Friday, November 11, 2005
Start Spreadin' the News
Atlanta has a new theme song, and catchphrase. Never being a fan of theme songs --- save for "Good Times," "What's Happening?" and, the gold standard, "Sanford and Son" --- or slogans, I'm naturally inclined to badmouth the endeavor.
The song, "The ATL" (written by Dallas Austin), has stirred resentment among those who pine for the days when downtown was ruled by Lester Maddox and his ax handle. It's, gasp, hip hop, and features such dangerous lyrics as "I love the A T L ... More than any other place I've been around the world." In other words, it sounds like something Will Smith would write.
The slogan, meanwhile, borrows a baseball metaphor: "Atlanta: Every Day is an Opening Day." Take out the "an" and you might have something. The baseball reference is just coincidence, of course, but that won't stop me from greeting every visitor I meet with a hearty: "Welcome to the ATL, where every day is an opening day." "Opening day for what?" they may ask. "Well, for instance, today is the one month anniversary of IKEA's opening day."
It's impossible to be anything but cynical about such in-your-face boosterism. City leaders figured the ATL needed a theme song because, well, New York, Chicago and San Francisco have one (none of which were commissioned by the local chambers of commerce). Has anyone ever decided to visit a city based on the quality of their theme song? If that's the case, then New York, Chicago and San Francisco have nothing to worry about.
Besides, couldn't this money have been used to satisfy one of the mayor's campaign promises (from four years back)? Still plenty of potholes on my street, Mayor Franklin. Hey, there's something:
"Atlanta: The City with No Potholes." Now that piques my interest, but then again, "They say Atlanta is where you go to become your dreams."
Pictured: Atlanta's 1996 Olympic mascot, Whatizit