Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Clay Risen Slanders Nashville

So The Atlantic's Clay Risen makes his "annual trek home" to Nashville, which is, by his lights anyway, "a surprisingly cool town."

He writes about something called Bacon Bourbon, which I have no opinion about. What did catch my eye was his derogatory mention of the first "tea party" convention that will be held in Nashville and this final passage:

Assuming the fad for all things bacon continues, expect to see more bars offering their own meat-infused potables in 2010. And then for once, maybe Nashville can be at the head of the pack for something other than right-wing loonies.

You know what bugs me about this? It's not the fact that he takes a cheap (and trite) shot at "tea party" people. I don't care about that. The problem for me is that here is someone who is apparently a Nashville native (or close to it) offering up an inaccurate impression of Nashville to his national (and generally--since we're talking about The Atlantic here--urbanite, cosmopolitan, politically center-left) audience. Politically speaking, Nashville is not Tennessee. It's much more like Austin, Texas: a very blue island in the middle of a giant red sea.

Take a look.

But you wouldn't know this from reading Risen's post. The takeaway from that for the average Atlantic reader is that Nashville is some bastion of right-wingerism (i.e., like the south overall), just because it's hosting some dippy convention. And I don't think that's fair. To Nashville or Atlantic readers.