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Thursday, May 1, 2003

Irony, Utah.

Somehow I missed my home state's Olympic quest to attract new business with a new ad campaign two years ago — but the four-page ad in this week's New Yorker sure caught my attention. Those red rocks! That blue sky! That baffling slogan:

Utah! Where ideas connect

It would be hard to think of a stranger slogan for Utah to adopt in an ad in the New Yorker. I can just picture it: lonely intellectuals hunched over steaming mugs in a Greenwich Village coffee shop, sighing, "If only there were a place — any place — where people actually talked about ideas! A place where ideas mattered! Where art and science and politics and philosophy and jazz and opera thrived! A city with magazines about books and film and radical political ideas! I'd move there in an instant." Aha! After all these years, it turns out that Utah is the promised land for intellectuals. What was I thinking, leaving Salt Lake City for Cambridge? (Oh, right. But if you end up going to Zion for the intellectual adventure, you'll really want to meet the good people of the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City, who really do love jazz and drama and a good intellectual debate.)

But in visiting the site about Utah's ad campaign, I realized Utah isn't all that interested in ideas. (At least not the sort you find in the New Yorker.) They're just trying to attract medical technology tourists and word-processing history buffs!

(Full disclosure: I was a WordPerfect customer support operator — for Commodore Amiga, ATARI, and Macintosh computers! — back in the halcyon days of live hold-music DJs. WordPerfect paid my way through college before it moved to Canada. So on second thought, the tech boom in Utah did help me connect to ideas — like, "Get me out of Orem!")

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 1 May 2003 at 10:17 PM

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