Road Tripping To SXSW: Part Four, The “Why Comedians Don’t Give a F*ck if You’re Offended” Edition

On the road...again

On the road…again

3:30PM Sunday afternoon: Before I left for Texas, my mom asked me to explain the purpose of SXSW. She’d heard of the festival before, but wasn’t quite sure what exactly it entailed. I explained that it’s basically a collection of both front-end and back-end “creatives” who’ve gathered in one place to share ideas, innovations, and inventions. While the parties and performances are a main draw, as the 2,000 different panels taking place during the festival prove, most go to learn how to be better at whatever it is they’re doing. And, as noted in my recap, it’s the only event I know of where you’re likely to find anyone from the founder of Whole Foods to a natural hair blogger sitting in on or leading a panel.

Personally, I jumped at the opportunity to go for three reasons:

1. As a “creative,” manning a panel there is a pretty big belt notch. I’m not too cool to admit that stuff like that matters to me.

2. I want to be better I what I do.

3. For a writer/blogger/content producer, getting out and meeting people in person is perhaps the best way to find new revenue streams, and there’s no better place to do this than SXSW.

So, while the recaps so far have focused on the “fun” parts of the trip, the business end is why I convinced myself to spend 50 hours in car during a 100 hour span just to be there.

And, after attending multiple panels in both the BiT (Black in Technology) house and the convention center, I noticed a theme. The Black panels dealing with blogging/writing tended to be more focused on revenue end issues—brand building, crowd-funding, content partnerships, etc—while the “mainstream” panels I attended discussed the actual craft and the thinking behind it a bit more. (Note: I’m not saying that each of the “Black” and “White” panels followed this script. But, the ones I personally happened to see did seem to trend a certain way)

You could make the argument that this trend is an example of us (Black people) being more concerned with appearances and/or the bottom line than if what we’re doing is actually meaningful and helpful. But, I don’t see things as pessimistically. Although the people in the Black blogosphere are stars among ourselves, very few of us are able to make a name off of blogging/writing, and even fewer are able to make a decent living off of it. Generally speaking, the people on the “White” panels I attended are there because they’ve “made it” already. Basically, most of us don’t have the luxury to travel 2000 miles and spend $2000 dollars just to discuss our craft. And, in order for some of us to reach the book deal/TV show/paid speaking appearance/Writers Guild membership point, learning about some easily applicable macro ways to better yourself isn’t necessary a bad thing.

Anyway, the most memorable panel I attended that weekend happened to be a “White” panel that (ironically) was dominated by a Black panelist. Moderated by Joe Garden and featuring Eddie Pepitone, Janine Brito, and W. Kamau Bell, “Why Comedians Don’t Give A F*ck If You’re Offended” touched on many of the writing/content-specific issues I’ve gone back and forth with over the past few years. Most notably, are there any subjects that should be “untouchable,” and should writers be held responsible if someone happens to get offended by your work/words?

Being that Garden used to work for the Onion (former Onion editor Baratunde Thurston was also in the house), it was no surprise that the Quvenzhane Wallis tweet controversy was the first subject brought up. In his pre-panel intro, he mentioned that he was more disgusted by the Onion’s apology than the actual tweet. Basically, if the intent to satire is obvious—which, in my opinion, it was—a comedian shouldn’t have to apologize for a joke that just wasn’t constructed properly. Pepitone disagreed, saying that while there are no sacred topics, writers also have a duty to be aware of their limitations.

(Personally, I side with Pepitone here. Full disclosure: There was nothing about the Quvenzhane tweet that I thought was offensive. I saw it, thought “oh, that was a little off-color,” and would have forgotten about it if not for the controversy it caused. But, just because something doesn’t personally offend me doesn’t mean that it’s not offensive. And, a person who attempts to go there with that type of humor needs to be aware of the racial and social implications if he fails. Also, as Bell pointed out, the tweet had a limited upside. Whoever authored the tweet basically attempted to build a grenade from scratch without reading any instructions. If it works, great. You now have a working grenade that you’ll never, ever use. But, you’re much more likely to fail. And, if you fail, you’ll probably blow your entire face off)

Bell—who was easily the star of the panel—brought up another point about comedians and workshopping. He told the story of how Chris Rock became upset once when footage of him appearing at a small comedy club was passed around the internet. When professional comics go to these types of clubs, they’re workshopping—thinking aloud and testing out new material before it goes out to the public. Basically, as Bell put it, releasing that footage allowed people to see Rock’s “half-baked ideas before they’re fully baked.” And, when that happens, you run the risk of having people offended by a newly conceived thought that actually wasn’t “ready” to be heard yet.

