Thursday, October 21, 2010
The striped curtains of my hotel room perfectly mirror the pillars of the Nashville Parthenon (c.f. Altman's movie) - which was erected in 1876 to celebrate the nation's first centenary. Ah, all that Greekness - certainly USC is still jumping up and down celebrating the Reign of Troy (probably a good thing that they are taking part in earthquake drills - a quick check shows that Troy VI - probably the one before Homer's Troy - was destroyed around 1300 BC by an earthquake). This Parthenon was actually somewhat late in the day: Jefferson got the craze going, it would seem, through owning a copy of The Antiquities of Athens, associating Greek architecture with democracy, and then appointing Benjamin Latrobe as surveyor of public buildings in 1803 - who went on to design a whole lot of major Greek Revival buildings - and then Latrobe's pupils continued the fashion. Sometimes it breaks my heart to think of all those early ideals poured into the country (and yes, I'm saying that whilst acknowledging all the contradictions that were rolled up into the very being of Jefferson).