an educational tour of the united states of america numero tres

as you may remember, i've been posting these crazy-rachel-morgan-version of state slogans that i wrote a few years back. this one is equally nutso. enjoy! xo!

Illinois – "Mile After Magnificent Mile." As a freshly minted Chicagoan, I'm proud to say that I know this slogan refers to the stretch of Michigan Ave. that has all the snobby shops, ritzy restaurants and upscale hotels. However, in my world, Chicago's "mile after magnificent mile" refers to its endless row of bars, clubs, pubs, saloons, taps, taverns, breweries, watering holes and beer gardens. It's amazing! Drunkenness beckons at every doorway, calling my name and tempting me with its sweet, sweet ambrosia! Mile after magnificent mile of cool, crisp, refreshing beer whispering, "Raaaaccchhheeeellll….. Drink me, Rachel. I'm so lonely without you… I need you, Rachel…" Sigh. Hats off to you, Illinois, for your mile after magnificent mile of debauchery and drunken fun.

Iowa – "Life Changing." Having been to the state of Iowa, I can assure you that when I entered the state, I was a short, bratty Jewish girl, and when I left Iowa, I was still a short bratty Jewish girl. What was supposed to change, exactly? Was I supposed to develop a sudden and uncontrollable craving for corn? Should I have given up my city girl lifestyle in the hopes of finding sweeter, simpler times tending to chickens on some godforsaken farm? Was I supposed to meet the man of my dreams over a bale of hay, get married in a small neighborhood church and pop out six kids before I'm thirty? Sorry, Iowa, but none of those things are going to happen – no matter how many times I visit your fine state. Ew, especially that part about all those babies.

Indiana – "Start Your Engines." Wow, Indiana. Your state slogan actually references an event featuring NASCAR drivers. Now, I'm not one to make sweeping generalizations, but when I think NASCAR, I think of guys with mullets and beer bellies and half-naked girls with bad highlights and too much lip liner. Ok, fine. I'm going to just go ahead and say it. ALL NASCAR fans are white trash. Its like written in the bible or something. Indiana, are you trying to advertise for yourself by saying that everyone in Indiana is a NASCAR lovin', toothpick chewin', wife beatin' white trash hick? Sure, that ploy might work with the people in West Virginia, but that's an even whiter, trashier state. PS: its not going to help your cause that Indiana is still a KKK stronghold. If there's anything more white trash than NASCAR, it's traipsing around in robes and ranting about the superiority of the white race.

Kansas – "As Big As You Think." I must say that I'm a little disappointed that Kansas didn't go with the schmaltzy, adorable, easy route here. Imagine if the Kansas slogan was, "There's No Place Like Home." How cute would that have been? Get it? Like from the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy clicks her heels together, says, "there's no place like home" a bunch of times and returns to Auntie Em on the farm in Kansas? That would have been so cute and might actually make me want to visit Kansas, unlike, "As Big As You Think." Basically, that slogan says, "there's a whole bunch of empty flat land in Kansas. In fact, there's even MORE nothing than some imagined!" Bad choice, Kansas. Everyone loves Dorothy (and her little dog too), so why not capitalize on the built-in audience of Judy Garland loving gays and little girls who aspire to be princesses rather than promising more nothing than one can fathom?

Kentucky – "Unbridled Spirit" I think the whole "unbridled" thing is supposed to reference horses and the fact that Kentucky has that big derby horse race thing. I don't know - I've never really been into the whole "hanging out at the racetrack" scene. However, there are two things I do know about Kentucky. One is that my mother's family is from there, and the other is that if my mother's family is any indication, the people of Kentucky could be accurately described as "Hill Folk." I'm not kidding. Some of my mom's favorite stories are about spending childhood summers with Grandpa Dewey, whose eye had been shot out and only wore overalls, and "Baby Grandma," "Fat Grandma" and Grandma Oda (don't ask why she had three grandmothers, two of whom were called by fake names – it's a long story). I specifically recall her fondness for reminiscing that "Fat Grandma" liked to wear dresses without underwear, so that if she was out and about and needed to pee, she could just squat and go right then and there. Yeah – explains a lot about the way I turned out, huh? Anyway, Kentucky, if that kind of stuff is what you're all about, own it. Try: "Kentucky: Whatever, We Pee Where We Want!"

