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No. 641: The Youth Are Alright
Photo by Papaioannou Kostas / Unsplash

No. 641: The Youth Are Alright

📅 Today, Davis talks about the politics of young people, Jerod reviews Alexander Payne's new movie The Holdovers, and Megan breaks down the ELVIS Act.

 Good afternoon, everyone.

The Democratic Party's political platform is built on the assumption that it has an unbreakable hold on young people in the country. But data and cultural trends reveal this to be something of a chimera, as Ruy Teixeira puts it in his latest article.

Teixeira reveals that 65 percent of 18 to 29-year-old voters identify as moderate-to-conservative and that, since 2020, Trump has gained significant traction with the under-30 demographic.

Other revealing insights show that a significant portion of under-30s believe Biden is "more liberal" than them on issues such as border security, climate change, and crime.

More interestingly, another recent poll showed that over the past decade, the share of young men who identify as Republican has increased by double digits. All of this data shows a rising cultural ferment that could, if it's representative of reality, undermine Democrats' sense of security carrying out the dictates of "democracy."

Lafayette Lee, contributing editor at IM–1776, put it well on Twitter:

I've followed Texeira since his 2002 book, The Emerging Democratic Majority, which predicted that demographics would forge a new political realignment and transform the Democrats into a permanent majority party. Texeira was definitely onto something, and the Hopenchange years only seemed to prove his thesis. 
I've long wondered whether Texeira's prophecy has done more harm than good for Democrats, however. By the end of George W. Bush's presidency, generations of liberals became convinced that a left-of-center coalition of young people, women, racial and sexual minorities, and urban professionals was destined to rule... forever. Obama's meteoric rise only confirmed this hope, and for years journalists and pundits made their own breathless predictions of a rising blue majority, further bolstering the fantasy. 
The belief led Democrats to assume they had a Rooseveltian mandate for the country and interpret every political victory as a triumph of their majoritarian electoral system, even with wins brokered by lawyers and judges behind closed doors. This sense of ownership over "our democracy" that Democrats cling to today, is very much a byproduct of Texeira's thesis. And the feelings of apocalyptic despair that swept over Democrats after the election of Trump only underscore the depth of their conversion. 
Another consequence was the party's betrayal of its oldest constituency, the white working class, whose vilification became a creative way of holding the unsteady coalition together and soothing guilty consciences. Retaining highly educated, affluent professionals in a party pretending to be working-class is a delicate balancing act, and so identity politics, particularly those of racial and sexual minorities, replaced the party's old sensitivities toward labor and class. 

In other words, the foundational belief that “demographics are destiny” is slowly revealing itself to be little more than a pretty lie to reassure the Democratic base that they are on the “right side of history.”

But even without data, the rise of online influencers with massive followings of young American men such as Joe Rogan, Theo Von, Shane Gillis, and the NELK Brothers indicate that Generation Z has begun to trend right. All four of the figures mentioned are either pro-Trump or grounded enough to not react like a chicken with its head cut off when he's brought up.

One could argue that Trump's popularity is due to these figures being more easy-going, drawing out his comedic, charismatic side as more established media players fall over themselves to frame him as Hitler Lite. Something to monitor.




The Holdovers is the ultimate fable of academic populism.

From Jerod Hollyfield

Paul Hunham (Paul Giamatti) went to Harvard. It’s something he never lets anyone at Barton Academy, the nearby boarding school where he teaches history at the height of the 70s counterculture, forget. He believes himself to be a model of that education, an inspiration to the boys who cycle through his class that they, too, can do anything.

Or at least that’s what he tells himself. His students know that anyone who made it through Harvard wouldn’t end up as a high school teacher (even at a school like this one) without some serious quixotic baggage–a personality trait anyone can clearly see Paul lacks. 

In truth, Paul is a nobody. His reputation is a shield that offers precious little protection. His students already know what they need to because, unlike him, going to an Ivy is part of their birthright. In the end, Paul is the failure he knows he is. And director Alexander Payne spends the next two hours of The Holdovers asking why schools like Harvard get to define the metrics of success for the rest of us.

Continue reading...


From Megan Podsiedlik

Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security, or rather ELVIS, is the aptly named new act proposed by the governor’s office.

“From Beale Street to Broadway, to Bristol and beyond, Tennessee is known for our rich artistic heritage that tells the story of our great state,” the governor said in a press release.As the technology landscape evolves with artificial intelligence, we’re proud to lead the nation in proposing legal protection for our best-in-class artists and songwriters.”

Designed to update Tennessee’s Protection of Personal Rights law, the act will “include protections for songwriters, performers, and music industry professionals’ voices from the misuse of artificial intelligence.” The current protections under state law only safeguard artists’ image and likeness; they don't specify “AI cloning models and services that enable human impersonation.” Yet to be filed, this change has already received bipartisan support.


While the new bill targets artificial intelligence used to copy the “integrity, identity, and humanity” of original artistry, other uses for AI in the industry have long been embraced— the most well-known of these being auto-tune, which has been used both in recording studios and during live performances starting in 1998. Since then, a myriad of applications have emerged that are able to mimic the sounds of instruments, ambiance, and other mixing, mastering, and production techniques.

The market has gone both ways. Some musicians have fully embraced the technology that’s forever changed their industry, while others have cornered markets by keeping their recordings and performances authentically human. At the core of most arguments concerning AI’s use in creating music is a generally accepted notion that, at the end of the day, new technology simply can’t replace the human element of composition.


