It’s come to this

The Austin Chronicle, an Austin institution, successor to the Austin Rag and the Austin Sun, has certainly been showing its age lately. It has become stodgy, crotchety, predictable, even boring.

The ad pages have seemed to be as numerous as ever. The people in charge, however, report an “at-first dramatically abrupt, and now depressingly steady, decline in revenue,” claiming advertising lost “because of our graying demographic.”

So now there’s the new AC, available for distribution at a mere 500 locations. It’s described as “hip and of the street, happening, and about tomorrow as much as today.” Why not just call it groovy? Or where it’s at?

It appears to borrow a bit from the original Rank and Review and a bit from Austin Daze.

There’s nothing really wrong with it, although the conbributors do have an air at times of writing for the approval of the grown-ups or older generation of Chron staffers, or at least to explain to them. There’s a distinct air of self-consciousness. There’s something of the atmosphere of those articles in which the local daily “explains” various of the less-dominant Austin cultures to the majority.

There are elements borrowed from Paper. The “fashion don’t” feature must go! It smacks of Cosmo or worse. This is Austin. People wear what they want.

The blind-item column shows promise. The presence of Greg Beets is very much a plus. We remain ever grateful for the delights of his quondam Hey! Hey! Buffet! and he remains an Austin presence on many fronts, complete with Beetsolonely.

The current best part of the Chron, where even the movie reviews are fairly predictable, is the food and restaurant section. The AC food tidbits will be fun.

So I’ll pick it up every week. Job-hunters out there are warned: AC wants “at least a BA in humanities or communications related fields” and applicants should “have extensive experience with pop culture, online databasing, the Austin, Texas film or music scenes, or blogging.” Keep in mind this requirement: “Not afraid to think young a plus.”

There’s more. The language used is reminiscent of “hep-daddy” talk. Maynard G. Krebs lives. We shall see, but probably not before next April Fool’s Day.

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