– Thomas Huxley
I am told that Augusta’s mayor and others were perturbed last week when Atlanta news media came to town and suggested in their dispatches that we had come up short in our ice storm reaction.
Well, Atlanta should know. Its own ice storm bungle turned our state into a national punch line.
Still, Atlanta is my hometown – the city where I grew up, learned to drive, saw the Beach Boys and Lynyrd Skynyrd and 125 Braves games. And for most of my six decades I have been alternately proud, amused, disappointed and confused at what the old railroad terminus can produce.
One thing it has often produced is mottos.
For years it successfully branded itself as “The City Too Busy To Hate,” which is pretty good, expressing both a sense of economic success and ethnic tolerance.
But someone wanted a new motto, so 20 years ago, I recall, its convention and visitors bureau came up with “Atlanta: Come celebrate our dream.”
It was a slogan that took more than two years to develop from 5,000 suggestions submitted by the public in preparation for the 1996 Olympics.
As slogans go, it lasted about as long as a Falcons winning streak.
I say that because I found a 2005 story in The New York Times making fun of another Atlanta motto hunt.
“Atlanta’s new slogan,” The Times reported, “unveiled by the city’s marketing arm last week: ‘Every Day Is An Opening Day.’”
To this, The Times responded, “Huh?”
The reporter went on to chide the silly Southerners who had spent $8 million on the campaign. For balance, she surveyed a bunch of Atlanta advertising execs who admitted that when you’re best known for a big airport and bad sports teams, it’s tough to come up with a good motto.
I disagree. I think it’s actually pretty easy to come up with a motto for Atlanta.
What do you think of these?
Atlanta: No job too small, no fee too big.
Atlanta: Northern charm, Southern efficiency.
Atlanta: BYOB (Bring your own body-chalk.)
Atlanta: SOS (Same Old Sodom)
Atlanta: New Gomorrah
Atlanta: If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the crime.
Atlanta: Traffic ’R Us.
Atlanta: The best government money can buy.
Atlanta: Home of the Georgia Legislature.
See, it’s easy.
Anyone can find fault with someplace else, which is why I don’t take it seriously when they find fault with us.
Just look where they came from.