No. 128: The Hero America Deserves: Big Bird

⁂ Nashville's Alt-Daily ⁂ Big Bird · Parnassus Books · What's an Awards Show Now? · Highlight Reels · Much More!

Good morning, everyone.

Yesterday we learned that Big Bird is a more authoritative source of information than future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers as figures as "high up" as Hillary Clinton celebrated the messaging about children's vaccinations coming from the 8-foot tall puppet while Rodgers received boring condemnations from people like Stephen A. Smith—no more a doctor than Rodgers or Big Bird—for forgoing the vaccine. The whole fiasco lends credence to the Iranian cleric, Shahab Moradi, whose response to the targeted assassination of General Solemmani was to admit that there was no one the Iranians could target to get revenge on the US because the only American heroes are cartoon characters like Spongebob and Spider-Man. We'll do away with that trend and elevate Rodgers for having the gall to stand on his own two feet against the tyranny of forced vaccination for a virus that he stands zero chance of dying from.

Below, we roll out the second in Jerod Hollyfield's 'Monument or Mansoleum' series where he takes a look at Nashville institutions and discuss tonight's CMA Awards and all the hypocrisy therein.

Thanks for reading.

Nashville

☗ Looking Down from the Mountain

Parnassus Books spent the last decade fashioning itself as a cultural lynchpin; Nashville’s literary scene would survive without it (Jerod Hollyfield, Read Online)

Jerod Hollyfield continues his investigation of Nashville institutions with a look at the sacred and holy Parnassus Books.

The happiest place in Nashville was under attack in the spring of 2019 according to The New York Times. Amazon planned to open a bookstore in the Mall at Green Hills, a situation so dire for the fate of the indie bookstore across the street it made the opinion page of the paper of record with the headline, “Parnassus Books Cares About Us. Does Amazon?” Yet, last May when Parnassus announced it would maintain mask requirements as other retailers immediately dropped them, the store didn’t seem all that pleasant, especially for those with certain disabilities. From the onset of the great reopening, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million had encouraged those with medical issues that masks exacerbated to visit their locations. Given the pandemic-era swooning that Parnassus co-owner, novelist Ann Patchett, earned from Oprah and other national figures, one would expect even more inclusivity than her store’s corporate counterparts. But, in the wake of the CDC’s reversal, Parnassus doubled down on its mask requirements as its social-media coordinator relayed that the store’s lack of a disability exemption was firm. The disabled were not only unwelcome but also a threat to public health. Over the years, Patchett has positioned Parnassus as a business built not on book sales, but on browsing and fostering community. Now, the best they could do for a small but substantial base of customers was curbside pickup. Upon seeing these lofty gestures toward the greater good, a feeling I had long repressed during my regular jaunts to the store over the past decade gripped me: Parnassus only cares about the right kind of reader.

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HEADLINES

DEVELOPMENT

  • Mixed-use development eyed for airport-area site (Post)
  • Sidco Drive property near cafés sells for $1.73M (Post)
  • Highwoods Properties files updated plans for massive 'Gulch Central' district (Biz Journal)
  • New Townhome Development Planned On Dodson Chapel Road In Hermitage (Now Next)
National

✚ Politics is Everything and Everything is Politics

The CMAs are back in full swing tonight, live audience and all, but with a Covid protocol in place. The protocol requires all of the audience members to be fully vaccinated and to wear masks while they are not eating or drinking. On the other hand, artists are required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative covid test within the last 24 hours but will not be required to wear masks. This protocol has left some artists vowing not to attend due to the Covid regulations. Other artists won’t be attending for other reasons; the most controversial being Morgan Wallen.

Earlier this year a video surfaced of an intoxicated Wallen uttering a racial slur while entering his house in Nashville. The video made waves in both pop-culture and mainstream headlines. Despite being shelved by major radio chains, dropped by his booking agent, initially given the boot from SNL, and suspended by his label, Wallen’s music sales soared. His album spent 10 consecutive weeks in the number 1 spot atop the Billboard 200 chart. To put that into perspective, the last album to consecutively hold the number 1 Billboard 200 spot that long was Whitney Housten’s album, “Whitney,” which occupied the slot for 11 weeks in 1987.

Following the shockwaves of the controversy, Wallen experienced a 1,220% streaming sales increase despite his later request for his fans not to defend him during his public apology. All this led up to the country singer being uninvited to tonight’s 2021 CMA awards, but what does this 28-year-old’s controversy say about American culture?

Some would call his increase in sales a white supremicist dog whistle, others a unified stand against cancel culture. Either way, this is an example of how the subversive undertones of political narrative have permeated every inch of American life. Despite the circumstances of the event, industry repercussions, and Wallen’s self-deprecating apology, what could have been digested then put to rest like Sam Hunt’s DUI is now a talking point for political pundits, a soapbox for celebrities, and a rallying cry for special interest groups and everyday Americans alike.

This inescapable narrative suffocates the richness that should flourish in an abundant society. Instead, Americans are subject to the singular dimension of political rhetoric playing itself out through their radio, on their television, at their ball games, and around the kitchen table. Heaven forbid the vegan bakery shop owner down the street is unvaccinated or that the local game fishing guide supports clean energy initiatives.

HEADLINES

  • Biden Administration Weighs Shutting Another Pipeline, White House Confirms (Epoch Times)
  • McConaughey comes out against vaccine mandates for kids (The Hill)
Entertainment

THINGS TO DO

🖼 Medieval Bologna: Art for a Universal City opened at the Frist on Friday. It's the first museum exhibition in the United States to focus on medieval art made in the northern Italian city of Bologna. Home to the oldest university in Europe, Bologna fostered a unique artistic culture at the end of the Middle Ages (Info)

Tonight
🪕 55th Annual CMA Awards @ Bridgestone Arena, 7p, Info
🎸 Sebastian Bach @ Brooklyn Bowl, 7:45p, $30, Info

Entertainment
Pure Cinema The first in Jerod Hollyfield's series explores the history of The Belcourt and its place in the city's zeitgeist (Jerod Hollyfield, Read)

A Brief History of Nashville's Parks William Harwood kicks off his series exploring the parks of Nashville with a timeless view from Luke Lea Heights tracing the origins of the city, its park system, and possibly even life itself (William Harwood, Read)

Always an Island, Ain't It? A fight over fishing rights in the English Channel reveals a larger rift at play across the globe (Virgil Davis, Read)

⏎ Bend the Ear Who do Tennessee lawmakers really represent? (Megan Podsiedlik, Read)
Around the Web

⏎ The Biden Regime Will Turn the Military on the People Unless We Push Back What Christopher Rufo did with critical race theory must be done with the post-9/11 security state

♠︎ How Sweden swerved Covid disaster The death toll here is lower than nations with draconian restrictions

→ The American Right’s civil war They agree on nothing except being anti-woke

Political Theater Highlight Reel
  1. Joe Rogan Rips Critics Calling Black Republicans 'Black White Supremacists'
  2. Sen. Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) Son Trashes Him on Twitter: ‘Why Does He Hate the American Dream So Much?’
  3. Confused Biden Hosts NBA Champs: 'What Are We Supposed to Do Now?'
  4. Pfizer CEO says people who spread misinformation on Covid vaccines are ‘criminals’
Words of Wisdom
"Few people have the imagination for reality."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe