Friday, August 30, 2002

Atlanta needs a new ad campaign

Even when I was a tiny kid, I always knew I'd end up in Atlanta. That's sort of odd when I think about it, because I never lived there, or even visited it for an extended period of time until I was a teenager. I was born in Augusta, where my father's family lives, and my mother's family is mostly based out of Brunswick. I grew up in and around Nashville, but somehow Atlanta always called to me, as if the city had a secret underground radio system that reaches out to all the freaky little children in their sleep. Atlanta, the New York of the South, makes silent subliminal calls to all the odd ones, the people who eat their lunches alone, the ones who'd rather hide in the library than be among those left for last picks in dodgeball.

Atlanta is where you move in the South if you don't fit in wherever you came from, but hate the idea of going Yankee. Nothing underscores this truth more than Labor day weekend, when the city opens its arms to DragonCon.

DragonCon is just like Mardi Gras, only nerdier. It's four days where all the gamers, comic book geeks, rave kids, robot fighters, storm troopers, pixies, vampires, hobbits, and the generally odd all converge on downtown Atlanta to strut their stuff. There's even a parade this year, and if I don't go watch the storm troopers march with the pixies, I'll just die. I can take or leave most of DragonCon, because it's set up as a society of consumerism, but the idea of it thrills me. All these people, embracing what they like in public and not caring who frowns at them - that's fun. It's awesome, really. It took me so long to be comfortable with my own brand of nerdy freakyness that I'm still awed by the people who are unafraid to flaunt theirs. There are people who will have spent months making floats so they can show of their love for Gene Roddenberry for christ's sake.

And that makes me very, very happy.

But when most people think of Atlanta, they don't think of how it acts as a sort of haven for the socially dispossessed in Southern culture. No, they think of the Olympics, or of the many universities, or of Margaret Mitchell and her book about Scarlett's love life. Well, let me tell you, those first two ideas are fine and well, but Margaret Mitchell was black balled from the Junior League for her "unladylike" behavior. She was a true Atlantian, a dancer on table-tops, a writer and an oddball.

People need to understand what Atlanta is really all about, and so Dust and I came up with some new slogans for the town:

Atlanta: because you were the smartest kid in the trailer park.

Atlanta: if it's gay enough for Elton John, it's gay enough for you.

Atlanta: where you move to keep Bubba from beating you up.


Atlanta: where no one knows your given name is really Bubba.

Atlanta: Home of Georgia Tech. Our killer robots beat up Harvard's killer robots!


Atlanta, home of killer robots and DragonCon. Atlanta, the techno-geek paradise.

Or maybe Atlanta's slogan should just be this:

Ted Turner is a crazy-ass Atheist, and he owns this town.

Because really, that says it all for me. I love Atlanta. This weekend begins the second step of me really making it my new home.

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