Now Nashville Is Snobby?



Travel & Leisure has decided we're the 13th snobbiest city in the nation.

Long before the Grand Ole Opry came to town, Nashville was known as the Athens of the South, with its well-heeled and distinctly un-hillbilly crowd.

Oh, lord, I laughed at this. You know who reads a sentence like this and dies a little of jealousy, I bet? Butch Spyridon. After all, who has done more to promote Nashville and who has never come up with a catch-phrase as, well, catchy as "The Athens of the South"? I mean, it's not like outsiders just decided we were the Athens of the South. The guy who was the President of the University of Nashville from 1825 to 1850, Philip Lindsley called Nashville "The Athens of the West," and it stuck. (Interestingly enough, we are not the only Athens of the South. Both Mobile and Marion, Ala., have fancied themselves as such.)

We're the kind of place that sends a boat full of hookers to Louisville, that spends much of the 1790s trying to channel Timothy Demonbreun's libido into useful, city-building activities — and by city-building, I mean doing diplomatic tasks for us, not knocking up all the women who walked within a 5 mile radius of him, though the man did his part to increase our numbers — and that lost a governor because his child bride wasn't that excited about having to touch his puss-y crotch wound (or so the story goes). But by god, when Philip Lindsley picked a classy marketing phrase for the city, it stuck, regardless of reality, and it even changed to fit us going from being the Western Frontier to the South.

So this idea that we're somehow now snobby tickles me. It feels like old Philip Lindsley somehow rewriting history from beyond the grave. I mean, let's be real: Our Bites colleague Lesley Lassiter is right. When most people think of Nashville, even now, even with all our good press, they're not thinking of a bunch of Southern Athenians. They're thinking of the Clampetts. And you can say a lot about Jed and Elly May, but not that they think too highly of themselves.

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