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Reflections on life during lockdown

Reflections on life during lockdown

馃摎 Reflections on COVID 路聽Emissions and air quality 路聽Dating app STDs 路聽Movie rundown 路聽Much more!

Good afternoon, everyone.

Jerod penned a nice essay highlighting a few novels that shed light on the epoch-defining cultural changes that occurred during the pandemic. I don't think we've come close to grappling with how much the world has changed over the past four years.


As recently as 2019, the running joke in film festival programming circles was that staff would make any kind of bargain with the devil to stop the steady flow of movies featuring twentysomethings talking about life in their apartments, an organic genre that, at times, could account for 70 percent of submissions. 

But, like the rest of us, such discerning gatekeepers didn鈥檛 see COVID coming. While these tastemakers spent the last four years trying to course correct in the aftermath of largely self-inflicted damage, they鈥檝e also had to contend with an onslaught of pandemic content. Yet, unlike the rarest of postgrad dramedies that actually showed some chops, the fruits of COVID are uniformly abysmal. 鈥淣o one wants to revisit that time,鈥 I鈥檝e often heard. 鈥淲e all lived it.鈥

The phrase is supposed to touch on the collective trauma we鈥檇 like to suppress. But, in truth, it鈥檚 more about our tendencies toward cultural narcissism. COVID didn鈥檛 lead to a new normal; it was simply the ideal catalyst that exacerbated the symptoms of cultural decline waiting in the margins. The year before when Notre Dame caught fire, photos of people on their past Paris vacations clogged social media for days.

Two decades before during the previous epoch-defining event of our nation, the terrorists weren鈥檛 content with the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Every point of interest from the Gateway Arch to Dinosaur World was now in the crosshairs. We all longed to insert ourselves into the tragedies that gripped the world. But when the world offered up an equal opportunity tragedy, no one knew how to deal with it. Only a select few have that cathedral selfie or a cousin鈥檚 roommate living in Tribeca. Now, everyone can have a mask and a cough of questionable origins. 

And the ensuing embarrassment is too hard to bear. COVID content simply isn鈥檛 good because it reminds us of the erratic behavior we can only partially chock up to lack of information: the one-way grocery aisles, the Clorox wiping of takeout, the social distancing mania that cut down millions of BBQs but carved out an exception for protests.

We know it was mostly bullshit even if legacy media is only now making what they previously deemed conspiracy theories front-page news. But we also can鈥檛 take personal accountability for succumbing to mass hysteria. Our allegiance to self-care and tribal conformity wouldn鈥檛 allow it.

The problem with art in the time of post-pandemicism is that culture making has always been fueled by individualism and human connection. These are traits fundamentally at odds with blanket directives from amorphous authority figures that have marked global life since 2020.

COVID stories simply don鈥檛 lend themselves well to movies and television (much less the theatre) because the success of both relies on communicating through facial expressions and movement. Regardless of medium, the visual arts lack the interiority and capacity to accurately capture the real world implications of a policy agenda that forces the suppression of the individual in the name of purportedly saving individual lives.


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馃彮 Emissions and Air Quality 鈥淟ast term this council felt we were in an appropriate place where we could abolish emissions testing for our air,鈥 said Councilmember Bob Nash during Tuesday鈥檚 Budget Hearing with the Metro Health Department. 鈥淚 was wondering if there had been any follow up. How鈥檚 our air doing?鈥

 The Director of the Health Department, Dr. Gill Wright, confirmed that doing away with that program hasn鈥檛 had a significant impact on Nashville鈥檚 air quality. 鈥淚t has to do with the newer vehicles [that] are so much better,鈥 said Wright.

Before the meeting came to a close, Councilmember Burkley Allen followed up on Nash鈥檚 question by pointing out that the Director of Air Pollution Control, John Finke, and his team haven鈥檛 published an annual report since 2016: 鈥淲ould it be possible to get those back on the website?鈥 Wright said he would do his best, but the Health Department is still catching up after Covid. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

鉁   鉁   鉁

馃こ Do Dating Apps Increase STDs? Among several topics discussed during the Health Department meeting this week, Councilmember Delishia Porterfield broached the subject of鈥 syphilis. Apparently, the STD is on the rise. In fact, a report released by the department last year indicates that from 2017 to 2021, there was a 鈥227 percent increase in congenital syphilis cases鈥 in Nashville compared to a 185 percent increase nationwide. 

鈥淚t is linked to a shortage of Bicillin, which is an injectable penicillin,鈥 Wright said in response to Porterfield鈥檚 question, reminding those present of a tornado that destroyed a Pfizer storage facility last summer which affected the supply of Bicillin (though it did not disrupt the company鈥檚 manufacturing process). However, a closer look reveals that the shortage had nothing to do with the tornado: a month before the disaster, Pfizer told the FDA they anticipated a supply shortage owing to 鈥渁 complex combination of factors,鈥 including a significant increase in demand.

鈥淏efore [the tornado], we were seeing the numbers of all sexually transmitted diseases rise,鈥 continued Wright. 鈥淎nd I think that some of that has to do with a number of apps that are out on your phone where you can hook up.鈥 Later on, Councilmember Porterfield made a public service announcement of her own on X: 鈥淎void Joe from Tinder.鈥 MEGAN PODSIEDLIK


  • New East Nashville hangout with bar, music, movies, food trucks coming (Tennessean)
  • Airport board prioritizes 309-acre site for second terminal (NBJ)
  • Fall start eyed for east side hotel project (Post)
  • Ex-firehall on west side spared for now of razing (Post)
  • Auto-themed restaurant eyed for building at Midtown split (Post)
  • National HealthCare eyes mixed-use development for Cool Springs (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 and yearly festival guide.


馃幐 Cloud Nothings @ Cannery Hall, 7:30p, $22, Info

馃幐 Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors @ Ryman Auditorium, 8p, $30+, Info

馃幐 Musicians Corner @ Centennial Park, 5p, Free, Info
+ feat. Sunny War, The Aqueducts, Anthony da Costa + more

馃幓 Mahler's Monumental Opus @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 7:30p, $29+, Info

馃幁 Bill Burr @ Bridgestone Arena, 8p, Info

馃幐 Gustaf @ DRKMTTR, 8p, $15, Info

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 Kelley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

Back to Black The long-hyped Amy Winehouse biopic is in the hands of Sam Taylor-Johnson. While the buzz indicates that the photographer-turned-director has fumbled again after Fifty Shades of Grey, don鈥檛 believe it. This is another pop-culture masterwork ten years ahead of its time. Now playing in theaters. 

Evil Does Not Exist Japanese filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi follows up the Oscar-winning Drive My Car with this parable about a village resisting a developer hoping to turn their home into a glamping destination. Now playing at The Belcourt.

IF John Krasinski directs Ryan Reynolds in this CGI comedy about a girl who begins to see the imaginary friends stuck in limbo when the world鈥檚 kids grow up. An early contender for the crowdpleaser of the summer, especially with an all-star cast that includes Matt Damon, Sam Rockwell, Emily Blunt, Awkwafina, and Steve Carell. Now playing in theaters.

The Strangers: Chapter 1 While it never got the credit it was due, The Strangers remains one of the creepiest and most tense horror films of the past fifteen years. Even if director Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Deep Blue Sea) has had a touch-and-go career, the first in this planned trilogy starring Riverdale鈥檚 Madelaine Petsch may finally give the franchise some extended goodwill. Now playing in theaters.