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Award-Winning Watercooler Tuesday

6:00 pm in Watercooler by Kit OConnell

Hi, y’all.

The Austin Chronicle‘s readers named Occupy Austin as 2012′s Best March Or Rally in the annual Best of Austin poll:

It’s a unique category, but it makes sense for this winner: Occupy might well be described as a permanent ”march or rally” against economic injustice and in support of basic democratic rights. Since its beginnings as Occupy Wall Street and as it spread nationwide and into Austin, Occupy has turned the national discussion to questions of social justice and equity, and also generated reconsideration of police power and public engagement. Austin’s Occupiers are small in number but large in persistence and public impact – as Chronicle readers enthusiastically confirm.

I’ll be attending the awards party tonight at Emo’s (2015 East Riverside in Austin, Texas). Say hello if you see me there!

This is the latest open thread. What’s on your mind?

Watercooler: Closure

6:04 pm in Watercooler by Kit OConnell

Hi, y’all.

I just got home to Austin.

I took a trip this weekend out of town to Bryan, Texas, a suburb of the very conservative town of College Station. College Station is home to Texas A&M University and the George Bush Library — which is built on the rubble of the university pig farm (for real).

I lived there for a couple years with an extended family of choice that went bad in some dramatic ways. It was great to go back this weekend, because it seems like I’m finally over everything that happened there. There were no longer any bad memories associated where bad things happened — it’s all faded enough that I could laugh about some of it, ignore the rest, and enjoy all the new and old connections I have there.

People intensely crave neat and tidy experiences. We want to know when they begin and end, and be able to wrap them up in a story with a happy ending (for us). It’s rare for us to feel this way — reality only sometimes plays along with the stories we tell.

I guess this is true in the mainstream media as well, where we’ve all seen how journalists crave a tidy narrative – - and a simple, tidy message — to go with any issue or event. So they focus on the pieces that can shape most easily, like the perennial ‘protesters clash with police’ headlines (ignoring the one-sided, violent police behavior behind most of these events).

The stories are all made up though. We seek out fiction because we know it can be shaped any way we want. Real life is all rough edges and unexpected curves. I wish we were more accepting of this as human beings. As Mark Twain said,

Truth is more of a stranger than fiction.

This is tonight’s open thread. Tell me what’s on your mind.