Sloganeering is a dangerous business. It's not just that some work and some don't. It's that even the greatest slogan can, under the right circumstances, backfire on you.
Take the one adopted as the city's official motto by Mayor Martin O'Malley six months ago. The one showing up on bus benches all over town: "Baltimore: The Greatest City in America." To the mayor, it's all about the vision thing: Maybe we're not there yet, but if we can see it, we can be it. But others want more evidence. They still remember that old Kurt Schmoke classic: "Baltimore: The City That Reads."
As a result, the mayor has taken a few shots, including a few in yesterday's Sun, which published suggestions solicited from readers for an alternative slogan for the city. Among them: "Baltimore: Actually, I Like It," "Dodge City of the East," "Duck, Hon" and "Two Stadiums, No Libraries."
Well, turnabout is fair play. Through his Web site and an online newsletter, O'Malley has gathered his own suggestions for a new slogan -- but this time for The Sun. The mayor didn't exactly criticize the paper's longtime motto, "Light for All." But he suggested that his readers (which include business and community leaders, City Hall employees and his own staff) come up with "A New Slogan for a New Century" to better serve the hometown paper.
So, in the interests of equal time, here are some of the slogans suggested for The Sun, as published in various categories on the mayor's Web site:
* The Greatest City In America's Newspaper
* The Greatest Daily Newspaper In Baltimore
* Great News For A Great City
* Have You Seen Our New Lobby?
* We Use Literally Tons Of Paper
"Lack of newspaper
* A Monopoly Is A Terrible Thing -- Unless You Have One
* Your Newspaper. You Have No Choice.
* The Sun: Everything Is Beneath Us
* Heat, Not Light
* Apparently, Nothing Good Happens Here
"Quality and objectivity"
* Yesterday's News -- Today
* Everything Revolves Around Us
* Fish Don't Deserve This
"I think our first contest was a success," O'Malley said of the results, "although some of our entrants seem to have forgotten their mothers' admonishment: 'If you can't say anything nice ...' I hope this exercise will prove productive for our friends at The Sun as they consider striking out in new directions."