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The Ragged Old Flag
Photo by Joshua Hoehne / Unsplash

The Ragged Old Flag

馃嚭馃嚫 Flag day salutations 路聽Rural trad trauma 路 Arts audit 路聽Leaks and more leaks 路聽Low battery 路 Film rundown 路聽Much more!

Good afternoon, everyone.

In remembrance of the adoption of our nation鈥檚 flag in 1777, June 14th is set aside as National Flag Day. In 2024, we鈥檝e seen the flag flown upside-down as a sign of distress and burned during pro-Palestine protests. The enduring use and abuse of the Red, White, and Blue should remind us that the American spirit contained within the folds of Old Glory still has some powder left.

Though it was written in 1974, Johnny Cash鈥檚 Ragged Old Flag still rings true:

She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,
And now they鈥檝e about quit waving her back here at home.
In her own good land she鈥檚 been abused,
She鈥檚 been burned, dishonored, denied and refused.

And the government for which she stands,
Is scandalized throughout the land.
And she鈥檚 getting threadbare and wearing thin,
But she鈥檚 in good shape for the shape she鈥檚 in.
鈥楥ause she鈥檚 been through the fire before.
And I believe she can take a whole lot more.


Maya (Madelaine Petsch) is a vegetarian. It鈥檚 a statement that her boyfriend, Ryan (Jeff Morell) utters to the townspeople of Venus, Oregon, often in The Strangers: Chapter 1 after the couple鈥檚 malfunctioning BMW X leaves them stranded there overnight. Maybe writers Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedman succumbed to such low-hanging fruit to foreshadow the blood that was about to flow in the latest installment of the horror franchise. Or it was a lazy way to show the difference between these rural and city folk. Perhaps an inside joke about Petsch鈥檚 long, eye-roll-inducing history as a vegan activist.

Regardless, it鈥檚 a point reviews have endlessly mocked on the way to positioning the film as the first Razzie contender of the summer movie season. It鈥檚 also a deceptively simplistic moment that makes critics feel superior while assembling a subversive case against their complicity in cultural fragmentation. 

In her review for Deadline, Valerie Complex condensed the critical consensus on the film into a statement that also lays bare the faltering M.O. of Hollywood movies: the third helping of The Strangers fails to capture the essence of its predecessors. As she writes, 鈥淢y philosophy is, if a film is to be rebooted, remade, or re-purposed, it must find a way to distinguish itself and justify its existence.鈥 

The bar Complex sets for Hollywood鈥檚 IP onslaught seems like an apt litmus test, a more eloquent version of the rad dad critique that Hollywood has run out of ideas. But it also evades a fundamental trait of the horror film鈥揳 visceral genre that, more than any other, balances a primal emotion like fear with contemporary anxieties. The Blob of 1950 was a red menace that consumes Anytown, USA, for a reason. Freddy Krueger didn鈥檛 just cut through suburban teenage dreams of American prosperity weeks after Reagan鈥檚 1984 landside victory because it was creepy. 

What made The Strangers connect so much with 2008 audiences was that its premise of three masked intruders massacring a couple, 鈥渂ecause you were home,鈥 could happen to anyone鈥搄ust like the effects of the Great Recession audiences that summer could already feel in the pits of their stomachs. For many critics, the problem with the series鈥檚 latest is that it extinguishes this universal threat in favor of a more insular horror world. However, The Strangers: Chapter 1 is about the horror of insular worlds, a central premise its detractors seem to willfully elide.

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馃帹 The Arts Get Audited After long last, an official audit of Metro Arts was released this Wednesday, revealing a paper trail of problems. The commission was found to have cut corners around contracting standards, HR rules, and payroll, among other things, adding to the department鈥檚 inexhaustible list of issues

Over a year and a half, the commission hired three contractors in which they 鈥渃ircumvented the Metropolitan Nashville Procurement Code鈥 by repeatedly issuing payments just under $25,000  which evaded the department requirement that any payments over that amount go out for bid to multiple vendors. Not only did the cumulative purchase total amount to nearly $300,000, one of the vendors was Hillombo Consulting.

You鈥檒l recall that back in January, the Pamphleteer uncovered a number of bizarre slides made by Hillombo proprietor Justin Laing, one of which outlined how 鈥 鈥楻ace鈥, 鈥榯he arts鈥, and 鈥榳hite people鈥 emerged at a similar point in history and worked together to facilitate the development of colonial and imperialism.鈥  Records also revealed that one temp worker was paid for 279 hours of regular pay over a period of two weeks鈥 in other words, if we鈥檙e to believe Metro Arts鈥 tabulations, the worker clocked at least twenty hours per day.  

