Eccentrics are hard to find in our over-medicated, over psychopathologized plastic fantastic world of consumerbots.
In the Fifties there was a character in New York known as Moon Dog, long flowing hair, Viking helmet and spear, like a supernumerary from a Wagner Opera.
Today he would be taken down by Homeland Security as a terrorist threat, hospitalized and forcibly medicated as a threat to the credit spending tourists and consumerbots.
San Francisco had its legendary Emperor Norton during the early 20th century.
We’ve plasticized the world to the point where it is a homogenized mix of corporate outlets, the same stores with the same facades and logos. We’ve abandoned the cities that had individual character for the ersatz world of shopping malls.
We are afraid of people who are different be they bikers, gays, lesbians, hippies, transsexuals, transgenders, transvestites, vegan,atheists or bicyclists.
When so many people fall into one or more groups who are considered out of the mainstream, even if only slightly one has to wonder who is left in that mainstream.
But I digress.
People who aren’t from Texas, who have never lived here often have strange stereotypes of what Texas is like. While those stereotype are true they aren’t the only thing one finds as there is also a Texas of Willie Nelson, James McMurtry, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Marcia Ball.
We have Austin with the city slogan, “Keep Austin Weird”
This week we lost one of our Austin Eccentrics. A mentally-ill homeless man who outrageously cross dressed in a manner that has been described as “Gender Fuck”. Leslie Cochran passed away and Austin’s Sixth Street is a little less weird.
From the Austin Statesman: http://www.statesman.com/news/local/leslies-friends-say-eccentric-austin-celebrity-had-big-2226443.html
By Patrick Beach
Friday Mar. 9, 2012
An Austin icon is dead, and a bit of Austin’s weirdness has gone with him.
Leslie Cochran — the city’s flesh-flashing, cross-dressing, attention-loving, frequently homeless mascot, unofficial ambassador and sometimes mayoral candidate — died about 12:30 a.m. Thursday, said his sister, Alice Masterson of Homestead, Fla. He was 60.
Cochran recently had been admitted to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center after he was found unconscious in a South Austin parking lot. Cochran died “peacefully and comfortably” among family and friends, said Valerie Romness, a longtime friend.
Like Austin’s famed bats, Cochran was initially regarded as something of a nuisance when he arrived in the mid-1990s. Stories tell of a North Austin supermarket worker trying to shoo Cochran out of the store parking lot with a power washer. Soon enough, Cochran was downtown.
Usually dressed in ankle-snapping ladies’ heels and a thong, Cochran was for more than a decade a fixture in Austin, particularly in the Sixth Street entertainment district. He eventually ascended to the highest rank of celebrity, joining the few known by but one name: Leslie.
Friends said he was funny, intelligent and charming. They also described him as an alcoholic, stubborn and unreliable — qualities that often landed him in jail. And since a 2009 head injury, he had been in undeniable decline.
Cochran lent a whimsical demeanor to the serious problem of homelessness and relied on the kindness of strangers and friends. But he was no freeloader. He did occasional odd jobs for local businesses and appeared in a commercial for Pinky’s Pagers that aired locally during the 2001 Super Bowl. His runs for public office include a race against former Mayor Kirk Watson, now a state senator, who joked at the time, “My fear is that this will not be an issue-oriented campaign but (about) who has the best legs, and then I know I’m a dead man.”
Continue reading at: http://www.statesman.com/news/local/leslies-friends-say-eccentric-austin-celebrity-had-big-2226443.html
Aside from the thought that there is absolutely no reason why anyone in this rich nation should not have a place to live, food and medical care, we lose something when we lose the strange people who absolutely fail to conform to our consumerbot plastic fantastic world.
We lose a little bit of our soul when we no longer see people who are really harmlessly going about being mad, who make no attempt to conform.