Friday, August 10, 2007

Authorities not amused by Texas Redneck Games

From the San Antonio Express-News via the Houston Chronicle:

Don't make plans quite yet to visit Athens for the next edition of the rowdy outdoor party known as the Texas Redneck Games.

Describing the four-day event that ended Sunday as a bloated bacchanal of disorder, drunkenness and debauchery, Henderson County officials say they might charge the promoter under a state crowd control law.

"There was a lot of nudity, rowdiness, intoxication, people running wild on their four-wheelers and underage drinking," said Lt. Pat McWilliams of the county Sheriff's Department. "There was also fights and assaults, and some serious injuries."

Over the weekend, nearly 100 people were either arrested or cited for offenses that included speeding, underage possession of alcohol, driving while intoxicated and possession of marijuana.

That aside, McWilliams said the county's biggest gripe with promoter Oscar Still is that he promised that no more than 2,500 would attend.

Authorities said upwards of 8,000 people — some who traveled hundreds of miles — jammed the 300-acre Pool Ranch to run all-terrain vehicles on muddy trails and watch contests featuring everything from Spam-eating to wet T-shirts.


Take away the references to ATVs and wet t-shirts and this could be a description of Woodstock. I mean, all the partying, the anti-authority attitudes, the naked people. Are these hicks or hippies?

I was watching Easy Rider a few days ago on Bravo or AMC and I noted a couple of times how appearance seemed to count for everything in those days. Captain America and Billy pick up a hitch-hiker on the road and they know he's okay because he's dressed like a freak, just like them. Later, asshole cajun rednecks mock their appearance in a hick diner in Louisiana. Today, however, appearance means nothing. Long hair, short hair, it's all meaningless. Right-wing rocker and xenophobic racist Ted Nugent has hippie-long hair; punker and former Black Flag front man Henry Rollins sports a conservative looking short haircut.

I could get into how I believe that much of this is about how the mass media co-opt all styles and movements, filters them through a white-bread machine, and then sells it all back to the people as consumer products, but there's no need to go down that road.

I'll just leave it with this observation: the counter-culture ain't what it used to be.