The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cumberland Blues


Interstate 40 in Nashville today
Via tweetphoto.com user WSMVJoshDevine and weather.com

"No single event can be attributed to climate change but the dice are loaded so that certain types of events become more common", you know the drill...

Anyway, great swaths of Tennessee got over a foot of rain this past weekend, and the Cumberland looks to crest about fifteen feet above flood stage. There is major damage through Nashville and much of middle Tennessee.

There's a silver lining, though an off-topic one.

Having had the unforgettable experience of spending a couple of nights at Nashville's Opryland resort while Irene attended a conference there, I am not sorry to report that the abomination in question is significantly damaged. My sympathies to the innocent victims who were staying there, as I did, out of ignorance or curiosity or some business reason, (who were rounded into the conference rooms, then shipped off to cots in high school auditoriums without their possessions; I hope any foreigners, especially those planning to extend their visit to Arizona, eventually get their passports back...) but I have little sympathy for Opryland itself.

The name "Opry" was originally a mockery of the town's opera-aspiring blue-bloods, who did not want their city becoming a center for a raucous and informal folk music. Now it's become a mockery of the original mockery.

The owners, "Gaylord", are putting a brave face on it and promising to reopen in several months, but perhaps the fates will extract some rough justice from this event, and the monstrosity will be irretrievably damaged. Then country music may go back to being a genuine folk culture rather than an overwrought pastiche of itself.

Update: Joe Romm has more, including a remarkable video and the amazing fact, via Jeff Masters, that as of May 2, this is the wettest May on record in Nashville.

5/5 Interesting Update at Sully's. "Stinko de Mayo".

Update August 9 2010: Hot link to Opryland picture no longer works, removed.

3 comments:

Steve Bloom said...

All that photo needs to complete it is a black swan.

I haven't checked detailed coverage, but I assume there must be some pretty big uninsured losses. A lesson for some, perhaps.

VicDiesel said...

I take issue with that "abomination". In its own overdone way it's glorious. Maybe having a river flow through a hotel is a bit much, but the gardens are great to walk through.

Michael Tobis said...

You aren't going to win me over on this one, Vic.

For some reason there is a market for big tourist destinations that exist only because they are tourist destinations. Call me a grouch but the glitz, the falseness, the cheapness of the surrounding neighborhoods, the inaccessibility of anything resembling civilization, the cheesy and pathetically grandiose architecture, the coarse displays of bling, the military precision of the entertainments, the commercialism, the carefully glossed over classism, the celebration of waste and overconsuption, the lack of a decent magazinbe rack never mind an honest bookstore for God's sake, the implicit corporatization of all that is human, it just happens that those things don't appeal to me all that much.

Ski resorts, beach resorts, cruise ships, casinos, Disney resorts, all of them intrude into the life of the academic who'd rather attend conferences in some two bit town that still has a shred of authenticity, say like Kingsport TN or Eau Claire WI but end up shunted to Kissimmee. So I know whereof I speak.

But of all those places, none compares in its gilded shabbiness and shallowness to Opryland, may it rest in peace, please and thanks.

I guess it's a matter of taste. Some people like air conditioned gardens I suppose. In case you didn't gather, they don't do much for me.