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No. 635: How the Right Can Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Arts
Photo by V谩clav Pluha艡 / Unsplash

No. 635: How the Right Can Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Arts

馃柤 Enjoying ugly things isn't cool 路聽Book review of Monsters 路聽Beacon Poll results 路 Much More!

Good afternoon, everyone.

One of the questions I often see brought up is why the "right" or "conservatives" don't produce more art. There's a complex answer to this question, as well as a simpler direct one. For brevity's sake, I'll stick to the direct answer: art reflects the tastes and viewpoints of its patrons.

The right has fewer patrons of the arts. So, the art world is implicitly (if not explicitly) leftist. A lot of people don't care for art, and that's fine: they just happen to cluster on the right side of the political spectrum.

I don't think you need a special degree or anything to enjoy art. The recent idea that 鈥渙nly pretentious assholes like things that look good鈥 is a historical aberration best left in the past. I see more fake appreciation for it on the left, where it is a status signal of sorts, than I do on the right, where I observe genuine reverence or humbled intimidation when confronted with something truly great.

Writer Simon Leys recounts an episode in which he was reading in a bustling caf茅 with Muzak playing in the background when suddenly and out of nowhere as if an angel had visited the place, the first bars of Mozart's clarinet quintet flowed from the speakers.

The other patrons in the coffee shop heard the same thing, and recognized it as something beautiful, but were disturbed by its sudden imposition on their senses. To the relief of the other customers, one stood up and changed the station back to something everyone could safely ignore.

Of the incident, Leys wrote:

At that moment the realisation hit me - and has never left me since: true Philistines are not people who are incapable of recognising beauty; they recognise it all too well; they detect its presence anywhere, immediately, and with a flair as infallible as that of the most sensitive aesthete鈥攂ut for them, it is in order to be able better to pounce upon it at once and to destroy it before it can gain a foothold in their universal empire of ugliness.

If nothing else, you should always be on watch for this impulse to recognize and dismiss beauty. At the political level, it is the hallmark of the left. And, considering they are the dominant force in America at the moment, it leaks out into all aspects of life, including art.

One local example of this is WPLN's discontinuation of the Nashville Classical Radio station on 91.1 FM. Since 2020, it鈥檚 been replaced with WNXP, which platforms contemporary local and national artists. What rot. There are about five other stations on the dial that do just this.

When I was in Louisville this past week, I noticed they still had their classical station. Listening to Mahler on the way out of the city, hungover on New Year鈥檚 Day, elevated an otherwise miserable experience on a gray, dreary day drive down 65S. But this isn't just about classical music. I hope you understand.


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A review of Claire Dederer鈥檚 Monsters: A Fan鈥檚 Dilemma

From Jerod Hollyfield

Claire Dederer adores Chinatown and Annie Hall. This affinity for the films of Roman Polanksi and Woody Allen poses a major problem for a memoirist who lives on a houseboat in the Pacific Northwest and makes her living as a creative writing professor and regular contributor to The New York Times. But Dederer is also the rarest of literary authors in our current moment: a self-reflective thinker with a devotion to grappling with thorny problems in ways that won鈥檛 drive the monetization of her online presence.

While it may appear that the last thing the world needs is another perspective on #MeToo from someone firmly entrenched in legacy media, Monsters both proves itself an indispensable read and a full-throated defense of the book form as a counter to the online outrage that indiscriminately destroys lives in the name of self-righteous zeal. 

Continue reading...


From Megan Podsiedlik

The numbers are in for the Beacon Center鈥檚 third quarterly poll, giving some insight into a number of topics important to Tennesseans days before the 113th General Assembly and a presidential election year. A pool of 1,302 registered voters were asked a series of questions about education and the upcoming presidential race, among other things. The full poll results are available on Beacon鈥檚 website, but here are the key takeaways.


