Thinking back on the Covid-19 saga is a bit like remembering a dream in which you were driving a clown car through a hall of mirrors while getting pelted with tomatoes — reality held no purchase, the disinformation you thought you couldn't trust turned out to be the disinformation you could trust, and if you deviated from the approved narrative, people pelted you with insults. Vague and hoary proclamations about the truth of the vaccine or the truth of the death count assaulted regular citizens from all sides. Journalists and large media outlets played the part of narrative Brown Shirts, smothering and assaulting anyone who dared point to the multitude of contradictions, and pushing the clown car over the remainder of the course long after the battery had died.
When lockdowns began in Tennessee in March of 2020, political leaders and media apparatchiks castigated critics of the measures as “white supremacists” who were victims of their own stupidity and ignorance (in addition to being racist, fascist, etc.) Presumably, the “racist” part of that explains why, in the Summer of 2020, riots were given the pass as experts deemed systemic racism a greater health risk than Covid itself — an honor they've bestowed on no other illness or problem since. It's now abundantly clear that lockdowns posed a greater danger than the virus to the vast majority of people. Deaths of despair skyrocketed along with murder rates and basically every other cause of death you'd use to measure the health of a nation.
Meanwhile, the Left seamlessly pivoted from portraying itself as the party of bodily autonomy and anti-corporatism into its mirror opposite. Led along by a beguiling media machine that plied them with soft language one used to only hear in Pre-K, we witnessed abortion activists become fervent vaccinators and anti-corporate hippies don Pfizer face masks. Friends and family members who used to maintain polite political distance began to press and prod about vaccination statuses as if the world were about to collapse in on itself.
Hilariously, here we stand two years later and almost no one repeats these same talking points. There is still a simmering unease about future variants, but by and large, even the most zealous Covid adherents have decided they are ready to move on.
Of course, the authorities deserve the lion’s share of the blame. From conflating “dying because of Covid” with “dying with Covid” to advocating for mass inoculation regardless of vulnerability to putting face masks on toddlers, their Covid response was littered with poor decisions, miscalculations, and outright lies, very few of which will ever receive the proper rectification they should.
They silenced dissenting voices such as the scientists smeared for merely suggesting that we focus protection on the elderly and immunocompromised. Then, there was the Andrew Cuomo nursing home fiasco in New York which was disastrous specifically because he followed CDC guidelines to a tee. There were many more incidents and displays of cowardice and/or incompetence, but an exhaustive register of such incidents would fill the Vatican.
Here in Tennessee, we had school board chairs refusing to repeal mask mandates because it would be “openly political to do so,” journalists disparaging entire communities based on race and religion, and health officials gunning to undermine parental authority in order to vaccinate children against a virus they were at close to zero risk from.
Since then, politicians and the media have smoothly transitioned away from their anti-Science Covid positions and begun to adopt many of the positions we at The Pamphleteer have advocated for over the past year without any hint of remorse or acknowledgment that they had gotten it wrong.
So, in the spirit of putting the blame where it belongs and praising those who took flak for standing strong, we’re out to honor those who fought against the insanity and disparage the Tennesseans who bent the knee and displayed nothing short of cowardice.
Everyone likes to imagine that they’d be the lone dissenting voice in the crowd of Nazis, but very few actually are. Here’s to them that spoke up, and damn to those who think we’ll forget.
FLAT CURVER AWARD WINNERS
+ for the good. – for the bad. ⅹ for the ugly.
- – The Serial Child Masker Award goes to Federal Judge Ronnie Greer for keeping masks on kids against the Science and wishes of everyone in the state of Tennessee. (Read)
- ⅹ The Budding Swamp Creature Award goes to Chairman of the Hamilton County School Board Tucker McClendon for being in his 20s and refusing to unmask Hamilton County school children, showing all the tell-tale signs of a budding career politician who's already growing a tail. (Read)
- – The Best Case for Amazon Award goes to local bookstore Parnassus Books for moving out of the bookselling business and into the virtue signaling business full-time as soon as Covid-19 hit their radar. (Read)
- ⅹ The Factory Reset Award goes to Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson for implementing county-wide mask mandates, staying silent as Williamson County School Board meetings made national headlines, and hoping his constituents forget all about it. (Read)
- – The Doubting Thomas Award goes to Nashville's Christ Church Cathedral for following more closely the law of Fauci than the law of God. (Read)
- + The Title Belt Award goes to Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs for being among the nation's only mid-sized city mayors to stand up to Covid restrictions and the most likely to win were politics conducted in a wrestling ring. (Read)
- + The Cock of the Walk is Broadway barman Steve Smith for keeping his head when all about him were pecking at each other's necks and providing islands of normalcy for those of us who enjoy our freedoms. (Read)
