Rhapsody for the SXSW Servant Class

by Marty Lloyd Woldman

At least we got some swag out of it.

We gaze blearily on the Night Owl bus at what meager trinkets the great beast of industry coughed into our bags that day. Our consolation prizes on the eve of civilization’s end. That back-up battery for your phone doesn’t make up for the nigh approaching date when your generation will be in full squalor, but shit, you’re at 15% and the goddamned thing was free and they’re like $20 at Wal-Mart and so this is not a bad thing, this back up battery. And don’t forget the ear buds and the sunglasses and the free beer and that energy drink.

They are all emblazoned with various corporate insignia and that’s why they’re free. Because at some point you may want to know who’s buying your drinks and your ear buds. I don’t. I am completely disinterested in this. I grab the free shit with one hand and brandish my middle finger with the other. This is the only way to do SXSW.

I will not explain what SXSW is to you. If you don’t know, you’re on a fucking computer right now. I’m not going to hold your hand. I’m only going to tell you what it’s not. It’s not what anybody on the internet says it is. It is beastly interprise come to my town once a year to feed on me and my compatriots.

I went to craigslist to snatch up the gig money. Round this time, folks pay you to pass out fliers. “Here, take this piece of paper.” And people take the piece of paper, or they don’t. End of transaction. And I pass out all the pieces of paper. Because I’m good at giving paper to people. Some people are bad at it. This is okay because it’s all fucking useless.

My band is known slightly more than yours. Who fucking cares. I am post music. Plug me straight into the poison and word. Don’t need a beat.

And I run into my friends downtown. They do the things that make them the money on the corporate behemoth. S at the food truck. D hustling a new rideshare app. E hustling parking spaces, her friends tending bar in the Warehouse District.

S is on the way to drunken ruin, much like myself. Almost drank her way out of a job the other night. D is full of madness. And E has a cluster of cells in her fucking uterus that threaten to become a human eventually.

Me? I’m in this scramble to ebb some skrilla from the horror so I can have some. For a minute. So fleeting, that skrilla.

I passed out fliers to hundreds of people. Hundreds. I will never see them again. I’m looking forward to never seeing any of them again. If I never saw SXSW again, that would be cool.

….…….the spectacle itself is here the tourist destination…………….

Until recently, I believed in astronauts. It seemed completely plausible that a person could go into space. I truly thought that was a thing that people did. But now that I see the hollow carcasses of the dry-humped souls of everyone surrounding me, that could never be. None of us are capable of leaving this fuck-to-death shitpile. Except maybe Elon Musk. And he’s not inviting your broke ass. Only rich cocks get to ride that gravy train.

And so, with all fliers passed, today I had the first shift of my new job, washing dishes at an asian food restaurant. And it feels right. William Burroughs was wrong. We are not meant to go into space. We are meant to wash dishes and suck rich cocks and bow to the ruling class whenever they come into our town once a year. That’s our fucking job.

And then the rich cocks decide to buy a house here and we can only barely, sometimes not at all afford to live here anymore. And we get to say yessir nosir as everything that mattered crumbles and rots. But at least we got some swag. And that free beer. And That fucking energy drink. Almost makes up for our entire reality being fucking useless torment.


Rhapsody for the SXSW Servant Class was originally published in Austin Startups on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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