All in all, Nashvillians can now determine how much of their tax dollars went to dismantling the 鈥淣onprofit Industrial Complex鈥檚 systemic oppression,鈥 and certain council members are not pleased.  鈥淚t's funny how the Metro Arts audit is suddenly available when people are scrambling to try and save face,鈥 Councilmember Joy Styles posted on X. 鈥淲e were told they didn't have an idea when it would be ready just last week. Too late.....鈥 MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

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馃挧 Leaks Beget More Leaks As we reported on Wednesday, the Tennessee Star鈥檚 Michael Patrick Leahy is scheduled to appear in chancery court on Monday in front of Judge I鈥橝shea Myles, who will determine whether his publication of documents related to the Covenant tragedy puts him in contempt of court. In response to this order, Leahy filed an emergency motion to set aside her order, citing concerns about revealing his sources and claiming that it is not clear what Leahy is actually accused of. Myles denied the motion yesterday.

As far as his first concern goes, Leahy needn鈥檛 worry: Axios Nashville took care of that this morning, reporting on the legal filings that tied the document leak to former MNPD officer Lt. Garet Davidson. Allegedly, Davidson was tasked with safely storing the investigation file, which he kept in a locked safe in his office. For anyone paying attention, it鈥檚 no surprise that Davidson is the mole: the initial leak was the FBI memo MNPD received advising against the release of Hale鈥檚 鈥減ublic tokens鈥;  just days prior, he鈥檇 sat down with Leahy and revealed that the FBI had sent the memo to MNPD. Davidson also filed a 61-page complaint alleging that the state had colluded with the department to draft legislation designed to quash the city鈥檚 Community Oversight Board. Seems he has a vendetta against the department.

In other MNPD news, the fired officer who appeared in an OnlyFans video this April was arrested and charged with two counts of felony official misconduct related to the incident. DAVIS HUNT

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馃 Low Battery According to a report from the Tennessee Lookout, State Senator Page Walley (R-Savannah) has confirmed that Ford is moving back production of its F-150 Lightning at the BlueOval City campus in Stanton by nine months. Earlier this year, Ford announced they鈥檇 be cutting production due to slackening demand. When Ford first announced the construction of the $5.6 billion plant and secured $1 billion from the state, the promise was that production would begin in 2025. Walley indicated he鈥檚 unconcerned about the state losing money in the deal because of a 鈥渃lawback鈥 provision that allows Tennessee to reclaim its money should Ford fail to bring the 5,800 jobs promised. Is EV euphoria dead? Sure seems like it. DAVIS HUNT


  • Toll Brothers upgrades plans for Germantown apartment development (NBJ)
  • Noko team to open new restaurant in East Nashville (NBJ)
  • Work to soon start on second Paseo South Gulch tower (Post)
  • East Nashville site set for storage building sells for $3.5M (Post)
  • Smithfield to acquire South Nashville dry sausage production facility (Post)

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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.


馃獣 Red Mountain Boys @ Station Inn, 9p, $25, Info

馃幐 Musicians Corner @ Centennial Park, 5p, Free, Info
+ Cedric Burnside, AJ & The Jiggawatts, Charlie Whitten and more

馃幐 Bonaroo @ Bonaroo Farm, $435+, Info
+ Post Malone, Kruangbin, Interpol, The Mars Volta, Larkin Poe and more

馃幐 Timbo @ Dee's Lounge, 9p, $10, Info

鉁 Digyphus @ Springwater, 8:30p, $10, Info
+ Nashville-based experimental ambient

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.

Ride A bullfighter comes out of retirement to raise money for his daughter鈥檚 cancer treatment in this indie featuring Nashville resident C. Thomas Howell. Now playing at Regal Green Hills 16.

Coma A girl with autoimmune issues cultivates an obsession with a vlogger while in isolation during a COVIDish global pandemic. Bertrand Bonello already dissected the pitfalls of A.I. and new media with The Beast back in April. He might as well go ahead and lay claim to two spots on the best of 2024 lists. Playing Saturday, Sunday, and Thursday at the Belcourt.

Firebrand Why has there not been a shred of publicity for a movie with Jude Law as Henry and Alicia Vikander as his sixth wife, Katherine Parr? Now playing at AMC Thoroughbred 20, AMC Murfreesboro 16, and Regal Green Hills 16.

Tuesday A mother (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and her preteen daughter confront death in the form of a bird in a fairy tale from A24 that could be the studio鈥檚 unassuming summer hit. Now playing at AMC Theaters, Regal Green Hills 16, and Regal Streets of Indian Lake (Hendersonville). 

1999 @ The Belcourt Throughout June, The Belcourt offers twenty-five titles in celebration of the best movie year ever鈥檚 25th anniversary. This week鈥檚 offerings include the 35mm print of Michael Mann鈥檚 can鈥檛-miss corporate thriller The Insider, Alexander Payne鈥檚 caustic teen movie Hillary satire Election, Jim Jarmusch鈥檚 urban mystical action flick Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, and Wes Anderson鈥檚 breakout Rushmore. Also on tap are universal crowd-pleasers Toy Story 2 , Run Lola Run, and Office Space along with male machismo masterpieces Fight Club and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Hands down the can鈥檛-miss cinematic event of the summer.