Guest Author

Show your hometown insecurity by wearing your “I’m not moving to Austin” T-Shirt

Show your hometown insecurity by wearing your “I’m not moving to Austin” T-Shirt
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Back when Craig Kinsey wore an “I’m not moving to Austin” shirt at Summerfest it was, I guess, a mildly amusing poke at our good neighbors in our fair capital.  Then, oddly enough, I began to see the shirt on a few more bodies – decidedly lame.  Turns out, what I didn’t realize at the time was that Zen Hill Kinsey was, at least at one point, selling these shirts.  Yes, that’s right! For $15 plus S&H,  you could get your own “I’m not moving to Austin” shirt, in either black or white – small to 2XL for men and small to XL  for women.  E-mail them and maybe they will still fill out an order.  Woo!

Now, I’m sure that the folks as Zen Hill Kinsey had only the best of intentions here in boosting hometown pride but ironically, the shirt only succeeded in making Houston look like a fox complaining about grapes.  So please folks, put them away.

The funny thing about this is that when a city like Houston (with its relatively small indie music scene) compares itself to other cities, it only highlights how poorly it thinks of itself.  Consider this,  would you ever see a person from Austin wear a shirt saying “I’m not moving to L.A.?”  or “I’m not moving to Nashville?”  Of course not because Austin is, generally speaking, pretty confident about itself.  Houston, on the other hand, now has people advetising its insecurities and sense of inadequacy and it only cost them $15.  Let me spell it out for you – if you wear a shirt saying “I’m not moving to Austin,”  it suggests that, well, a lot of people ARE moving to Austin!  Why is that?  I dunno, maybe more venues, a city that doesn’t arbitrarily shut down shows and actually promotes music as a source of civic pride, a large body of students who want to get wasted to music, a nicer climate, geography…  Hey wait, Austin is sounding pretty good now that the folks at Zen Hill Kinsey brought it up.

Here is the thing, Houston is a wonderful breeding ground for bands – some stay and others leave.  Am I now supposed to think more highly of bands that stay when compared to bands like Ume who did move to Austin?  Should I think worse of Beyonce because she and Jay-Z have homes in New York, Florida, and California – not Houston?  Of course not!   Stay in Houston or leave – that’s your business, homie.  My only suggestion is for Houston to just be comfortable with itself and celebrate what it is and what it has on its own terms; that’s real hometown pride.  Or as Frank Zappa once explained it so eloquently: “Do you know what you are? / You are what you is / You is what you am  / A cow don’t make ham

*Update – the original version attributed the t-shirts to Zen Hill. This was based on the fact that a Zen Hill employee was using a Zen Hill e-mail address to process orders. As per the comments below, the employee was Kinsey’s girlfriend and while she was using the company’s e-mail for the T-Shirts, she was not acting on behalf of Zen Hill. The article has been ammended to reflect this but to be clear I take no blame for the confusion as most companies will have a policy of not allowing personal business to be handled on their company e-mails as this can lead to exactly this type of confusion.   I stand behind the critique of the T-Shirt: OK for Kinsey to wear, lame for everyone else.

  • Michelle Mower

    I’m going to keep wearing mine with pride. No, I don’t have any insecurities about living in Houston.

  • RamonLP4

    If she’s using a Zen Hill e-mail address, then she should be aware of the appearance that Zen Hill is selling it. If someone on a company’s dime is using a company e-mail to sell shirts, by extension the company is selling the shirts. You can circle the wagons on that all day if you want but whether they are officially selling them or not is again really beyond the point.

    As to my “lack of research” I didn’t need to ask Craig why he wore his shirt but I didn’t realize critiquing a t-shirt was now considered investigative journalism. Look, this was something he wore at Summerfest with clear intent as a point of local pride and a dig at Austin. You do get the irony in his meaning one thing but the effect I see being the opposite, right? Seriously, what’s not to get? Really, do tell what there wasn’t to get with that? Please, please, please, elucidate.

    While we’re at it, nobody said that Houston was Austin nor that Houston was trying to be Austin so I’m not sure who you are arguing with at the end there. Maybe you should re-read the article.

    So, yeah, I think I laid out my argument pretty clearly. There is a reason why Austin is the target of the shirt, I think it unintentionally fails in its intent as a hometown pride statement, and I think it follows the tradition of other cringe-worthy civic pride memes like “Keep Austin Weird.”

    Or to put it another way, I think anyone would do much better by Houston to wear a Sideshow Tramps shirt.

  • Sue

    I’m not going to argue with you because you dont know what you are talking about. Let me at least set the facts straight instead of your garbage you printed. Sarah is Kinsey’s girlfriend and helping him sell the shirts. She works with ZenHill but ZenHill has nothing to do with the shirts, they arent getting any money from them. If they have anything to do with promoting them it’s because they are supporting their artist’s work and creativity, like they do with any of their artists. You didnt do research, you didnt ask Craig why he made the shirt or what it stood for, if you had your article would have been completely different. Instead, you wrote about your opinion, which would have been ok except your facts are completely incorrect. Houston is not Austin and doesnt want to be nor are we trying to be, you obviously dont get it…and probably never will.

  • RamonLP4

    Thanks but I did look it up,

    “Shirts, in either black or white, are $15 plus postage. Sizes are small to 2XL (men’s) and small to XL (women’s). E-mail to place an order.”

    If you want to quibble on the immaterial, yes Kinsey was “marketing” them (whatever that is supposed to mean) and Zen Hill was “selling” them (which is pretty clear from the fact that you had to contact them to get one).

    But I still think that Kinsey wearing at Summerfest was one thing but people wearing it is foolish for all the reasons I already stated above.

  • Sue

    um….maybe you should check your facts before writing a blog. Craig Kinsey is selling the shirts, he just happens to be on ZenHill’s label and that is why their name comes up.
    And you should talk to him, because there is nothing “insecure” about his opinion of Houston. I respect your opinion, but disagree with it. I’m not moving to Austin, Nashville, or LA….Long Live Houston!