Blogging has a unique relationship with this concept, because the thing that makes most blogs popular—the idea that you’re able to read a person’s unfiltered thoughts—is also the thing that occasionally gets bloggers in hot water. Basically, bloggers don’t have a workshop because blogging is the workshop. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written something at 11:45pm, published it, woke up, read it again and thought “Shit, I can’t believe I said that.” You can always delete things, but if 5,000 people have already read it, doing that is pointless and actually seems kinda weak.

Other points

***The internet has created a dynamic where the permanentness of it can get people pissed at you today for something you did two or three years ago. Bell shared a story where a woman recently approached him, pissed about something he’d written in like 2007. When he told her “Yeah, you’re 100% right. What I said was f*cked up, and I actually apologized for it three years ago” she actually seemed disappointed that she couldn’t be outraged anymore.

***Bell: “Political correctness is always dishonest.”

***Bell (again) “Presidents and Popes apologize, so why should a comedian believe he doesn’t have to do that too?”

***Pepitone (paraphrasing): “The best comedy is when a person makes fun of something with equal or greater power. The Quvenzhane tweet failed because it ignored that rule.”

***Also, a point each panelist touched on was their annoyance with people who “volunteer” to get offended. Basically, there’s enough info out there to learn about someone like Louie CK before you attend one of his shows. And, if you’re the type to get easily offended, why still attend…and why not just buy tickets and see the thousands of other comedians whose style/content is more compatible with your sensibilities? You wouldn’t go to a Taylor Swift show and complain that she’s not Ghostface, so why do that with comedy?

We left Austin right after this panel. I’ve debated whether to recap the trip back home, but aside from me falling asleep at the wheel right outside of Cincinnati and almost killing us both, nothing worth mentioning happened.

In summary, this entire experience was one of the most memorable moments in my life. I loved Austin so much that I’d consider moving there. I loved the atmosphere of controlled creative chaos SXSW cultivated. I mean, where else are you going to walk out of a panel featuring W. Kamau Bell and run right into this…

workout women

I loved the surreal experience of driving past cities like Memphis and Little Rock that played such a huge role in the civil rights movement. I loved finding out that, if coming from the east, you have to cross the Mississippi river to get to Arkansas. Even though I will never, ever, ever, ever do this again, I loved being able to say I successfully completed a cross-country road trip. And, honestly, I loved the audacity of Texas. Facing that type of conspicuous and ubiquitous regional pride was initially off-putting, but it became endearing and even enviable.

I will definitely be back next year, I’ll definitely plan to stay longer, and (hopefully) I’ll definitely remember to actually make a schedule, bring some sneakers (my feet are still killing me), and buy my plane tickets in time next time.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Road Tripping To SXSW: Part Three

The "after" shot. Did The Champ make it in time to take a "before" shot? We'll see

The “after” shot. Did The Champ make it in time to take a “before” shot? We’ll see

11:23AM Saturday: As I anxiously waited for an elevator on the 18th floor of a hotel I wasn’t supposed to be in, wondering how the f*ck I managed to drive 24 hours to a place and somehow jeopardize my reason for making the trip, I was overcome with a sense of deja vu. This exact same thing—the long trip, the phone conversation with an increasingly annoyed Kaneisha, the “will I, or won’t I actually make the panel?“—happened last summer.

I drove from Pittsburgh to Philly to appear on a panel at Blogging While Brown. It’s a 6 hour drive, so although I left for Philly the morning of the panel, I left early enough to give myself a bit of a cushion. Well, at least I thought I did. I didn’t account for how bad the rush hour traffic would be as I neared the city, and in an attempt to save time, I googled an alternative route and ended up in New Jersey. By the time I made it to the panel, I was five minutes late. And, since I didn’t have time to change clothes or wash up, I spent the first three minutes on stage wiping the sweat off my face with my undershirt. Not exactly the best first impression.

All things considered, it’s easy to see why Kaneisha was so pressed on making sure I got there on time, and so annoyed it was happening again. She didn’t want to be deja vued.

Oh well.

11:25AM: While (finally!) headed down the elevator, something that didn’t make any sense 20 minutes ago made perfect sense now. I saw (fellow panelist) Demetria Lucas walking down a flight of stairs when I first entered the hotel. She was a couple dozen feet away, though, and seemed to be in a rush, so she didn’t see me. I first assumed she was headed to Starbucks or something, but the truth suddenly dawned on me:

“Shit. She went to the wrong hotel, too”

11:35AM: I finally make it to the right hotel and the right floor. Fortunately, they hadn’t started yet, and to my delight, the delay was due to a bout of Texas-style CPT instead of them waiting on me.

