RICH JAMES: 'Honest to Goodness' slogan is honestly awful

2014-02-16T00:00:00Z RICH JAMES: 'Honest to Goodness' slogan is honestly awfulBy Rich James
February 16, 2014 12:00 am  • 

“Honest to Goodness Indiana” is the state’s new pitch for travel and tourism?

You’ve got to be kidding.

Say it ain’t so, Joe.

This is the 21st century, and the state still thinks it’s the 1800s.

I haven’t been this embarrassed since the 1980s when the state theme of Wander Indiana was emblazoned on Hoosier license plates.

People kept asking, “Where the heck is Wander, Indiana?”

People looked, but no one ever found it.

So now Indiana has forsaken “Restart Your Engines” for “Honest to Goodness Indiana.”

“This announcement begins a new era for Indiana’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry, said Mark Newman, executive director of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development.

A new era and a bad one at that.

And we paid $100,000 for someone to come up with that hokey phrase.

In the dictionary, “honest to goodness” is listed as an adjective and means “plain, simple and exactly what they appear to be.”

Excuse me.

I’m a lifelong Hoosier and the last thing I want to be is plain and simple and someone to be taken for granted.

Can you just picture someone in Kansas or Illinois or Kentucky saying, “Let’s go to Indiana for some honest to goodness”?

You can’t even buy that at Walmart.

Yeah, Honest to Goodness Indiana is one of those aw shucks kind of expressions that tells the world we are a bunch of country bumpkins.

We seem to be saying you’re invited to come to Indiana, sit on the porch and rock the day away while sipping on lemonade.

Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, who was a big part of picking the new state moniker, said, “Everywhere you go in Indiana, the people and the experiences are genuine. Even our biggest attractions satisfy and delight visitors because here, more so than anywhere else, hospitality matters. That’s real. That’s Honest to Goodness Indiana.”

Ain’t that special.

Yeah, that Hoosier Hospitality is something, but don’t try telling that to gays who would like to wed in Indiana or unions that want to protect workers’ rights or women who would like to be paid as much as men or public school teachers who more than ever have to fight for what they love – education.

There’s a lot to promote in Indiana, but Honest to Goodness isn’t one of them. We’re bigger and better than that.

There is plenty to proud of in Indiana, starting in our own backyard with the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and outstanding salmon and trout fishing

But Newman said the new theme incorporates all regions of Indiana.

Yeah, without naming one of them. It’s kind of like Wander Indiana.

Would someone please save us from ourselves?

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at The opinions are the writer’s.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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