In contrast to the heavy skepticism expressed by recent headlines, Beacon鈥檚 sample shows significant support for Governor Lee鈥檚 proposal to expand the Education Savings Account program statewide. A staggering 68 percent of participants are in favor of the policy proposal, while only 19 percent oppose the idea outright. Similarly, over half of 1,005 likely voters say they鈥檙e more likely to vote for a legislator who supports the ESA expansion, while 12 percent said they鈥檇 be less likely to vote them in.

Governor Lee announced his plan to allow 鈥every Tennessee parent with the opportunity to choose the right education for their child鈥 on November 28th of last year. His Education Freedom Scholarship Act earned full backing from the Speakers and Majority Leaders of both the House and the Senate.

鈥淵ou shouldn鈥檛 have to choose your child鈥檚 education based on your zip code and where you live,鈥 stated Arieale Munson, a mother of a Memphis student benefiting from school choice, in a video released by the governor鈥檚 office. 鈥淵ou should be able to have a choice whether you want to send your kids to a private school, a charter school, or a public school.鈥


Of 993 likely voters, 63 percent say they would vote for Donald Trump over Joe Biden. That lead narrows a bit (51 percent Trump, 25 percent Biden) when Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is included on the ballot, with Kennedy earning 16 percent of the vote.

Furthermore, 63 percent of 553 voters say they鈥檇 vote for Donald Trump even if he were convicted of the criminal charges he currently faces. In the unlikely event that Trump pulls out of the race, 46 percent of 501 likely Republican voters support Ron DeSantis for president; 18 percent would choose Vivek Ramaswamy, and 14 percent would vote for Nikki Haley.

Meanwhile, If Joe Biden decides not to run, 27 percent of 324 likely Democratic voters would want Kamala Harris to succeed him as president. Interestingly, Bernie Sanders beat out Hilary Clinton for second place by one percentage point.


That same pool of voters ranks US Senate candidate Gloria Johnson far ahead of her main primary opponent, Marquita Bradshaw, with the former garnering 41 percent of the vote. This, even though a previous Beacon poll, published last October, showed Bradshaw as the more promising candidate in a general election against current Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn.

In that poll, Bradshaw received 36 percent support from a pool of 824 voters when pitted toe-to-toe with the incumbent, compared to 29 percent of 850 votes backing Gloria Johnson in a race against Blackburn. In both October polls Marsha Blackburn came out the winner, receiving just under half of the votes.


Some good news for us here at the Pamphleteer: of 1,302 likely voters, 66 percent said they have some or a lot of faith in local media compared to 51 percent in national coverage. Meanwhile, 22 percent say they do not have any faith in national media, while only 9 percent shared that sentiment for local.


Historic park group leads Tennessee with $619K in license plate funds (Main Street) The Friends of Sycamore Shoals Historic Area was the most popular specialty license plate in Tennessee in fiscal year 2023 with 36,894 plates sending $619,130.55 to the beneficiary. Specialty plates require a $61.50 annual fee with $35 of the fee going to the Tennessee Arts Commission, the plate鈥檚 respective beneficiary, and the state鈥檚 Highway Fund.

Metro Arts Commission Barely Has a Quorum (Banner) The commission has 15 positions in total, but only eight are currently filled. The mayor鈥檚 office confirmed that O鈥機onnell has sent five more nominees to the Metro Council to be considered at the next meeting on Jan.16. If those nominees are confirmed, two more commission vacancies will remain.


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No. 634: Into the breach...
馃帀 What to expect in 2024 路 Political races 路 Transit push 路 Tourists vs. Residents 路 Much More!
No. 633: Nearing the End
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No. 632: Vibe Check
馃槑 Checking the vibes of the racetrack 路 Last Metro Council meeting of the 路 Much more!
No. 631: On tonight鈥檚 docket
馃棑 Tonight at the Metro Council 猬嗭笍 Growth in Middle TN 馃崡 Arnold鈥檚 returns 馃摤 Much more!


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  • 馃摎 Plenty Downtown Bookshop furthers Cookeville鈥檚 quiet transformation into one of the state鈥檚 most impressive cultural hubs. (Read)
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