NJ search for a new motto  

redmustang91 57M  
8744 posts
12/27/2005 8:05 am

Last Read:
8/27/2007 9:22 am

NJ search for a new motto

New Jersey is searching for a new state motto. apparently the garden state is too old fashioned. They don't want to emphasize the many old chemical factories and toxic waste or the gangster corruption angle. As a Sopranos fan I propose:

NJ, badda bing!

Another one: NJ, everything you could want, and more! (This has the secret toxic waste site angle covered!)

Your suggestions?

New Jersey Sifts the Ways to Put Its Best Motto Forward
NEWARK - "New Jersey: We've Got Three Really, Really Big Roads" apparently failed to capture the joys of driving to Atlantic City. "New Jersey: What's That Smell?" seemed downright mean. And would "New Jersey: You Got a Problem With That?" really attract tourists?

Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey officially rejected all of these slogans - and many more - before unveiling five finalists in the state's tagline contest last week. He said he believed the five were as majestic, charming and light-hearted as New Jersey itself.

Two of those slogans seemed to tilt toward romance - "New Jersey: Love at First Sight" and "New Jersey: The Real Deal." Mr. Codey said he wanted the finalists to reflect the state's "big heart" and "passion for life."

"If nothing else," he added, "it should get us a second date."

And yet, if the final five slogans are a Rorschach test, New Jersey, despite its nickname "The Garden State," does not seem to have fully overcome its awkward struggle with low self-esteem. Residents said that the three other finalists - "New Jersey: Come See for Yourself," "New Jersey: Expect the Unexpected" and "New Jersey: The Best Kept Secret" - open the state to a wide range of stinky or driving or "Sopranos" jokes, which are already far too common among visitors and bad comedians.

Paul Sychangco, 40, a doctor in Rutherford who was shopping in Secaucus, warned against slogans that play off the state's already soiled image as the scruffy neighbor to dolled-up New York.

"They should stay away from self-deprecation, because if they do it, everyone else will," he said. "It's O.K. to make fun of yourself - but once you become a national joke, that's not good."

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the director of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, said the slogan should be inviting. "You want a slogan that immediately says to people, 'Come and visit New Jersey, and what a great experience you will have,' " she said. "It shouldn't be something that says, 'Let's audition for late-night television.' "

Nonetheless, New Jerseyans seemed to have an easier time finding punch lines for the five slogans than deciding on a winner, which they can do by phone at (609) 984-9893 or online at www.nj.gov/slogan. In interviews, many said that the finalists - picked by the governor from a pool of 100 semifinalists chosen from nearly 8,000 submissions - were bland and in need of a few local amendments.

In downtown Newark, China Simmons, 19, a student at Essex County College, and her grandmother, Linda Woodley, 54, made jokes about "New Jersey: The Best Kept Secret." They worried about what might be hidden, especially in a state where one of the most powerful political fund-raisers, Charles Kushner, pleaded guilty to witness tampering, tax evasion and making illegal campaign contributions in connection with a scheme to videotape a New York prostitute he hired to seduce his brother-in-law.

"Anything that's a secret is probably bad," Ms. Simmons said, standing in the cold outside a Conway.

"It's like our gay governor," said Ms. Woodley, referring to James E. McGreevey, who declared himself a "gay American" last summer. "I don't have a problem with his being gay, but it sure was a New Jersey secret."

Several people also toyed with what visitors might discover if they came to see New Jersey for themselves and were to "expect the unexpected." Some said they would most likely run up against the state's high insurance rates and property taxes. Others predicted heated encounters with drivers who beep their horns at the first sign of a green light, and perhaps, in the cities, violent crime.

"When a person says 'unexpected' in my neighborhood, everyone says, 'Uh-oh, what's that mean?" said Julius Simmons, 31, who was hawking DVD's on Market Street here. Since outsiders already have a negative image of New Jersey, he said, some of the slogans "might give people the wrong idea."

Even the two sentimental taglines, evoking the cherished "I Love New York," seemed ripe for humor. Darrell Armstrong, 28, who was on Broad Street here with a smile and friendly banter as he sold hats, gloves and stuffed bears, took one look at the list of finalists and laughed.

" 'Love at first sight,' " he said. "Yeah right, until you find out how expensive it is to live here. It's definitely not a deal."

Like many people in New Jersey, Mr. Armstrong said he doubted that any of the slogans would bring many more tourists to New Jersey. That would be just fine with Mark DeMarco, 49, a shopper at the Mall at Mill Creek in Secaucus. "We have enough people here as it is," he said. "You ever try to put a towel down on the beach at Atlantic City?"

Other residents, however, observed that the slogans' supposed flaws were somehow appropriate because they allow for interpretation. New Jersey, they said, is characterized less by an individual city, like Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, or a specific tourist destination, like Cape Cod. What sets the state apart is its range of places to visit - from beaches to orchards - and its attitude.

This is a place where people rarely put on airs, where they shout from car windows, gobble pizza while wearing a tuxedo, sing and joke about getting out even as they fondly recall why they have stayed home.

The state slogan, said Norah Beckman, 31, a waitress in North Bergen, would not be New Jersey's if it was not a self-deprecating conversation starter. "There should be a black humor in it," she said, "an in-your-face kind of thing. It's a Jersey thing - as long as it's not 'fuhgeddaboutit.' That's overdone."

SilkenKiera 37F  

12/27/2005 8:37 am

Yeah I heard that NJ is doing that. Im from PA living in DE and my mother is from NJ by way of Philly. I have some mottos in mind but none the Govornment would be interested in!

redmustang91 57M  
8605 posts
12/27/2005 9:12 am

Tell us anyway for entertainment!

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