The panel itself lasted 45 minutes—35 minutes of panel discussion and 10 minutes of questions from the audience—and went about as well as we expected it to.

Other things worth mentioning:

***Our panel was one of three going on at the same time on the same floor. So, if someone in the audience got bored, they could just walk out and see what’s happening next door. To my knowledge, only three people left and five walked in, so I guess that’s a win.

***The Gay Reindeer missed the first 15 minutes of the panel. And, right when I was entertaining the idea of getting a little annoyed with her, I remembered that since I rushed out the door that morning, she had to pack up the room, load the bags in my car, and check out by herself. Oh, and since I obviously had no idea where the panel was, she had no idea either. Needless to say, I stopped entertaining the idea of being a little annoyed with her.

***Did I stress already how wack it was that all the Black panels were confined to this one floor at the baby brother’s Hilton? I did? Ok, well, did I also stress that our panels were so anonymous that when I asked someone at the big Hilton for some directions, he started to give me directions to a Hilton in Houston? 

1:00PM: After the panel, Demetria, The Gay Reindeer, and I walked to a day party/BBQ thrown by Black Enterprise. While there, I happened to run into a few EBONY.com co-workers.

And, aside from mentioning how odd it was that a crew of dudes showed up wearing wool coats and sweaters despite the fact that it was 75 degrees, literally nothing else worth writing about happened in the two hours I was there.

5:00PM: I’ve never been a fan of Mexican food. But, after spending a day in Austin and eating four or five of the best tacos a man’s hands have ever created, I began to adjust my feelings. So much so that when wondering around downtown, beat from being on my feet all day and just wanting to get away from the festival for a minute to recharge my batteries, I didn’t object when the Gay Reindeer suggested we hit up this Yelp-recommended greasy spoon taco spot on the edge of town, and I definitely didn’t object when the first bite of my shrimp taco gave me the Guy Fieri face.

(My theory for the change of heart: The Mexican food I’ve eaten in Pittsburgh just isn’t as fresh and authentic as the Mexican food you can get when closer to Mexico. Duh!)

8:00PM: As I mentioned earlier, we had to check out of the hotel we stayed in the first night. I won’t go into exactly why, but if you guessed “you were procrastinating again, weren’t you?” you might be right. As you can imagine, it was pretty difficult finding another hotel at a reasonable rate on such short notice, but the Gay Reindeer managed to find one a few miles from downtown.

The first sign that choosing this hotel might not have been the wisest decision occurred while on the highway there.

“What’s the name of this place again?”

“It’s called the Lmont”

“Hmm. Is that a chain? I’ve never heard of it.”

“Me neither.”

8:20PM: There are multiple ways of describing how the Lmont looks when we first arrive there. On cue, The Gay Reindeer and I say a few of them aloud while sitting in the parking lot and wondering if this will be our last night on Earth.

“I think this is where Ricky Bobby’s dad was living in Talladega Nights.”

“It actually reminds me more of the place Anton Chigurh killed all those Mexican drug dealers in No Country for Old Men”

“Yeah, I can see that.”

8:25PM: With our alert eyes, our slow and shallow steps, and our rapidly increasingly heart rates, we walk into our room like we’re hunting a tiger, inspecting the bed and the bathroom to make sure we’re the only living things in there. Aside from a mysterious body-sized stain on the carpet, we finally decide it’s passable for one night.

8:28PM: After getting some of our luggage from the car, we both sat on the bed to plan out the rest of our night.

“So yeah, if we head back to town by 10, we can catch the….wait, why are you making that face?”

“Did you see all those black dots over there when we first walked in?”

“Hmm. I don’t think so.”

“Ok.”

***10 second pause***

“Ok, why the f*ck are they MOVING!!!!”

8:29PM: If they ever have an Olympics strictly for Bougie Black People, “running from a somewhat rapey room with mysteriously moving Black things on a wall while also making damn sure you don’t touch ANYTHING” should definitely be an event. And, if they had a couples competition, the Gay Reindeer and I would definitely medal.

8:45PM: Fortunately, we were able to get a refund, and we found a much nicer and much less murderey hotel a couple miles down the road. Before getting the refund, though, the manager at the Lmont attempted to switch us to another room.

