19 August 2002
Oklahoma and its residents, reports Mike Congrove at Fly Over Country, suffer from a social stigma: we are "a little slow, too rural, and unsophisticated." Much of this, though regrettably not all of it, is undeserved, but there's not a whole lot we can do about it.
Or is there? If business has an image problem, they call in the brand managers. It's time, says Mike, for Oklahoma to be "rebranded":
"First, change the name of the state. Oklahoma has too negative a connotation. Oklahoma City is a mouthful with a similar connotation. Change the name, redesign the flag, and hold a state-wide contest for a search for a new name. During the name changing ceremony, the governor could create a neat little historical caveat. He or she could officially secede from the Union for one minute then rejoin the Union under the new name. Trivia buffs everywhere would rejoice."
Well, "Baja Kansas" is probably out. Changing the name of the state is a drastic step, but Mike's right: the image of Oklahoma hovers somewhere between rustic and risible. And worse, its elected officials seem to like it that way. Maybe it will take something as dramatic as a name change or the threat of annexation by Arkansas.