Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's a words worth?

Wisconsin's new state slogan, is pissing some people off which is just further proof that we have been conditioned to respond by getting pissed off any time a government entity ever does anything. Sure, it's stupid, empty and utterly meaningless but so what? For one thing, nobody goes or doesn't go anywhere based on a slogan. Not one person has ever chosen to honeymoon in Virginia just because it's for lovers nor has anyone ever gone to Alabama for wonder sharing (although there probably are quite a few people who went to Colorado with the intention of entering a higher state). For another thing, we encounter stupid, empty, utterly meaningless slogans all the time and we don't even flinch. Unlike numbers, words don't seem to have the power they once did. We can't just write some numbers on a piece of paper and say "this is how much money I have" without serious consequences (this is actually a fairly recent development).
But in the case of words, you can throw out a declarative statement that says absolutely nothing, to which people can only respond by going, "umm, okay" and that's all that will happen. Here are some examples:

  • The new slogan that's created all the controversy in Wisconsin is "Live like you mean it". If I'm not already doing that, which I thought I was, I have no clue how to go about it. is the answer in Wisconsin? Do I have to go there to find out? Maybe that's what they're trying to say. Sorry, Wisconsin is a fine place but I while I like mottoes to mean something, I prefer they be slightly less cryptic than a David Lynch movie.

  • The slogan that's being replaced in Wisconsin is "Life's so good". Yeah, I see now why people are so upset. That's soooo much more meaningful.

  • The slogan for Superbowl XLIII (played here in Tampa) was "Believe in now." Like there's an argument against that. And if you wanted to refuse to acknowledge the existence of the present, how would you even do it? Think about it.

  • "It is what it is". Wow. That's really deep. I didn't know community college offered degrees in philosophy.

  • "Take it to the next level". There are 52,500,000 results for this phrase on Google. I guess it means to improve something, which is fine. My question is, why screw around with levels? Why don't we skip the next level, and the ones after that, if there are any, and go right to the top? When somebody tells me they're taking it to the next level, I don't think they're elevating their performance, I think they're demonstrating just enough incremental improvement to not be called on it. Somebody can say they're taking their alcohol abuse rehab to the next level by only getting drunk five nights a week instead of six and that would be a completely true statement.

  • The apartment complex where I live was owned by a company that had a stupid slogan posted at the entry; "Raising the level of living." Now that the company has gone El Foldo, the sign has been removed (see below; apparently, the grass isn't being watered anymore either). I'm glad because that sign always bugged me. Did they mean improving the quality of life? Because I don't really consider a yearly re-painting of the laundry room followed by going out of business and leaving the complex staff unpaid and hundreds of renters with signed leases in a state of limbo to really be steps taken to accomplish that lofty goal.


Ruprecht said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruprecht said...

Rupe read about the new Wisconsin slogan and shook his head.

Rupe was in an interesting mood when he read this on the news, so his interpretation was a bit skewed as to its meaning.

"Live Like You Mean It". 'Nother words, if'n you aren't "living like you mean it", stay out of Wisconsin. If'n you aren't "living like you mean it", Wisconsin doesn't want you. Or you might as well go live somewhere like D.C. ("The Hollywood For Ugly People"), California with all it's fruits and nuts or Idaho where they tolerate those that aren't "living like they mean it".

How rude of Wisconsin!

Is that the impression one wants of this fine state, cheese supplier to the country?!? You're right in stating there's something about being less cryptic than Lynch. Maybe if one moved there - within the states sloganic specifications, of course - one might find out.

Thing is: It's not the state's fault for all this controversy ....

.... it's the asshats therein.

Eat More Gouda .............. Ruprecht

Why, it's Clark! said...

You're tellin' me, Rupe! I LOVE the great state of Wisconsin. In fact, if I didn't live here, there's about a 33% chance I'd be living there.

PS: Love the D.C. subtitle. Consider it stolen.

Writing like I mean it...