The Gay Reindeer’s reply:

“Do….all…your…rooms…have…bugs?”

If there was ever any doubt that I truly do love Bougie Black Girls, my relationship with the Gay Reindeer should erase it

11:00PM: We make it back in town for a party Samsung was having. They were giving away free Galaxy Notes at this party. There was also free food and alcohol. Oh, and The Roots were performing.

I’m saying all of this so matter-of-factly because things like this are a regular occurrence at SXSW. Seriously, I was a part of this group text thing that 30 or so of the Black people there signed up for, and it was nothing to get randomly texts like “Yo, I’m at this Verizon party, and Mark Cuban just bought everyone shots” and “Shit, Halle Berry and Keri Hilson just got into a fight right in front of me.”

(I still haven’t left the text group and, as I’m writing this, I just got a text about how long the line is at the Kendrick Lamar party)

12:30AM Sunday morning: The legendary Roots crew!!!!

the roots

3:30AM: After leaving the concert, getting caught in a near tornado, finding a pizza place, and eating said pizza while watching drunk people fight, fall, and f*ck in the street during said near tornado, we finally make it to our room.

“So yeah, that was one of the best nights, ever.”

“Agreed.”

***Go here for Part 4***

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Road Tripping To SXSW: Part Two

Why I love post-racial America

Why I love post-racial America

11:30-ishAM: One of the main differences I’ve noticed between people born and raised in the South and those who grew up in one of the Northern/Mid-Atlantic states is the amount of regional pride those in the South tend to have. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone,  but it just seems like people from the southern states are more likely to consider where they’re from as a part of them instead of just the place they happen/happened to live. (The only northern place where you see anywhere close to that type of thinking is The Consistently Overrated New York City.) It also seems to matriculate in all facets of life. For instance, I’ve yet to meet a person who went to school up north who was as dogmatic about attending Homecoming as many of the southerners I’ve met.

No other state exemplifies this mindset the way Texas seems to. As soon as you enter, you’re consistently reminded that this state is like no other state you’ve ever been to. For one, the speed limit jumps to 75mph, which basically means you can safety do 90 without really worrying about getting pulled over. (Seeing the 75 made me google the highest posted speed limit in the U.S. Naturally, this also exists in Texas, as a stretch outside of Austin allows you to go 85mph)

Also, Texas seems to be obsessed with using Texas as an adjective to describe everything. There’s the Texas BBQ. The Texas buffet. The Texas farmer’s market. The Texas-style car dealership. The Texas-style strip club. The exterminator with special spray to kill Texas-sized bugs. And, if this isn’t enough, if you ever forget exactly where you are, the ubiquity of the giant billboards that just say “TEXAS” will remind you.

6:45PM: We finally make it into Austin, passing Dallas, Waco, and approximately 57547843 car accidents on our way there. (Question: Does any small American town have a more randomly important recent history than Waco? Just in the last 20 years the Branch Davidians, the worst scandal in college basketball history, and the emergence of both RG3 and the most unique female athlete ever all took place there.)

We check in our hotel and likely would have slept for the next 12 or so hours if not for the fact that I had to walk 8 blocks downtown to pick up my registration badge. We also planned on attending a “welcome to Austin” party for all the Black people in town for SXSW that was starting at 7, so I showered up, ran out the door, and planned to meet the Gay Reindeer back at the hotel after I picked up my badge.

8:00PM: Before leaving for Austin, My homie Kaneisha—author of Be Your Own Boyfriend, Austin resident, and the person who organized my panel—stressed how important it was to create a clear schedule and itinerary because SXSW is so busy and sprawling that you’d drive yourself crazy without one. Naturally, I ignored her advice. And, after five minutes of walking around downtown, I wished I hadn’t. I’m not a person who gets overwhelmed by much. In fact, “whelmed to slightly underwhelmed” would be the best way to describe how I generally view things. But, the amount of people/events/noises/activities taking place was overwhelming. Not overwhelming in a bad way. The atmosphere practically punks you into having fun. It’s almost as if someone sprayed a 500,000 gallon can of liquid molly on the entire town. Still, I should have listened to Kaneisha.

8:30PM: Knowing that the party ends at 9 and I still needed to walk seven blocks uphill to meet the Gay Reindeer back at the hotel and make our way to the party, I hire one of those bike rickshaw guys to give me a ride.

And, because this three part piece is likely going to be over 3,000 words long, I won’t say too much about the odd mixture of race-related feelings experienced when sitting in the back of a chariot drinking lemonade and enjoying the breeze while a sweating and grunting White man struggles to bike you uphill. I will say, though, that if this is what post-racial America looks like, sign me up!!!

