No. 479: What's the media for?
⁂ Nashville's Alt-Daily ⁂ Fourth Estate · Blue Light · Metro Council · Belle Meade Plaza · Much More!
Good morning, everyone.
In 1891, Oscar Wilde wrote:
In old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralizing. Somebody — was it Burke? — called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time no doubt. But at the present moment it is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three. The Lords Temporal say nothing, the Lords Spiritual have nothing to say, and the House of Commons has nothing to say and says it. We are dominated by Journalism.
The rack is a reference to a rectangular torture device used to discourage and intimidate people. In Wilde's view, the press absconded with the role of enforcer following the revolutionary ferment of the 19th century and, in the process, swallowed up the Church, the government, and the common man.
Wilde wrote almost exactly 100 years after the French Revolution, but it was during that time in the late 18th century that journalism ascended to its role as the sole estate. After the fall of the Bastille in 1789 — the historical marker for the beginning of the Revolution and the beginning of the end for the old French regime — the number of newspapers in France exploded. In the course of the 1790s, almost two thousand newspapers were launched in Paris alone. Many would fold within a year, but the signal was clear: the press was rising.
With the falling of the old order, where knowledge and political action were confined to the Catholic Church and the noble families of France, the people shut out from such institutions were suddenly given the chance to discourse freely. The press emerged as a venue where those formerly powerless citizens could share opinions alongside the establishment. The radical egalitarianism of the revolution gave even the least among them a political voice.
As a result, politics, as we know it today, took hold. For many, it became an all-consuming passion — a new phenomenon at the time. It would've been common to hear someone who, prior to the revolution, only concerned himself with personal, agrarian, or religious matters, discuss why all men should be equal under the law.
He'd get these ideas from one of the many pamphlets circulating throughout the country — some of which had the express purpose of educating the rural residents of France on the urban political developments, such as the Feuille Villageoise (Village Sheet). Again, this was a new development. Free of the censorious old order, new ideas, and voices circulated widely and freely. People began to hold serious political opinions. The number of newspapers and political pamphlets continued to increase exponentially.
The dynamics at play today are not all that different. Recently, for example, we’ve witnessed Justin Jones and Justin Pearson emerge as heroes of a sort. Their image has been stewarded entirely by the press. It is through the press that they achieved stardom and it's through the press that citizens are instructed on what opinion to have about them. Was the expulsion vote for Justin Pearson and Justin Jones a threat to democracy? Ask the press and react accordingly.
Today, Geneva discusses the effect on our health of prolonged exposure to bright light and Megan recaps last night's Metro council meeting, in particular, the debate over the new development at Belle Meade Plaza.
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❒ Turn Down the Lights
From Geneva DeCobert
Most of us have been there: You’re driving down a country road at night, turn a corner, and are blinded by the headlights of an oncoming car. Blinking the spots away, you follow the white line to your lower right and curse the ubiquity of ultra-bright LED headlights. About a year ago, President Biden began a push alongside Congress to cease production of all lightbulbs that produce lower than 45 lumens — meaning all incandescent bulbs. Former President Trump had previously tried to slow this motion in Congress, saying that banning these bulbs put undue pressure on manufacturers. However, now Biden’s motion has passed; as of August this year, all production of incandescent bulbs will be ended.
The current Administration claims that the order will save Americans $3 billion in energy costs annually. However, the ban is riddled with downsides. In this article, we’ll be focusing on ramifications for both our health and the environment. Light pollution has become an increasingly pertinent issue in recent decades as public service lighting is replaced with brighter and brighter bulbs. I spoke with Dr. Lee Howard, Board Certified General Surgeon and Medical Director at the Human Performance and Longevity Center in Nashville, and famed bro scientist Benjamin Braddock to understand more about how bright light affects our health.
- 🎙 Listen to Davis Hunt's conversation with mayoral candidate Alice Rolli on The Pamphleteer Podcast. (Listen)
- 🏈 Miles Harrington recaps the Tennessee Titans decisions during last week's NFL Draft. (Read)
- 🎞 Check out Jerod Hollyfield's spring streaming guide. (Read)
- 🧬 And, Did Testosterone Play A Role In the Covenant Transgender Murderer's Rampage? Jano Tantongco considers. (Read)
❍ LAST NIGHT AT METRO CITY COUNCIL
Changes. They keep-a-comin’ in Nashville, and the surrounding areas don’t want to be left behind. During last night’s council meeting, constituents from around the county showed up to share their thoughts about the pending developments in Music Valley and Belle Meade Plaza, and a handful of the 110 items on the docket were deferred— some due to insufficient public notice, others due to some unclear details.
We’ll cut to the chase and go through the outcomes of the meeting before wrapping things up with a nostalgic statement from a native Nashvillian who shared her memories of Belle Meade Plaza while speaking in favor of the new development.
BELLE MEADE PLAZA The second reading of the Belle Meade Plaza zoning bill was passed by voice vote. The gallery was split; an equal number of proponents and opponents of the bill showed up last night to take the mic during the public hearing. Those in favor of the development expressed excitement over the prospects of a new greenway, a revitalized Richland Creek, new storefronts, and more housing options made available by the plan.
