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I don't need your Civil War...
Photo by Hasan Almasi / Unsplash

I don't need your Civil War...

馃挜 Civil War movie 路聽Happy hour 路聽Marriage? 路 In a Tizzy Over Lizzy 路 Much more!

Five days after Trump鈥檚 inauguration, I had to travel to Philadelphia. I was headed to the Modern Language Association鈥檚 annual conference, a gathering that has received its annual drubbing in the conservative press like clockwork every January. To spend some time figuring out how to respond to the inevitable avalanche of anti-Trump screeds, I decided to drive from Nashville with a quick stop in D.C. 

Hundreds of miles outside the urban enclaves, the sun-damaged Trump signs were still hanging. Surely, anyone who frequents this route should have known what was coming. It was a thought that first popped into my head on a trip to West Virginia weeks before the election. But that was the problem. Only a certain stock travel these roads. And, despite the savvy marketing and flurry of online discourse, this seems to be the central point of A24鈥檚 new blockbuster Civil War.

When the boutique indie studio unveiled the first trailer for the film over the holidays, conservative media was, as is the custom, quick to pile on a movie they hadn鈥檛 seen. It was Trump Derangement Syndrome at its most expensive, a preach-to-the-choir lefty opus that wanted the Orange Man鈥檚 base dead as much as it desired to tap American journalists for sainthood. Such intellectual duplicity could almost be forgiven considering the self-inflicted decline of America鈥檚 culture industry since the advent of Trumpworld. Yet, it鈥檚 also an inexcusable and obvious ploy, a grift from the side that clings to a moral high ground maintained by shortcuts and subterfuge.

We're hosting a Bitcoin Halving Happy Hour with the folks at Media Farm and the Bitcoin Conference to celebrate the imminent Bitcoin halving. Attend for a chance to win a free pass to this year's Bitcoin Conference in Nashville from July 25-27 (RSVP)

馃拲 Who can marry whom? There's been much made of Rep. Gino Bulso's comments on the first-cousin marriage bill, but I haven't seen anyone give it an honest account without rolling their eyes. Sam Stockard at the Tennessee Lookout, for example, was big mad, opening his article on the dust-up thusly: "Republican Rep. Gino Bulso, despite being obsessed with hammering gay kids, went to the mat Thursday against a bill outlawing first-cousin marriage in Tennessee." Does he mean screwing gay kids?

Bulso wasn't supporting first-cousin marriage, but presenting an argument for a potential constitutional challenge. The compelling government interest in banning first-cousin marriage is to prevent genetic abnormalities. This interest does not extend to same-sex marriages between first cousins鈥攚ho obviously cannot reproduce鈥攁nd would also be banned. In this media environment, such arguments aren鈥檛 just ripe for the kind of misrepresentative coverage that cropped up yesterday, they鈥檙e opportunities for faux-sophisticates like Stockard to proclaim how embarrassed they are of the state.

As bill sponsor Rep. Darren Jernigan pointed out, there hasn't been a credible legal challenge to similar legislation in other states and the bill passed healthily. End of story.

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鉁忥笍 In a Tizzy Over Lizzy 鈥淭o be quite frank, we think she鈥檚 unqualified for the job,鈥 said Rep. Todd Warner (R-Chapel Hill) of Lizzette Reynolds, who was sworn in as Tennessee鈥檚 Commissioner of Education last summer. Not only has Reynolds been taking the heat for her credentials, records show that she received two tuition waivers from the state within six months of her appointment鈥攚hich is against Tennessee law. Though a TDOE rep wrote the snafu off as an 鈥渁dministrative error,鈥 her signatures on the waivers could lead to 鈥減enalties of perjury.鈥 

While a good number of both Republicans and Democrats are calling for her resignation, others view the pushback against an outsider like Reynolds as the administrative state cleaving to the status quo. 鈥淪he was not produced by the same system that declares less than 40 percent proficiency a success,鈥 wrote Joseph R. Murray II in a Tennessean guest op-ed this week. 鈥淟awmakers and education insiders are worried about Ms. Reynolds鈥 qualifications when they should be worried about their own.鈥

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馃摙 Speaking of Vanderbilt鈥 Protests over the past two weeks from student activists demanding the university divest from Israel reached a head when almost fifty students occupied Kirkland Hall. Four students were arrested, three were expelled, and a Nashville Scene journalist got caught in the crossfire, ending up in the back of a police cruiser. The whole debacle has sparked a discussion about "free speech on campus," but I'm reminded of an incident from 2015 in which, during a similar series of Black Lives Matter protests, a bag of poop was found on the front steps of Vanderbilt's Black Cultural Center. Hate crime accusations flew until it was revealed that the bag of poop was accidentally left there by a blind girl who had just picked up after her guide dog.

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馃摪 In other news... Tom Guarente drops out of the TN-5 GOP primary, leaving Councilmember Courtney Johnston as the lone challenger to incumbent Andy Ogles.


Piggybacking off yesterday's newsletter, most of Nashville's population growth over the past four years occurred in the ring counties surrounding Davidson County (Source: Axios)


  • Ritz-Carlton property sold at foreclosure sale (NBJ)
  • Plans submitted for mixed-use building near science center (Post)


View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

馃搮 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

馃帶 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

馃懆馃徎鈥嶐煂 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide.


馃幐 The Disco Biscuits @ Brooklyn Bowl, 8p, $39.50, Info

馃幓 Dawson, Price, and Gershwin's America @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 7:30p, $29+, Info

馃幑 Violet Moons @ The East Room, 7p, $12.33, Info
+ indie synth-rock duo

馃獣 Ashby Frank @ Station Inn, 9p, $25, Info
+ Nashville-based singer-songwriter & mandolinist

馃獣 The Cowpokes @ Acme Feed & Seed, 12p, Free, Info

馃崁 Live Irish Music @ McNamara鈥檚 Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info

馃幐 Kelly鈥檚 Heroes @ Robert鈥檚 Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info


The latest releases and special screenings hitting Music City this week. For a complete list of upcoming releases, check out our 2024 Film Guide

Civil War  Alex Garland gets a lot of goodwill for directing Ex Machina and writing some of the early 2000s鈥 best films like 28 Days Later and Never Let Me Go. But after 2022鈥檚 frustratingly one-note sexism fable, Men, there was plenty of reason to greet this allegory about a photojournalist (Kirsten Dunst) in the thick of a War Between the Red and Blue States with skepticism. Thankfully, Garland turns in his best movie yet. Read our review here. Now playing in theaters.

La Chimera Italian art-house 鈥淚t Girl鈥 Alice Rohrwacher鈥檚 confounding and gorgeous tale of antiquity thieves and a sadsack archeologist (Josh O鈥機onnor) has things to say about myth and the past. It also has to be seen to be believed. Now playing at AMC Thoroughbred 20 and The Belcourt.

Arcadian Nicholas Cage鈥檚 hot streak continues with this glowingly reviewed post-apocalyptic tale of a father and his twin boys living the pastoral dream by day and fending off creatures out for blood at night. Now playing in theaters.

Nostalghia Andrei Tarkovsky鈥檚 arthouse delight about a Russian intellectual on sabbatical in Italy lusting after his translator and fending off the ramblings of a madman may not have the reputation of Stalker and Solaris, but this 4K restoration makes quite the case for its status as one of the director鈥檚 masterworks. Now playing at the Belcourt