Marketing. Selling yourself. Getting people to want to know more about you.
I am good at none these things.
Neither, as it turns out, are most cities.
States and cities spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (yes, really) coming up with slogans that will make people say, “Gee, I would like to go spend some money in this place called Sevierville, Tennessee!”
Some slogans are awesome, like “Keep Austin Weird.” Some are catchy, like “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” And some are truly terrible. Because the truly terrible are my bread and butter, I would like to share with you a list of my favorites.
1. Fresno, California: “Smile When You Say That.”
This Fresno slogan from 2000 is my pick for “Most Threatening City Slogan.”
And speaking of threatening…
2. Detroit, Michigan: “It’s a great time in Detroit.”
To get shot.
Did you know that when you Google “Is Detroit safe to visit”, the #1 answer is this: “If you go downtown to like 6 mile or 8 mile and you a not in a gang you better stay home or someone will cap you in the ass.”
In fact, just last year, the police in Detroit held a rally that they called, “Detroit: Enter At Your Own Risk.” That was the police, y’all.
3. Devine, Texas: “Where the name says it all.”
What it says is “illiteracy”, because that is not how you spell “divine.”
4. Redwood City, California: “Climate Best By Government Test.”
…in 1925. Yes, Redwood City still hangs its hat on a climate survey that claimed it had one of the three best climates in the world, along with the Canary Islands and North Africa.
Listen — climate surveys don’t bring in tourists. I say we bring this slogan up to the 30’s with something like, “Don’t get all wet! Have a clam-bake with a cinder dick who’s cute as a bug’s ear in Redwood City!”
5. San Juan Capistrano, California: “Where the Swallows Return.”
Every March, San Juan Capistrano gets overrun by swallows returning from Goya, Argentina. They fly for 30 days, eating an estimated 1,000 insects a day, and end up in this city where they build mud nests in the ruins of an old church.
Come visit, won’t you?
6. Leavenworth, Kansas: “The Great Escape”
HA! Get it? Because PRISON.
7. Creede, Colorado: “There Is No Night In Creede.”
Sweet jesus! What do you mean there’s “no night” there?! What kind of eternal sun-lit hell is going on in Colorado?! Oh, you’re talking about during the Gold Rush, when people mined all day and night trying to find gold in Creede. Ok. Gotcha. Maybe you could clarify that a little bit, then? Maybe something like, “There’s no night in Creede when you’re trying to feed your family!” Or, “There’s no night in Creede for toothless old men panning a river!”
8. Ormond Beach, Florida: “The Birthplace Of Speed.”
Which kind of speed is that, exactly? Because I’d believe either one…FLORIDA.
9. Villisca, Iowa: “Living With A Mystery.”
Hey, that sounds interesting! What kind of mystery? Oh, just a “hey, who chopped up that family with an ax” kind of mystery. Yes, Villisca’s claim to fame is The Ax Murder House. This home, where an entire family was murdered with — wait for it — an ax in 1912 has been preserved, and is open for tours and overnights! And if ax murders aren’t quite your speed, then check out Villisca’s home page, where you can watch a slideshow of a house burning down that was filled with toys being donated to poor children!
Villisca! Where joy goes to be murdered.
10. Owensboro, Kentucky: “Progress 1817.”
Owensboro, listen carefully. I am speaking to you from the year 2013. You seem to be missing some words from your city nickname. Perhaps the words “no” and “since.”
11. Athol, Massachusetts: “Tool Town.”
Well, then. I consider myself warned.
12. Lone Rock, Wisconsin: “Coldest Spot in the Nation (With the Warmest Heart.)”
Good to know. I shall warm my frostbitten hands with your warm, pulsating heart.
13. Winnemucca, Nevada: “City of Paved Streets.”
Well, la-de-fucking-da! We’re from Winnemucca! We’ve got pavement, y’all! Bring your babies and leave the carseats at home — smooth riding here, motherfuckers!
14. Thomasville, North Carolina: “Chair City.”
Have a seat in Chair City! Want to put your feet up? We’ll give you another chair! Because that’s what we have. Chairs.
15. Charleston, South Carolina: “The Big Sweet Grass Basket.”
P.S. This is also a nickname for my vagina.
16. Waco, Texas: “The Buckle of the Bible Belt.”
…and the zipper of the south.
17. Bear Creek, Wisconsin: “Home of the World’s Largest Sauerkraut Plant.”
Come visit during the summer, when the aroma of sauerkraut is at its most eye-watering and intense. It’s made of cabbage, you know.