Those who spoke against the development were skeptical of the results of the "mobility study" conducted by the NDOT, TDOT, and developers, which claimed the plan, with its additional greenways, sidewalks, and bike paths, would likely help with the surrounding traffic. Housing affordability also came into question; some claimed that AJ Capital, the primary developer behind the project, is only building luxury units. But the most interesting accusation came from those concerned about the height of the proposed buildings; a number of Belle Meaders pointed out that the revitalized plaza was not only given a T5 classification, the same classification as the Green Hills mall, but it has also been miscategorized as a “priority quarter with immediate need”-- despite not technically being acknowledged as such by the NashvilleNext plan.
Councilmember Murphy stood steadfast in her support of the project, defending the community outreach and the compromises that have been made over the last four months. Amendments will be added during the final reading of the zoning bill to address the remaining issues.
RULES CHANGE Also approved last night was the Rule 49 amendment, which codifies the process used to appoint a candidate to fill a vacancy. Specifically, the rule now states that an election to fill a vacant seat with an interim successor “may be conducted at the next council meeting, including a special called council meeting.” Before the change, the statute had included a four-week “grace” period between the announcement of a vacancy and an appointment. This point was questioned during Representative Justin Jones’ immediate interim appointment after his expulsion from the House.
MUSIC VALLEY A zoning plan aimed at developing farming property in Music Valley was passed on second reading. With the support of the owner, who has been holding out on developing the area in order to preserve her family’s legacy, the plan would turn the farmland into a mixed-used “agritainment” vacation destination that includes a campground. Part of the campground would be located in a flood zone, which concerned many of those who spoke in opposition; it has been thirteen years since the “Nashville Flood” (to the day, as of yesterday’s meeting), and the people of the area still find themselves reliving the terror of that natural catastrophe. The bill sponsor, Councilmember Jeff Syracuse, stated that he will add an amendment during the third reading to preserve certain archaeological artifacts in the valley.
OTHER THINGS More worries about flooding were expressed during the public hearing concerning another rezoning plan that would place a retirement community near Pennington Bend. Thankfully, the new plan includes flood mitigation and more infrastructural changes to help the area’s storm water shed. The bill passed on second reading.
Also worth noting: Councilmember Parker’s legislation to redefine the term family in order to increase the number of unrelated people who can live in a single “dwelling unit” was deferred—again.
A STEP BACK IN HISTORY
"I’m a native Nashvillian, grew up in the Hillwood neighborhood, and vividly recall the day in 1961 that the new Belle Meade Plaza opened. Our family of six was quite excited about the multitude of shopping opportunities just twelve minutes away. Over the years, I recall buying my first pair of nylons at Sullivan’s, a gold prom dress at Rich, Schwartz [& Joseph], Father’s Day ties at. . . Apples, and Mother’s Day gifts at Embassy Flowers and Crystal’s. Stern Mr. Wolk welded many charms onto my bracelet, and Mills Bookstore was the source of my Nancy Drew collection and later my first copy of Goodnight Moon. To this day, my gold standard of a grilled cheese sandwich is the one Valeria fixed at Wilson Quick.
"Now, I mostly visit the Plaza to recover from a long bicycle ride with a cup of coffee, like I did today. The view from Starbucks is underwhelming; a vast expanse of asphalt dotted with cars and delivery vans. I urge you to vote for this proposal so a new generation of Nashvillians, including my children and grandchildren, can have their own fond memories of Belle Meade Plaza. I’m looking forward to the completion of this project when I can take another long bike ride that takes me through the greenway and to a reborn Belle Meade Plaza where I’ll drink my cup of coffee on some green grass with a view of the lovely, revitalized Richland Creek."
– Ramsey Burton Duran
Search of Nashville DA's offices was based on warrant - not 'invitation,' as DA Glenn Funk suggested (Channel 5) When Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents descended upon the offices of Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk back in March, the DA issued a statement saying they were there following his "invitation."
Mark Green Blasts President Biden for Sending Troops to the Southern Border to Help Move Illegals into Country (Star) Tennessee U.S. Representative and chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security Mark Green (R-TN-07) condemned the Biden administration for approving an increase of 1,500 military personnel to “supplement U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) efforts” on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Franklin ‘STOP’ citizen group opposes higher-density Middle Eight development (Tennessean) A group of Franklin citizens joined together in recent months to try to halt and reduce the size of the highly-publicized, higher density Middle Eight development in the city’s proposed “Factory District.”
Tennessee paid $9K to cover intern's expenses after alleged sexual harassment (Center Square) A report from NewsChannel5 in Nashville shows an intern was paid at least $8,841 to help her move after she was allegedly sexually harassed by former state Rep. Scotty Campbell, R-Mountain City.
- Chicago developer breaks ground on 96-home community in Wedgewood-Houston (NBJ)
- Developer buys land in Lebanon for upscale rental community (Tennessean)
- Site work to begin to update Second Avenue (Post)
- Metro OKs rezoning for Elliston tower (Post)
THINGS TO DO
View our calendar for the week 🗓 here and our weekly film rundown 📽 here.
📅 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.
🎧 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.
👨🏻🌾 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide and our 2023 southern festival guide and 🎥 2023 movie guide.
🎸 Tomberlin @ The Blue Room, 8p, $16, Info
+ indie folk
🪕Hillary Klug @ Station Inn, 8p, $15, Info
+ dancing fiddle
🎸Breaking Benjamin with Bush @ First Bank Ampitheater, 7:30p, Info
🪕 Bluegrass Night @ The American Legion Post 82, 7p, Free, Info
🥁 The Wednesday Beat @ The 5 Spot, 9p, $10, Info
+ record spinner + drummer
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