8:50PM: The exchange between the Gay Reindeer and the rickshaw guy after we make it to the party:

GR: “Thanks. How much do we owe you?”

Bike Guy (BG): “Well, my normal rate is $10 per person.”

GR: “It says $5 on the back of your bike”

Bike Guy (BG): “That’s an old sign.”

GR: “Ok. 20 is fine.”

Bike Guy: “Well, since I gave you all a ride all the way from downtown, I was thinking 40.”

GR: “$40? For 15 minutes of work?”

Bike Guy: “Yeah, but I’m really sweating a lot”

GR: “Here’s $25. Thanks again!”

Obviously, the bike guy assumed he could guilt us into giving him $40. The bike guy obviously never met the Gay Reindeer.

9:15PM: With my jeans, t-shirt, and boots, I felt overdressed among the throngs of anxious hipsters near the convention center. But, as I entered the Black party, I immediately felt underdressed. Bougie Black People love to overdress in Texas too, apparently. Some things never change.

While there, I scan the crowd for familiar faces, and end up running into the homie Slim Jackson and the always entertaining Luvvie, who teases me about finally leaving Pittsburgh. There’s another woman with them whose face I recognize but I can’t quite make out where I know her from. After hearing her voice it hits me: it’s Franchesca Ramsey, from “Shit White Girls Say…to Black Girls.” Fun and shit.

Also, this party was the first example of what would be a recurring theme during the weekend. It took place maybe 10 blocks or so away from downtown, and most of the “Black” events that weekend were isolated in a similar fashion. Even our panels all took place on one floor in the BiT house, three blocks away from the convention center.

Damn you, post racial America! Damn you!

11PM Friday: After leaving the party, the Gay Reindeer and I eventually meet up with Kaneisha, Arielle Loren, and a few others at a rooftop bar downtown. While there, Kaneisha attempts to give me some directions about where our panel would be taking place the next morning and when to show up. Naturally, I ignore her (again), which didn’t seem to be a big deal, until…

11:22AM Saturday: I’m on the 18th floor of the Hilton. Our panel is supposed to be taking place here in 8 minutes. But, as I get off the elevator, I don’t see anyone. Confused, I call Kaneisha.

“Hey, where is everybody?”

“Huh?”

“Where is everybody?

“We’re all here. Waiting for you”

“I’m on the 18th floor of the Hilton. I don’t see anybody.”

“That’s strange. There should be people greeting you as soon as you get off the elevator.”

“Hmm.”

“Damon, I think you’re in the wrong hotel.”

“Huh?”

“Yeah, I think you’re at the main Hilton. The BiT house is at the Hilton Garden Inn down the street.”

“Shit”

“Well, we’re starting in 8 minutes, so…”

***Part 3 coming tomorrow***

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) 

Road Tripping To SXSW: Part One

The Champ, as he contemplates every decision he'd made in the previous 72 hours

The Champ outside of the Austin Convention Center, as he rued every decision he’d made in the previous 72 hours

4:30PM Thursday: As I sat in my car, ready to begin my journey to the film/interactive portion of SXSW in Austin, Texas, I was reminded of the fact that while I have many great qualities—I can eat an entire pound of bacon and watch three episodes of Luther right afterwards, I can pee in the shower without splashing any on whoever might be in there with me, and, while I haven’t tried to do this in some time, I’m pretty sure I can dunk a tennis ball—one quality I do not possess is the ability to not procrastinate, even when I know said procrastination will cost me money.

I first learned I would be a panelist at SXSW a few months ago, and could have very easily purchased a plane ticket to Austin while the rates were still reasonable. (I don’t remember exactly how much it was, but I know it was in the ballpark of $350-$400) Naturally, I didn’t purchase them then, and as the weeks passed, the rates continued to climb. When I checked back a couple months later, they’d nearly tripled.

After seeing this, I began to talk myself into driving.

“I always wanted to make a long road trip. I’d save money, get to drive through a bunch of states I’ve never even been to before, and if the Gay Reindeer came with me, it would be fun! Plus, what’s the point of buying a Charger if you’re only going to drive it to LA Fitness?”

 

After a couple days of this, it sounded better and better. So what if Pittsburgh to Austin is a 1,400 mile, 20 hour long trip? So what if between the pre-road trip checkup I got on my car, the gas, and the food we purchased while driving, I’d really only end up saving a couple hundred dollars? And, while I enjoy the Gay Reindeer’s company, so what if 50 hours of car time together in an 100 hour span could potentially turn us into Iago and Othello? I was convinced this was a great decision.