- – The Biggest Predator is former Tennessee Department of Health employee Michelle Fiscus whose efforts to vaccinate Tennessee children behind their parent's backs creeped everyone out. (Read)
- + The Media Gadfly is Congressional candidate Robby Starbuck for being a strong and influential online personality who consistently held local and national media's feet to the fire throughout the Covid fever dream. (Read)
- – The Most Credentialed Buffoon is Sen. Dr. Col. Richard Briggs, MD whose credentials ebb and flow depending on the topic and against whom all other credentials fall short — if you were to take it from him. (Read)
- + The Most Colorful Commentator is Nashville hat store hatWRKS for their consistent and colorful commentary on Covid measures that brings life to an increasingly corporatized Nashville culture. (Read)
- – The Most Hazardous to the Environment is Nashville Council Member Joy Styles for obsessing over mask mandates in Nashville and wasting everyone's time thinking about how to oppose them. (Read)
- + The Most Effective Activist is Tennessee Stands' Gary Humble for igniting awareness of lazy Tennessee politicians who say one thing to voters and another thing in the chamber. (Read)
- ⅹ The Biggest Disappointment is Governor Bill Lee whose lukewarm response to Covid stood in stark contrast to what his campaign promised voters way back in 2018. (Read)
- + The Unsung Hero is Smith County Mayor Jeff Mason for protecting his constituents from over-bearing Covid restrictions while maintaining some of the lowest case and death counts in the entire state. (Read)
- – The Most Entrepreneurial is the Belcourt Theatre for flexing its fundraising muscles and nearly making ticket sales an obsolete measure of the theatre's performance. (Read)
- + For Having a Spine, we commend Rep. Jason Zachary for his efforts to champion legislation protecting individual rights outshone his colleagues. (Read)
- ⅹ For Having the Biggest Covid Boner, we commend Tennessean reporter Brett Kelman for writing sappy, derivative, and hysterical Covid coverage day after day while demonizing the majority of the state in the process because they "voted for Trump" or something. (Read)
- + For Being Ahead of the Curve, we commend Joey Hensley for his early efforts to prevent businesses from discriminating against customers and citizens on the basis of their vaccination status. (Read)
★ THE BEST INSTAGRAM FOLLOW
Goes to MUSIC CITY VENUE RATINGS (@musiccityvenueratings)
...for maintaining an excellent record of music venue Covid policies and providing suggestions for restriction-free shows, and additionally, for being fearless in the comments.
✸ THE DON'T TREAD ON ME AWARD
Goes to BOLD PATRIOT BREWING COMPANY
...for being among the first venues in Nashville to re-open without masking requirements and serving as an oasis of normalcy at the height of Covid tyranny. Not to mention the fact that a Patrick Henry Blonde Ale on a nice summer day can't be beaten.
☠︎ THE MOST BRAZEN DISSENTER
Goes to LEWIS COUNTRY STORE
...for doing as the Lewis Country Store has always done: pissing off all the right people just by existing and keeping the Communists away from Beaman Park Nature Center.
☂︎ THE BIGGEST VIRTUE SIGNAL
Goes to INDEPENDENT NASHVILLE MUSIC VENUES
...who asked, or continue to ask, for proof of vaccination. Many have since lifted their requirements or leave it up to the artist, but venues such as Dee's Country Cocktail Lounge, Third Man Records' Blue Room, and the East Room continue to require a vaxx pass at the door.
❄︎ THE MOST HUMILIATING POLICIES
Go to BONNAROO MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL
From their website for 2021's festival:
“The socially distanced, limited capacity shows feature eight-by-eight foot seating pods sold in four-ticket bundles. To mute the spread of Covid-19, showgoers must wear masks while traveling through concert grounds and concessions may be ordered via a mobile device.”
To get to your ‘pod,’ you were herded down a corridor of metal fencing that separated you from other pods and their own entry/exit ways. The only things missing were blank-eyed security goons wielding cattle prods.
﹅ THE MOST UNCOMELY ENFORCER
Goes to PILGRIMAGE MUSIC FESTIVAL
...for changing Covid protocols prior to 2021s festival with no warning, refusing to issue refunds to customers who bought tickets when the rules weren’t in place, and blocking ticket holders on social media who objected to the rules.
⬇ FOR REFUSING TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
We commend the SOUTHERN FESTIVAL OF BOOKS
...for canceling an event largely held outdoors that led to whiny local journalists further demonizing the unvaccinated.
➥ THE WATCHER OF THE WATCHMEN
Goes to the BEACON CENTER
...for pushing policy ideas and working with political leaders to craft legislation that will not tank the economy or make citizens feel as if they are locked in a glorified dog park.
THE BEST FROM ELSEWHERE
A collection of articles and essays we found sanity in over the course of the pandemic.
- 'Sweden’s inconvenient Covid victory' by Johan Anderberg in UnHerd (Read)
- 'Public Health Isn't a Science, It's a Religion' by Paracelsus in his Substack (Read)
- 'Corporate Medicine' by Paracelsus in IM-1776 (Read)
- 'Who should get vaccinated?' by Noah Carl in his Substack (Read)
- 'COVID Affects Your Memory' by Alex Gutentag in Tablet (Read)
- 'What They Did to the Kids' by Alex Gutentag in Tablet (Read)
- 'The War on Reality' by Alex Gutentag in Tablet (Read)
- 'The Plague of the Poor' by Alex Gutentag in Tablet (Read)
- A Brief History of Lockdowns: Parts I & II by eugyppius on his Substack (Pt. I $, Pt. II $)
- 'The Vaccines Don't Reduce Transmission' by eugyppius on his Substack (Read)