On the one hand, the people are attractive, the food is excellent, and tonight I’m going to see an outdoor performance of “The Taming of the Shrew.” You know, classy.
On the other hand, there’s the Nashville Parthenon.
The Parthenon is a life-size replica of THE Parthenon. I know this seems confusing, so here’s a little help:
Athens Parthenon: Built from limestone and marble in the 5th century BC.
Nashville Parthenon: Built from wood, plaster and brick in 1897, rebuilt in concrete in beginning in 1920.
Athens Parthenon: built to honor the goddess Athena
Nashville Parthenon: built to honor the 100th anniversary of Tennessee’s entry into the Union (it was a year late).
Athens Parthenon: “the most perfect Doric temple ever built.”
Nashville Parthenon: an exact concrete copy of “the most perfect Doric temple ever built.”
Fun bonus fact: the poet Randall Jarrell, who grew up in Nashville, posed for the statue of Ganymede on the replica’s frieze at age 6.
(I have a weakness for life-size replicas of cultural treasures constructed out of inferior materials: This spring, my sister and I made a pilgrimage to Virginia’s Foamhenge, which is — really, you can probably guess — a life-size foam replica of Stonehenge.)
Next up: Andrew Jackson, a duel, and a freshly dug-up body.