As an official non-mayor of Carmel, I never cease to be amazed at the unintended humor in our civic monuments. I’m not just talking roundabout sculpture here. Think, a moment, about the Palladium.
Originally a shrine dedicated to a nymph named Pallas, the Palladium housed an idol carved by Athena, goddess of wisdom, handicraft and warfare. It memorialized her playmate, Pallas, accidentally killed when the two played war.
That palladium guarded Troy and, later, Rome from disaster, legend had it. Troy fell 13 times before being abandoned about the Year 500. You know how it worked out for Rome.
Today, our Palladium website boasts: “The Palladium will last 500 years or more, creating a legacy that will be passed along to our children and grandchildren for generations to come.”
The 91 percent idle edifice “offers a timeless elegance and an unparalleled setting for attending world-class entertainment.”
This year’s timeless elegance features the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band at prices of $89 and up to fill 1,600 uncomfortable seats. An on-line shopping service offers a new MP3 player for $3.70 and the 50th anniversary album for $14.98. Shipping could be extra.
But, for those with more dollars than sense, you’ll have lots of company in the Mausoleum of Music, by my reckoning. Scott Hall, Palladium press contact, recently objected to “mausoleum.” He said it insult to the good folks with whom he works. Point taken. Mausoleum workers have thin skins.
Okay, then, it’s the Stonehenge of Song. Either way, the $175 million eyesore could have been replaced by the Mt. Rushmore Memorial ($1 million in 1940) and the St. Louis Arch ($13 million in 1965), or $17.8 million and $104 million, respectively.
That would leave $ 53.2 million to pay off Palladium debt and a whole bunch of MP3 players and CDs “that will be passed along to our children and grandchildren for generations to come.”
One final note:
Palladium is also a chemical element, No. 46. It is rare, lustrous and part of the (pricey) platinum group. Its prime use is in catalytic converts to make exhaust fumes less harmful.
Be careful around it, though. It is poorly absorbed by the human body and high doses could be poisonous.