Amazing how new city slogans are popping up everywhere, now that everyone’s making up more.
The other day I was driving down the avenue when someone pulling very slowly out of a liquor store saw me coming, and without stopping, or speeding up, or flipping me off or waving a gun, pulled right out in front of me.
“Columbus,” I thought: “We Only Look Backward Because We Just Pulled Out in Front of You.”
Not so catchy, is it? Not like “We do amazing.”
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This amazing new Columbus slogan is generating a lot of buzz. People just can’t stop raving about it, like in these actual quotes from Facebook and Reddit:
“Is it a slogan or a threat? It looks like a ransom note.”
“2006 called, they said thanks for the new Myspace profile font.”
“You look at the logo and cringe and then you see the slogan and just get angry.”
“Someone needs to stop drinking unfiltered water from the river.”
“Kudos to the first grader who came up with the design and wrote the slogan.”
“Looks like a logo for a daycare.”
I could go on, because I collected such comments by pasting them onto a Word document and printing it out, and the sheaf of paper’s a half-inch thick.
One of the more thoughtful criticisms that uses no profanity is this: “Amazing” is so generic an adjective it’s meaningless, and even if it sounds trendy, it’s bound to go out of style.
People may enjoy shouting “Amazing!” or “Awesome!” right now, often in reference to matters so mundane they are neither, but eventually that’s going to get old, and then maybe they’ll move on to “B” words. (“Beautiful!” “Bewitching!” “Bodacious!”)
Some logo critics so hate the design they never get to the words. If you get bored, post the emblem on Facebook and say you like it, and watch the condemnation pour forth.
Some people had a similarly visceral reaction to Columbus’ old slogan, “What Progress Has Preserved,” which could be fraught with contradictory evidence. Like you could image local dignitaries announcing a new project up by City Mills, with one saying, “This public-private-partnership truly exemplifies ‘What Progress Has… .’ Hey, didn’t an 1869 corn mill used to be over there?”
“Yeah, what happened to the Horace King corn mill?” asks another.
That mill was demolished before anyone noticed. Then the Bibb Mill and the Mott house burned down, so that didn’t help, either.
Beyond outrage, a new city slogan always triggers a barrage of proposed alternatives, most of them right off the cuff. (“Columbus: We’re off the cuffs!”)
Like, why not something reflective of our computer acumen? (“Columbus: Your toolbar to success.” “Columbus: Get between our spreadsheets!”)
Or our many recreational amenities: “The splash pad in your pocket park.” “Take a swing at our softballs!” “We have a lot in commons!” “Our zipline can’t be undone.”
Or to our leisure lifestyle: “It’s hammock time!”
Or to incoming attractions: “Gateway to Westville.”
Or something related to our vibrant downtown university theater scene, perhaps alluding to the “Wizard of Oz: “Cougars and Trojans and Bars! Oh my!”
Or our Confederate mythology: “Where John Pemberton invented the last Coke bottle of the Civil War.”
Or our many footraces: “Columbus: You’d better run!”
Or our downtown traffic lights: “Georgia’s red light district.”
Or it could refer to things we don’t want to talk about: “Off the table.”
Or to anything related to whitewater: “We love to paddle!” “No dam way!” “Catch our ‘hoochee-coochees!”
Or it could celebrate our Southern cooking: “Grits and chicken.” “Burgers and brew.” “Taters and ’cue.” “Cooters and deer.”
Some people believe the city should reject this new “We do amazing” slogan, and try something else. But so far it’s here to stay – until we go out and get another one.
“Columbus: Our Options Are Always Open.”