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Wed
14
Apr '10

How to Undersell Your City

The City That Reads

The City That Reads or The City That Bleeds?

SUBMITTED BY: Jonathan Willis    LOCATION: Baltimore, Maryland

Before you jump on the branding buffoons who came up with Baltimore’s “City That Reads” advertising slogan, take note that the city’s intelligentsia mocks it, too.

Noting the high murder rate and births out of wedlock, locals have suggested that “The City That Bleeds” or “The City That Breeds” might be more appropriate. Particularly cruel is “The City That Reads …. at a Third Grade Level.”

And Baltimore’s alternative weekly newspaper, City Paper, weighs in with this gem: “More Literate than Akron.”

If that one ever sticks, Akron will have to shell out for a branding consultant.

Our TTP model Jonathan notes that his home city would have been better off calling itself “The City That Writes,” bragging about spawning literary legends Edgar Allan Poe and H.L. Mencken.

“But I’ll settle for anything that keeps the focus on the disconnect between being a poor city in a wealthy state,” he says. “Irony wrapped in kitsch is the only way to go.”

(Jonathan Willis is a public school English teacher who believes in the power of reading.)

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