5:30PM: After sitting in Pittsburgh rush hour traffic for an hour, and realizing we still had at least 20 hours of driving to go, I began to regret my decision. Luckily, the Gay Reindeer purchased a bunch of snacks and drinks before leaving, and I began to drown my regret in a cascade of granola bars and Naked juice.

11:00-ishPM: I take the wheel from the Gay Reindeer as we make it Kentucky and do our first scheduled driver switch. Highlights so far:

***A theme throughout the trip would be my surprise whenever we’d stop at a gas station or drive thru and see Black people. Basically, I was the stereotypical northerner who’d never been south and assumed that everywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line could pass for a deleted scene from Mississippi Burning. But, not only are there Black people everywhere, the White people we encountered on the trip were exponentially friendlier than the White people I’m used to. Like, suspiciously “They’re not really cannibals, are they?” friendlier.

***I talk occasional shit about Cincinnati—I’m a Pittsburgher, so I’m contractually obligated to do so—but I have to say that it’s a very pretty city at night.

***Being from PA, a state where most highways have 55mph speed limits, the 65s and 70s we’re seeing as we head farther south is taking some getting used to. It almost feels like a ploy to punk out of towners into speeding tickets.

2:00AM Friday: I felt myself getting a little groggy while somewhere in the middle of Tennessee, so I turned up the music and started violently and excitedly singing along in my seat. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work very well when listening to Forrest Gump, so I needed to find something more appropriate.

2:03AM: “Deez niggas won’t hold me back!!! Deez niggas won’t hold me back!!! Deez niggas won’t hold me back!!! Deez niggas won’t hold me back!!!”

2:05AM: This outburst wakes up the Gay Reindeer, who starts freestyling as soon as she opens her eyes.

“Wack niggas wanna wake me up!!! Wack niggas wanna wake me up!!! Wack niggas wanna wake me up!!! Wack niggas wanna wake me up!!!”

I guess this would be a good time to explain how the Gay Reindeer got her name. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m prone to spontaneous bouts of ridiculously off-beat and off-color freestyle rapping. During one of these sessions a couple months ago, I encouraged the Gay Reindeer to try. She’d never done it before. But, as I explained, I’ve been doing it for a decade and even though I still sound like I’ve never done it before, I feel like I’m getting better. And, feeling like you’re getting better is all that matters. Just ask Dwight Howard.

She agreed. And, surprisingly, she was able to stay on beat and even rhyme a few times in a row. But, she did something with her voice where she tried to change the pitch, but it ended up sounding something like a bigger, drier, lisp-heavy chipmunk—basically, a Gay Reindeer. From that moment on, the Gay Reindeer has been her “rap name.” (My rap name? Well, it changes every couple of months. But, right now it’s “Monster Shits.”)

8:00AM: We wake up after napping for a couple hours at a rest stop. Before stopping, we’d left Tennessee, crossed the Mississippi river, and made our way into Arkansas, the wackest state ever made.

Why exactly is Arkansas the wackest state ever made?

8:30AM: We see a sign for Arkadelphia, the most prominent example of Arkansas’ wack tendency to hijack another name, put “Ark” in front of it, and pretend like the name wasn’t hijacked from another name. The entire state even did this to Kansas!!!

9:45AM: To say that our car has begun to smell, um, “interesting” would be an understatement. Without getting too graphic, let’s just say that it seems like the Gay Reindeer and I started playing a game called “Fart, Burp, or Both?”

10:30AM: After passing “Arklanta” and “Arktimore,” stopping at an Arkdonald’s, and mentally preparing ourselves for the longest single straight stretch of the trip—a four hour long trek between Arkansas and Texas—a few things began to dawn on me

1. This trip started roughly 15 hours ago and we still have 8 f*cking hours to go.

2. This trip started roughly 15 hours ago and we still have 8 f*cking hours to go.

3. This trip started roughly 15 hours ago and we still have 8 f*cking hours to go.

10:31AM: “F***********************************CK!!!!”

***Go here for Part 2***

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

“Digital Penetration” At SXSW: Saturday, March 9th

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If at SXSW in Austin this weekend and looking for an hour of laughs, entertainment, and education, rent a couple episodes of 30 Rock. If that’s not possible, join The Champ, Kaneisha Grayson, Demetria Lucas, and Arielle Loren for a … Continue reading