Jersey Gets a Slogan

05/25/2011 11:50 am ET
  • John Leo Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

New Jersey pride is hard to express, but I think the new official state slogan has finally done the trick: "New Jersey: come see for yourself." I think we can all agree that this goes to the heart of our state's variety and dynamism. Among the things you outlanders can see for yourselves are the city of Camden, the famed Mafia burial sites in the Pine Barrens, the Joyce Kilmer rest stop and the unforgettable nighttime scenery along the Jersey Turnpike, which, as Josh Greenfeld once helpfully pointed out, "looks like the back of an old radio."

The new slogan is clearly far better than the limp official slogan some oaf dreamed up in the 70s: "New Jersey's Got it!" My own helpful suggestion to add a few words, "But relax--it's not communicable" fell on deaf ears. Or how about this one: "Come to Jersey. You'll never leave--Hoffa didn't."

Philadelphia once held a contest for best city slogan. The winner was every bit as exciting as those picked for New Jersey. It was, "Welcome to Philadelphia--enjoy our past and experience our future." In the Philadelphia Inquirer, staff writer Dan Meyers suggested a catchier version, "Welcome to Philadelphia--hey, that's my car!"

The Washington Post style section once held a contest to replace Maryland's slogan. The winner was , "Maryland--wait, we can explain," and runners-up included "Maryland--home of its residents" and "Maryland--it looks better in the dark." The reason the contest was held is that somebody finally realized that the traditional Maryland slogan, in force since 1648, was somewhat sexist. Some canny masculinist author had installed the slogan in Italian, "Fatti maschii, parole femine." Translated it means, "women yammer, men act." My suggestion was to keep the slogan, but translate it inoffensively. Maybe "Women and men---two great sexes! Talk and action--two great things!" Too vague and evasive, said my esteemed spouse, the hard-charging executive Jackie Leo. She said to translate it this way: "Men take out the garbage. Women tell them to do it."