American Values from Leigh Johnson on Vimeo.
What do we Americans value? Dr Leigh Johnson, philosophy professor at Rhodes College in Memphis, asked volunteers to tell her.
Last April, Across Tennessee published a collection of some of the viral videos of the Volunteer State.
But one thing that happens in the world of the internet.. There is always more!!
In September, Nashville star Carrie Underwood responded-positively- to a 12-year-old’s sign asking “will you be my first kiss?”
What a year it was when the words “gangnam,” “Pussy Riot” and “Honey Boo Boo” entered the vocabulary?
The Weather Channel had showed the heat index of 106 on a recent Thursday afternoon in Nashville. Another check showed Death Valley, California was more comfortable. But heat indexes were not slowing down the children as the allure of tree houses kept young visitors running, climbing, exploring and discovering through Cheekwood Gardens.
The trail to Grotto Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a popular hike for families. It was also a nostalgic visit for me, as I last walked that trail in 1974 with my family and a friend’s family. I still remember it was impressive to the nine-year-old me who was more interested in things like seeing a shrunken head at Gatlinburg’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum then the grandeur of the mountains. And for the forty seven year old me, the falls were just as impressive.
Morgan Jon Fox’s film “This is What Love in Action Looks Like” shows a clash of cultures in Memphis
This is part 2 of a two part series. Part 1 is available here
Jaz Gray remembers films in school were a mixed blessing. “I remember in college and in high school, which was only a few years ago, when the teacher said ‘we are going to watch a film’ on one hand you were excited because you were thinking ‘at least I don’t have to do some work’ but on the other hand you knew it was going to be boring. When the lights go out some fall asleep,” Gray aspires for more. “For me a documentary is the opposite of that experience.”
This is part 1 of a 2 part series. Part 2 can be read here.
In Fall, 1988 Memphians got excited when Great Balls of Fire, a big budget bio-pic on Jerry Lee Lewis started filming in Memphis. Just few months earlier (but released later), Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train was a love letter to the corner of GE Patterson and Main. They were not the first films shot in the Bluff City, but still something was different from earlier productions. Hollywood discovered the area for the classic Hallelujah released in 1928. Decades later, the very forgettable Making the Grade was released in 1984 along with bits and pieces of other films. But in the late 1980’s Memphians were speculating now Hollywood was discovering the area and its look that was like no other.
It would be a lifetime to hit all of the trails in Sevier County, better known as Greater Gatlinburg. The trails offer a communion with nature, a fitness challenge and just plain adventure.
The point of this web magazine is to document the good and bad of Tennessee. But national attention recently has focused on the negative. Tennessee has been the epicenter in the “culture war” as to issues like same sex marriage. The state was also covered extensively over the murder and kidnapping of the Bain family of Hardeman County where two were killed and two were rescued. So here are some of the good things which are not necessarily exclusive to Tennessee but still some positives. In no special order:
We get them in our in boxes, from Facebook Friends and Twitter- well not sure what you call people you follow on Twitter- but you have them to thank or blame. They are the flash mobs dancing to The Sound of Music, laughing babies, funny pets and almost all other subjects imaginable.
They are the viral videos and what the hulu hoop was to the 1950′s, disco to the 1970′s, these are the fad of this generation. It is hard to remember a time before You Tube and Vimeo.. you know, like ten years ago. But today they are home to some creativity often done solely for the desire to get one’s creativity out there. It is not without controversy as Edward Greenberg, a New York, New York intellectual property lawyer, called “possessing the fatal flaw many artists have which is the overriding desire to be liked.” Creativity becomes harder and harder to be a career as so many people do it for free. Steven Spielberg and James Cameron may not be nervous, but just ask that communications major who wants to create WITH OUT needing two other jobs.
Controversy or not, video sharing is not going away. So here are a few vistas of Tennessee through the eyes of YouTube and others.
Harold (not his real name ) was intoxicated and in the Shelby County jail – “the 201” locals call it – at 201 Poplar in Downtown Memphis on January 17, 2002. It was not his first time in lockup, nor was it his first time being intoxicated. He started drinking roughly five times a week in high school and now was in his mid-thirties. “I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I tried quitting a ton of times but I didn’t know how.” He knew that it was time for a change and this time was different. It was to be his last drink.
But could one of the area’s most annoying plants become a weapon in the arsenal of people like Harold, fighting that feeling of what he describes as “ you don’t want ever to take another drink but you don’t know how you are not going to?” According to traditional Chinesse medicine, the ubiquitous kudzu plant can be used to fight alcoholism.