That being said, the fear of AI’s integration into the workforce—specifically, its potential to render some jobs obsolete— is very real. In a survey from the American Psychological Association conducted last April, a third of the participants reported they feared AI might take “some or all of their job duties.” The anxiety of this takeover isn’t just bunk. A report by Goldman Sachs found “that AI could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs.”

While Tennessee is the first in the nation to tackle AI’s impact on the music industry, this bill is not the first piece of legislation that’s been introduced regarding AI, nor will it be the last. 


Country music singer ‘Jelly Roll’ pleads with Congress to act on fentanyl crisis (Lookout) “I could sit here and cry for days about the caskets I’ve carried of people I’ve loved dearly, deeply in my soul,” he said. “Good people, not just drug addicts — uncles, friends, cousins, normal people, some people who just got in a car wreck and started taking a pain pill to manage it, and one thing led to the other.”

13-year cicadas to emerge in Tennessee in 2024. Here's where and when (Tennessean) Brood XIX has been dormant for the past 13 years, but will soon be "screaming" their love across Tennessee. The brood is set to emerge around mid-May 2024 in Tennessee and be around for a month as the insects try to find mates before hibernating once again.

Nashville’s public charter schools receive higher School Letter Grades than district counterparts (Firefly) A Tennessee Firefly analysis of the recently released School Letter Grades found 62 percent of MNPS public charter schools scored a higher grade than similar traditional public schools averaged. All but one of the remaining public charter schools received at least the same grade as the traditional public-school average in the same area.


  • Nashville International Airport’s first on-site hotel to open next month (NBJ)
  • Giarratana plans apartment project for Elliston Place-area site (Post)
  • Cummins Station lands three tenants, including Starbucks (Post)


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.


🎸 Ava Swan @ The 5 Spot, 9p, $10, Info
+ intimate indie pop / alt-country

🎸 Nathan Kalish & his Derechos @ Acme Feed and Seed, 5p, Info
+ read our interview with Nathan here

🎹 Great Gershwin! @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 7:30p, $36+, Info

🎸 She's Gone... Grateful Dead Night @ Dee's Lounge, 6p, Info

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

🍀 Live Irish Music @ McNamara’s Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info

🎸 Kelly’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info

✹ WEEKLY FILM RUNDOWN: January 12-18

The latest releases and special screenings hitting Music City this week.

Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind Ethan Coen splits from his brother for this probing doc on the rockabilly giant gleaned entirely from archival footage. Playing Monday at the Belcourt with a special introduction from T Bone Burnett at 8 p.m.

Memory Jessica Chastain stars as a social worker recovering from alcoholism whose life is thrown into disarray when an amnesiac (Peter Sarsgaard) follows her home from their high school reunion. It may sound like some pat awardsy melodrama, but Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco is a politically savvy filmmaker with a virtuosic style that made his brutal activist class drama New Order one of the best of 2021. Expect a return to form. Now playing at AMC Thoroughbred 20 and Regal Hollywood 27.

The Beekeeper Sometimes, the best cure for the winter blues is Jason Statham giving a beat down to the annoying emo kid from The Hunger Games. You’ll get all this in more as The Stath plays a former special forces op and amateur melittologist who goes on a rampage when his neighbor (Phylicia Rashad) commits suicide after falling for a phishing scam. From Training Day writer David Ayer and with Jeremy Irons and Minnie Driver. Now playing in theaters.

All of Us Strangers British filmmaker Andrew Haigh (Weekend, 45 Years) returns with an uneasy family drama about an isolated screenwriter (Andrew Scott) who strikes up a relationship with his only neighbor (Paul Mescal) and becomes inspired to come to terms with his past by visiting his estranged family. Now playing at the Belcourt.

Mean Girls Hollywood may be so creatively bankrupt that it's now remaking the Broadway musical versions of decades-old films, but revisiting Tina Fey and Tim Meadows in a new iteration of the teen new classic with a dash of Jon Hamm is at least mildly intriguing. Now playing in theaters.

View the full list
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📰 Check out the full newsletter archive here.

No. 640: Beyond Compliance
🇺🇸 There’s more to life than complying · The AG takes on Meta · Rejecting federal education funds · Much more!
No. 639: Racking Up Time
⏳ Who talks the most · Bret Easton Ellis’ new novel · Epstein flight logs · Much more!
No. 638: Here’s Your Sign
🪧 113th General Assembly begins · Signs as a fixation · Three bills that you’ll hear about, but won’t pass · Much more!
No. 637: Country Music Without the Country
📅 Today, Davis talks about country music, Miles recaps the Titans’ finale, and Megan gets us ready for the start of the 113th General Assembly tomorrow.
No. 636: Polls, Chesterton, Raw Eggs, Oh My!
📄 Fireworks on the horizon · Raw Egg Nationalist · Chesterton in Nashville · Push Polls · Much More!


  • 📖 The Anti-Nostalgia of Bret Easton Ellis: A review of The Shards (Read)
  • 🖊 G.K. Chesterton's commentary on Nashville and the broader South from his 1921 tour of the US still resonates (Read)
  • 🪲 Dream Scenario takes on Culture War schisms from the defiant middle. (Read)
  • 🏘 The double-edged sword of prosperity in Tennessee's small towns (Read)
  • And check out our podcast, YouTube, and article archive for more.