Well, I asked for it. With downtown creative types annoyed about the marketing slogan developed by the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau ("Durham: Where Great Things Happen"), I asked readers last week to suggest some of their own. They did, mostly tongue-in-cheek. That's just the way Durhamites are.
The suggestions ranged from mocking the city's contentious nature to its crime issues to its image problems. But others celebrated its diversity and sense of community. The thing is, they all ring true. Here goes.
Celebrating the city's rough edges:
"Durham. True. Grit.", suggests Allison Savicz.
"I Got Jacked in Durham", offers Caleb Southern, who says he was referring, of course, to enjoying a Durham coffee shop or a shot of Jack Daniels at a local bar.
On the more self-deprecating side:
"Downtown Durham: Every Town Must Have a Place Where Phony Hippies Meet", says Chris Sevick, citing Frank Zappa.
"It's Always Something", or "Keeps You on Your Toes", or "We're Never Dull" suggests Harriet Hooper, who adds, "Can't imagine living anywhere else."
"Durham: It's Not for Everyone", or "The City of Medicine ... Because Everybody Needs It", jokes (?) Ellie Cox.
"Durham: We've Got Balls", says JoAnne Worthington, referring (in part) to the city's iconic bull.
On Durham's diversity and small-town nature:
"You Just Never Know Whom You'll Meet in Durham", offers Ellen Cassilly, who says she overheard it at a party and liked it.
"Durham, the 'Sweet' Heart of the South", says Alan Welch.
"Do the Durham Double-take", suggests Mabon Childs, referring to such Durham twofers as a nosh on Ninth Street and a visit to the Nasher Museum, or catching a Durham Bulls game and visiting the bears at the Museum of Life and Science.
"Great Things Keep Coming in the Bull City", says Frank Hyman, playing on the original.
"Durham: Diverse in More Ways Than One", says Mabel McElhaney, who offered a variety of diversity-based variations.
Randy Pickle offered a range of options: "Durham: We've Got a Secret", "Durham: Great Neighbors, Great Times", "Durham: Where Great Neighbors Make it Happen", "Durham: Great Food. Great People!", "Durham: Great, Not by Accident", "Durham: Accidentally Great!", "Durham: We Quit Trying", "Durham: It Grows On You!", "Durham: Six Exits and Growing!" and "Durham: Keep it a Secret", among others.
Finally, Julie Maxwell suggests the Mary Poppinsesque "southerngothicscientificartsyandprecocious", but wonders, "What is wrong with 'The Bull City?' Better to stick with tradition than to be relaunched with a cheesy marketing phrase."