Post from the Stevens Point Journal
Let Wisconscience be your guide.
Wisconsin: You’ll be back!
Wisconsin: Say cheese!
We’re taking a look at Wisconsin’s image for this year’s State of Opportunity series. We love Wisconsin and think everyone else should love it, too. But the things most people from outside of the state know about Wisconsin are usually limited to the fact that winter here is cold, we make a lot of cheese and we love the Green Bay Packers. That’s all true! But there’s more to the state than that.
State of Opportunity is a series of stories about where Wisconsin jobs are growing and what the future holds for the state’s economy. In this month’s story on the state’s multi-billion-dollar tourism industry, Nathan Phelps reports that the state Tourism Department, after running through five slogans in a decade-and-a-half by 2011, decided the best thing for the state would be to go without a single, official slogan.
“When you have five slogans in 15 years the question becomes, ‘Who are you?’” Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.
Fair enough. And maybe the state doesn’t exactly need a single, pithy slogan that would summarize everything about living here.
But where’s the fun in that?
As we kicked off this year’s State of Opportunity series, I asked readers to submit their ideas of what would make a great state slogan. I heard from dozens of people. Those slogans at the top of this piece are some of the submissions. Here’s a sampling of what we heard from readers:
A reader named Nic wrote: “Enjoy the Seasons of Possibilities.”
Bob Katerzynske wrote: “Wisconsin: Come for the cheese. Stay because your car is stuck in the snow.” Which is funny! But also, maybe, not exactly the message we’re looking to promote.
Likewise, from Jerome Gallagher: “If it weren’t for winter, everybody would want to live here.”
Margy Friedland of Manitowoc submitted: “Wisconsin: A wonderful of nature.” I don’t know what it means, but it’s nice.
From La Donna Larson of Waupaca: “Hygge in Wisconsin.” Hygge is the very useful but untranslatable Danish word that means coziness, hominess, warmth. When you have a fire in the fireplace and a nice cup of tea and you’re reading a good novel, that’s hygge. It’s a great way to face the winter months, and people say the concept of hygge is one of the reasons the Danes are measurably the happiest people on Earth. Maybe it could work for Wisconsin, too. But we’d be forever explaining that it is pronounced “hoo-gah.”
For some people, everything is about politics.
Jerry Buerer of Wausau writes: “Wisconsin, the Mississippi of the North.” Which I do not think he means as a compliment. Another reader, Carolyn Bronston, recommended “We’ve lost it all” or “Moving backward faster.”
Not all of the political-argument suggestions were came from dissatisfied liberals. A conservative reader who did not leave his name suggested: “What, me worry, Wisconsin? Somebody else pays for everything!”
It’s called a portmanteau, when you take two words and make them into one word. Jim Jochman of Appleton offered: “Let Wisconscience be your guide,” quoted above. Nice sentiment, though a bit of a mouthful.
Same for the suggestion of Pat Dye of Berlin, who wrote, “WisconFun.”
I appreciated the approach taken by reader John Garot. Garot clearly had a few key elements he wanted his slogan to hit on, so he offered a few alternatives. He wrote, “Wisconsin: Get it all — beef, milk and cheese,” and also included these: “Wisconsin: Land of milk, cheese and beef!” and “Got a beef? Let’s talk over cheese and milk!”
Tammy Barnardo of Winchester wrote: “Wisconsin. We run with the PACK.”
Thomas Oligney of Wisconsin Rapids had a little poem: “Packers and cheese, just a tease. Our real industry comes from trees.” So, think about that.
And Susy Vette of Oshkosh went with the simple, fun, dairy-themed: “Say cheese!”
They’re all good. If the state can’t have one slogan, can we have a few dozen different ones?
Robert Mentzer is central Wisconsin storytelling editor for USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 715-845-0604; on Twitter: @robertmentzer.