Maine – "It Must Be Maine" The first thing I envisioned when I read this slogan was some Ponce de Leon type European explorer "discovering" Maine, infecting Native Americans with various diseases, sticking a "Maine" flag in the ground and happily sighing, "Ah… It Must Be Maine!" Like what is this slogan trying to say exactly? That the trees that grow in Maine are so distinct looking and unique that as soon as one crosses the New Hampshire/Maine border it is obvious, based on nothing more than appearances, that "it must be Maine?" In all fairness, I've heard that the Maine landscape is very beautiful – but is it really so distinctly "Maine" that it warrants such a distinguished slogan? Perhaps, "Maine: A Pretty Part of the Country" would be more fitting.

Maryland – "Seize the Day Off" Oooh, Maryland! I like this one! It sounds like my kind of state – where everyone takes the time to enjoy life and have some fun. I can picture it now; happy, sweatpants-wearing crowds dance through candy paved streets, drinking delightful beer and celebrating life. Citizens are granted three hundred vacation days a year, and employers often encourage employees to "seize the day off" whenever they just don't feel like working. It must be a place where people fight for their right to party, cheat on their diets, lounge lazily on the couch and enjoy afternoon cocktails Monday through Sunday. Maryland, if all of this is true, you should change your name to Heaven and expect to be bombarded with the entire population of the United States.

Massachusetts – "Make it Yours" For some reason all I can think about when I read this slogan is the way cracked-out Paula Abdul tells contestants on American Idol that they need to make the song their own. You know what I'm talking about. Paula sits there, her botox-injected eyes pulled open to give her an insanely wild look, wearing something ridiculous like eight flowers in her hair or a live tarantula on a chain to create "dramatic effect," and grinning like a crazy woman on speed. After a contestant performs, she'll clap awkwardly with her acrylic-tipped fingers pulled far away from each other so that the palms of her hands are the only part that touch, and she'll beam at the singer, wipe a faux tear from her eye, and say, "You really made that song your own." Apparently, Massachusetts is the Paula Abdul of the United States. When New York gets on stage and does his rendition of "New York, New York" exactly as Frank Sinatra would, Massachusetts shakes her head sadly and says, "You look great, tonight, but I need to see you make the song yours." But when Georgia gets up and unleashes the country version of "Georgia on My Mind," Massachusetts gives her a hysterically crying standing ovation and says, "Way to make it yours!" California, who is clearly the critical, snobby Simon Cowell of the country, looks at the teary mascara running down Massachusetts' face and tells Georgia that he thought her performance was "wretched." Ok, I officially have an overactive imagination.

Minnesota – "Explore Minnesota" Minnesota, this is definitely in the bottom ten state slogans when it comes to creativity. First of all, urging tourists to "explore Minnesota" really does not offer anything specifically tempting. Like, what am I going to find if I do indeed "explore Minnesota?" What if I only find a bag of dead rats and six pieces of dried, hard licorice? Although I sincerely doubt that's what I'd find in Minnesota, this slogan is so vague that I can't in good conscience cross it off the list of possibilities. Minnesota, do you see my point? How hard would it have been for you to offer something enticing to "explore?" Just saying, "explore me," is only appealing when its being said by someone really hot, naked and on your bed, and sorry, Minnesota, you're just not my type.

Mississippi – "Feels Like Coming Home" I think that Mississippi is trying to go for the whole Southern comfort, homey feel with this slogan, but it does not work for me. It may work for Elvis, who was born in a one room shack in Tupelo, Mississippi, but my time spent in Mississippi felt nothing like "coming home." While perusing the thirty variations of confederate flag and "Git R' Dun" t-shirts at the truck stop/gas station, at no point did I find myself saying, "Hmm… this feels just like home." I was not inspired to reminisce about my childhood while scanning through the radio stations and finding no options other than Christian talk and country classics. In all fairness, my encounter with the state of Mississippi was largely limited to the car and the road, but I can assure you that its impression in no way urged me to explore anything further, and certainly felt nothing like any home I was accustomed to. Mississippi, if you're looking for a boost in tourism, I'd suggest playing to your strength, which in this case, is obviously Elvis. Everyone loves The King. Try, "Mississippi: Birthplace of Elvis."

No comments: