seriously, and I am indeed–alas I am a hipster too. Lighten up, whities.

    • Reply hipstercrite June 12, 2012 at 8:22 am

      Hi, Albert! Thanks for stopping by. The Internet is such a crazy place, right?

      • Reply albert June 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm

        the internet is crazies! heart your blog though.

        • Reply hipstercrite June 13, 2012 at 9:40 am

          Thanks, Albert! Side note- I don’t think your map is that offensive. Was just getting the convo going. I am an old lady sometimes with my rose-tinted view of the world…

          • Amy June 18, 2012 at 1:58 am

            Oh hi, I realize I’m about a decade late to this conversation, but I have to say three things: 1) please don’t lose any sleep over the person who slammed you on your Austin Post feature… as you know, the internet’s full of anonymous bullies, and that one in particular is probably a wee bit envious of your accomplishments; 2) I think Albert’s map is funny as all hell and totally got the joke, but I can respect the fact that some folks might have gotten ruffled over it; and 3) can I just say, you rock? I feel a kindred spirit thing happening here. I’m glad Tolly introduced us, even if only via our laptops. I love your blog and your CM column – keep kicking ass, lady. You’ve got the goods.

  • Reply Ilene Haddad June 13, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    I have to admit, I was kind of surprised to read your take on it, sister. I found it funny not only because so much of it (in my opinion) is spot on, but also because it’s reflective of the spirit of this town–kind of an inside joke on itself. For some reason it really warms my heart. Could it be because I’ve lived here too long (since 1972)?

  • Reply noah June 17, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Make your own and get it famous if you think this 1 is a lazy, rude, mean, or disrespectful. I think it’s funny. True (native) austinite don’t hate Californians per se, we have a disdain for hipsters. We also loath “johnny dallas.”

    • Reply noah June 17, 2012 at 9:36 am

      I also agree…. pretty correct cartography.

  • Reply Resistor June 18, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Is there something dishonest about areas where blacks are resisting gentrification? Is that not happening in almost every major city in the country?

    In NYC the Blacks lose a street every year. In Denver, I’ve watched the complete gentrification of several areas, mainly Five Points, which was Denver’s best offering for a “dangerous ghetto.” You would be completely accurate if you were to label that area “Blacks resisting gentrification” during that time unless you had some squeemish white-guilt problem with stating fact.

    This is why I have been slowly withdrawing myself from my uber-liberalist thought process. The fact that your “small-minded” if you say anything against the lovely ghetto dwellers who are all just victims of a cruel society. Because if these same “champions of the poor” were to spend a single year living around them (and no, your student dorm doesn’t count), they would know that most of the people living there would stab you for a quarter and not lose a wink of sleep over it. Idealism is wonderful when your living on the other side of the fence, get mugged a few times and tell me all about how saying bad things about the ghetto is “wrong”. Until then I have a hard time giving much credence to affluent Whites and their “big open minds.”

    • Reply reinascernoir June 30, 2012 at 9:29 am

      As a labeled “Black resisting gentrification” and one who has chosen to live amongst “ghetto dwellers” for the diversity of ages (kids and grandmothers), economic statuses (junkies doing extreme cheap labor, brothers with the good jobs, entrepreneurs of the shadow economy, small business women, civil rights era legal professionals, teachers and principals, etc.) and mix of cultures. I find the notion of anyone stabbing anyone with no remorse for a quarter ludicrous. Fear monger, much?

      The fact is, when “crime” does happen, the act is rarely “random” or involving someone who was not participating in shady activity in the first place. I assume you received some street justice and now, well, everyone would stab you for that quarter of rock you were seeking…

      Your view, of course, is not new or profound. Racism (gasp!) is the 200 meter hurdle event in this society that convinces itself that everyone is competing in the 100 yard dash. Cruel? Not really. Economic realities.

      I am interested in the silence (read acceptance) of your peers to your attitude. Perhaps they just ignored you or you posted during the waning popularity of the subject. Well, I’ve got a front row seat and I continue to observe. Once the population of canines and people with your views reaches a certain point, we’ll move again to find the next truly diverse, soulful community. But really, nothing new here.

  • Reply Soccer Apologist June 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I think this is an overworked trope, kind of like those “how Texans see the world” maps or even those cartoon New Yorker covers where Manhattan is so much more massive than the Midwest. That said, there’s an Austin food map in a similar vein that I do find hilarious … still examining why I love that but not this.

  • Reply Maxx Carbon July 21, 2013 at 11:57 am

    two things, both fatuous, about the comments: 1) submitting whining complaints as purist critiques of the ‘humor’ where the only reason they feel compelled to speak up is because it’s just not funny. BS 2) smug pleasure taken at being remembered for something besides hounding the elevators to hell and back. Austin, in ’66 you were cooler than SF, forget LA. now you’re a bunch of born-too-late poseurs. but without the map, I’d never have known.

  • Reply Maxx Carbon July 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    hey, I was going to apologize. if there were any fatuous comments they were mine alone. I don’t know why such notions seize me now and then. but once they have, it all becomes painfully clear. thanks for sparing your readers. I’m just jealous because getting old it tough. and I do admire Austin for the reasons kind of squeezed in there. anyway, thanks for your civilized behavior. I’ll try harder. best.

  • Reply James June 20, 2014 at 11:01 am

    A bit tasteless even if Austin is changing..

  • Reply aelfheld January 21, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    The map is brilliant.

    Those clutching their pearls are markedly less so.

  • Reply David January 21, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    What do I think? I think the City Manager, Marc Ott, should be fired. He has been in office far too long, over 8 years. This is another example of how the COA administration shows disrespect to the citizens who pay their fat, over inflated budgets and salaries.

  • Reply Paula January 21, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    I thought it was humorous and pretty much on target as far as who lives where for the most part. Using in a professional setting was not a good move. These days people are so over the top offended by everything, whiny, crybabies!

  • Reply Mcgoo January 22, 2016 at 6:55 am

    If you’re offended by this then it is time for a reality check, get off your high PC horse. No one is being directly attacked or belittled, yes, there is offensive terms and language, but it’s not directed AT anyone. The take away I got from this map is that if you’re “normal” then Austin is not the place for you. And I’m pretty dang proud not to be normal, it’s too boring. Embrace your weirdness Austin, let’s “KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD!”

  • Reply Mcgoo January 22, 2016 at 7:00 am

    And remember, What would Leslie do?… If you don’t know who I’m talking about then you have no say in this conversation anyway

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