Are you a geographic genius?

by Phil Hardwick

Published: January 23,2011

Tags: MBJ column, Phil Hardwick

Community leaders seem to love the idea of capturing the essence of their city, town or village with a motto, slogan or moniker. Sometimes these words of description bring pride and enthusiasm. Sometimes they outlive their usefulness and become the brunt of jokes. Whatever the case, it is a fascinating exercise to attempt to connect places and their slogans.

I reside in Jackson, Miss., The City with Soul. Or is it The City of Grace and Benevolence? Or perhaps it is The Bold New City? Or is it The Crossroads of the South? Or it might even be Chimneyville?

With all of these changes it makes one wonder what Jackson will call itself tomorrow. Perhaps The City of Change will be next. That would certainly describe Mississippi’s capital city and its history.

Around the Jackson metro area suburban cities have also adopted slogans. Clinton is “Mississippi’s Family City,” Pearl has dubbed itself as “The City creating its own future,” Richland is “Proud to call it Home,” Terry is “A Nice Place to Visit; A Great Place to Live,” Brandon promotes itself as the “City of Red Hills Laden with Golden Opportunity” and Madison uses simply, “Madison, the City.”

Does you city or town have a slogan or moniker? If not, what would it be if you had to create one? Perhaps it would relate to the current mood; perhaps it would honor the past. For example, Crystal Springs was once known as the TOMATOPOLIS   OF THE WORLD, and even now has the Historic Tomato Museum at the city’s visitor center.

Slogans tend to come from either local government leaders or the local chamber of commerce or organization in charge of promotion and tourism. That can sometimes result in one organization using one slogan, while the other uses another.  For example, what is Vicksburg’s slogan?  The City of Vicksburg website states that Vicksburg is “The Red Carpet City of the South,” while the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau labels it “The Key to the South.”

A common sign seen entering many towns relates to the last time that one of their sports teams won a state championship.  For example, travelers on Interstate 55 will encounter “Welcome to the City of Batesville — Home of the South Panola Tigers — Class 5A Champions 1993, 96, 2003, 04, 05, 06 …”

Speaking of signs, Mississippi welcome sign slogans have included “The South’s Warmest Welcome,” “It’s like Coming Home” and the current “Birthplace of American Music.”

Now it is time to find out how much you know about places and their names. You may be a Geographic Genius. Below are 10 Mississippi slogans and 10 slogans of cities outside of Mississippi. Match the city, county or place with its slogan, moniker, motto or nickname.

Mississippi nicknames, city options

1.  “300 good, friendly folks and a few old soreheads”; 2. The Hub City; 3. Birthplace of Elvis Presley; 4. Catfish Capital of the World; 5. City of Lights; 6. Cotton Capital of the World; 7.  The Town too Beautiful to Burn; 8. Sweet Potato Capital of the World; 9. The Natural Choice; 10. Home of the Teddy Bear

a.  Canton; b.  Greenwood; c.  Hattiesburg; d.  Humphreys County; e.  Onward; f.  Port Gibson; g.  Prentiss; h.  Puckett; i.  Tupelo; j.  Vardaman

National nicknames, options

1. The Big Easy; 2. The City of Brotherly Love; 3. The Big Apple; 4. The Big D; 5. The Biggest Little City in the World; 6. The Windy City; 7. Strawberry Capital of the World; 8. The Sweetest Place on Earth; 9. The Motor City; 10.  The Mile High City

a. Chicago, Illinois; b. Dallas, Texas; c. Denver, Colorado; d. Detroit, Michigan; e. Hershey, Pennsylvania; f. New Orleans, Louisiana; g. New York, New York; h. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; i.  Ponchatula, Louisiana; j. Reno, Nevada

Before revealing the answers, let us consider the words slogan, motto and moniker.  Each has been used practically interchangeably in this column, but there are some important differences.  According to the “Oxford Dictionary of English,” a slogan is defined as “… a short and striking or memorable phrase used in advertising,” a motto is defined as “… a short sentence or phrase chosen as encapsulating the beliefs or ideals of an individual, family or institution” and a moniker is defined as “… a name.”

ANSWERS

Mississippi: 1-h;  2-c;  3-i;  4-d;  5-a;  6-b;  7-f;  8-j;  9-g;  10-e.

National:  1-f;  2-h;  3-g;  4-b;  5-j;  6-a;  7-i;  8-e;  9-d;  10-c.

So how well did you do?

Number correct Classification

18 – 20 Geographic Genius

15 – 17 Geographic Scholar

10 – 14 Geographic Joe

0 – 9 Hit the road, Jack

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