Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Aerial Development has a wishbone where it's backbone oughtta be

If you have spent any time online in the past few days and you live in Nashville, you have probably seen this video from Aerial Development Group. Take a few minutes and watch it.
If you didn't watch it, it feels like the outtakes from a Mumford and Sons video. Maybe from the third single from their record. You know, the single that no one really cares about? That one.

I saw the above video on a friend's Facebook page a few days ago and wasn't sure if it was parody. Turns out that it isn't. It is, however, representative of everything that is wrong with "New Nashville" summed up in three minutes of everything I hate. Except for the part where people drink wine. Wine is pretty ok. 

As this video started making the rounds, the real parodies started rolling in. Good ones, like the one that my friend Casey made -- I'd post a link to it but he received a cease and desist letter from Aerial's lawyers and had to take it down. Of course, this just raised the level of awareness of the above video and led to Casey being featured on Channel 4 news yesterday (which can be viewed here) and an interview with The Tennessean. And, my, how the vitriol has poured in for Aerial.

This Nashville depicted in Aerial's video is not the Nashville that I know and love. I've lived here for a decade (yes, I am a dreaded 'transplant') and have lived in three different houses on the east side. When I bought my house two years ago, I looked at buying in East Nashville but it was largely out of my price range. Nothing but tall and skinnies as a far as the eye can see.

The Nashville I know and love are the artists, the creatives, the people that work 50 hours a week so that they can have a studio in their home. The people that bounce around in a van, driving from state to state for questionable at best return on their investment. The people that rebuilt this city on rock and roll five years ago. 

A perfunctory googling (hmm... didn't think that was a word but it appears that it is) of Aerial Development will lead you down a rabbit hole that has been carefully cultivated. You'll find pop music houses for the masses and designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator of out-of-state Nashville soap opera viewers. If you're lucky and haven't been banned from their social media pages (like I seem to have been), you'll find Ikea's wet dream full of Edison bulbs and oh so perfect shelving units fashioned from reclaimed barn wood.

Times change, neighborhoods change, and people change. But the best way to change time, neighborhoods, and people is to let a time, neighborhood, and person do it intrinsically. 

You can't will a culture into existence, Aerial. You can't sell a dream to people who are already living theirs. You can't shut people up with by banning them from your social media (some of us are pretty smart and can get the information other ways). You can't cry when the other guy hits back. And you can't have a wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.