Monday, September 28, 2015

Editor-In-Chief Chad Hankins Introduces "Citizen Roots Magazine"

Christal Cooper

Article 1,423 Words

Guest Blogger Chad Hankins
My Life of Words

I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Well, technically I wanted to be a world renowned musician first, but there's a writing element to that too, so I'm counting it. I've been slugging it out for years, dreaming of making a life for myself in an industry that's damned hard to make a living in. Unless I get a best seller out there, I'm chasing a very poor phantom. But you can't pick what you love I suppose.

Anyway, I recently started a social and political website called Citizen Roots Magazine, which is dead set on giving journalism it's teeth back, and connecting those teeth to a backbone. We also love long winded sarcasm. But that's not where this weird little tale of Chad Hankins begins.

I was born July 10th, 1986 to a 20 year old mom and a 21 year old dad in the medium-sized town of Pueblo, Colorado. I showed up 14 months after my sister Britney. My mom came from a family of conservative, Evangelical preachers, and my dad had a lineage of fun loving, hard drinking, total smart asses. Things got weird straight away.

It turns out the funneling process of this bizarre genetic combination makes for some pretty strange personality traits. Britney and I both have OCD about the weirdest shit (my big one is that I can't touch dry flour), we're hilarious in social settings, but hate leaving our houses, and we both have a zero tolerance policy for stupidity and rudeness. The irony of that last bit is that we will verbally demolish you for your stupidity or rudeness, which is kind of rude. Oh well. Nobody's perfect. Anyway, I'm rambling.

So, when I was about eleven or twelve I discovered punk rock. I didn't so much 'discover' it as my older cousin gave me a Dead Kennedys tape and told me not to listen to it when my mom was home. Considering the fact that non-Christian music was banned from our house at the time, this was pretty sound advice.

I had no clue what they were talking about at that age. The social and political messages of their songs were way over my head, but I knew they were being angry and sarcastic. I understood this aspect perfectly. I had found my calling. I just needed to figure out what I was pissed off about. This took a few years.

I joined my first punk band at 14 and started writing like a maniac. Literally. I shoveled every thought from my crazy, puberty addled brain onto the pages of my notebook. I must've written a book's worth of psycho babble in various notebooks, including one that was just graph paper. I didn't care though. I had to write.

I'm sure that the content of those notebooks is utterly insane, but I lost them years ago. It's a shame really. If I could read them now I might actually feel sane compared to the Chad of the past. It wouldn't take much.

So fast forward to 2009. I moved to San Antonio and started working at Dick's Last Resort. For the uninitiated, that's the restaurant where smart asses are encouraged to mock their guests and sarcasm thrives. There are worse jobs, especially for a natural born smart ass like me. In fact, I was working at an Italian restaurant years before, when a coworker of mine (a Dick's alum himself) told me that I should work there. He always laughed when he overheard me with my tables, because I would subtly make fun of them. They'd ask things like “What red wines do you have?” while holding the wine menu, and I would respond with things like “We have them all listed here where it says 'red wines.'” making sure to reach over their shoulder and point to the menu that was in their hands. They never caught that I was being an asshole, but Tom (the aforementioned coworker) did.

People always ask me why I moved from Colorado to Texas, and my usual reply is “Boredom, mostly.” This isn't entirely true. While I love Colorado and desperately want to move back now, I was in a pretty serious rut at the time. I couldn't find a job, was living on couches, and had completely stopped writing. A change of scenery was absolutely needed.

About a month into my San Antonio life, I met my future wife. She was sitting cross-legged on top of one of our patio tables drinking a Shiner. I thought she looked extremely interesting by the way that she carried herself, but I was slightly too busy to go over there and hit on her. I had tables to mock.

An hour or so later, she came up to me. It turned out that she managed a retail store across the river from us, and came in often for post-work libations. Everybody knew her because she worked close to us and used to date one of our managers. While she was picking people's brains for places to go for her upcoming cross-country road trip, someone told her “I think the new guy is from Colorado.” This became my in. I told her about all of the amazing features of my homeland and then gave her my number. You know, in case she got lost out there. She called me later that night, and we've been together ever since.

The thing about my wife is that she's an absolute bad ass and you have to keep up with her. She camps, travels, builds amazing things for the house, and does great pieces of art. It was her that reignited that creative part of my brain that fell dormant for so long.

I started writing again. Feverishly. I was submitting articles to everyone I thought might publish them, I started a book (now I just need to finish said book), and I became the writer for a large graffiti festival called Clogged Caps.

The problem with my writing is that it's reflective of my personality. This isn't necessarily a problem for the reader, but editors can be a little trepidatious about running my stuff. I use a lot of sarcasm and sex puns in an attempt to eviscerate every manor of social and political injustice in America. I'm not great at pulling punches. 

The only time they would ever consider running my articles was after they'd given them a full blown rewrite. They would cut them so much that all of the voice, style, and original opinions of these articles would be completely gone. This usually ended with me getting upset and telling them things like “Put your name on it. You wrote it. I don't want my name on something that has only three lines of my actual writing.” This always resulted in them pulling the whole article.

Now, before you think I'm some insufferable, egotistical prick, there's something you should consider. My name was going to be on something that had been changed so much that the original opinion was no longer reflected. At all. Not even a little bit. I stand behind those decisions.
That brings us to present day. I figured out that it would be much simpler to just start my own media source than to try to convince these local editors to have a backbone. That's partly true, but it's been a lot of work.

 Now I'm the editor. Our only other permanent staff writer is Robert Anthony Cuomo, who may be more opinionated than I am, and our web designer Brittany Nichols has put in a lot of hours creating a website that looks absolutely amazing!

My hope is to never do to the Citizen Roots Magazine writers what these guys were doing to everyone else. I'm not the thought police. I'll run things that differ from my own opinion.

In fact, we recently started working on a segment called 'Two Sides, One Coin,' in which we publish two opposing views on the same topic. I'm still trying to find a televangelist to do one on gay marriage with me. Surprisingly (to probably no one at all), I haven't heard back from any of them yet.

But it's about the conversation. Critical thinking is gasping for air in this country, and it won't get better until we drop our hypersensitive, PC nature and hear each other out. That's the goal of Ok. That's the last shameless plug. I promise.

Photograph Description And Copyright Information

Photos 1, 3, 9 (young boy), 10 (age 14), 11 (January 2010), 18, and 24
Chad Hankins. 
Copyright granted by Chad Hankins.

Photo 2, 19, and 23
Web logos for Citizen Roots Magazine
Copyright granted by Chad Hankins

Photo 4.
Typewriter art
Copyright granted by Chad Hankins

Photo 5.
Hankins Family- Sister Britney far left and Chad far right.
Copyright granted by Chad Hankins

Photo 6 (early years) and Photo 7 (today)
The Hankins siblings Britney and Chad

Photo 8
Dead Kennedy
Klaus Flouride, Tello Biafra, D.H. Deligro, and East Bay Ray
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 12
Logo for Dick’s Last Resort
Copyright by Chad Hankins

Photo 13
Copyright granted by Chad Hankins

Photo 14
San Antonio
Copyright granted by Chad Hankins

Photo 15
Mrs. Chad Hankins
Copyright granted by Chad Hankins

Photo 16
Hankins wedding photo
Copyright granted by Chad Hankins

Photo 17
Logo for Clogged Caps Nine

Photo 21.
Robert Anthony Cuomo
Copyright granted by Robert Anthony Cuomo

Photo 22.
Brittany Nichols
Copyright granted by Brittany Nicholas

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