This blog is ostensibly focused on Metro Detroit (broadly interpreted to include the Ann Arbor area). But for the purposes of this post, I am diverting my attention to the area of Michigan I grew up in, the Saginaw Bay area, or as we used to call it, the “Tri-Cities” of Saginaw, Bay City, and Midland.
Over the past few years, some well-intentioned booster (possibly the “Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance,” an amalgamation of the local Chambers of Commerce) somehow got the local elites to re-brand this area as the “Great Lakes Bay” region. Why did they do this? Is there such a thing as the “Great Lakes Bay”? Last I checked, the inlet of Lake Huron into which the Saginaw River flows was still the Saginaw Bay.
But, you see, Saginaw has a bit of an image problem; in fact, the name “Saginaw” seems to be the PR equivalent of toxic waste. At some point, this appears to have been brought to the attention of the folks in charge of marketing the region.
While the concept of the “Great Lakes” may have a more warm and fuzzy feel to it, evoking as it does all those Tim Allen-narrated “Pure Michigan” ads, the new term “Great Lakes Bay” possesses, in my view, a number of less attractive qualities:
- Generic: If you wanted to go with something generic, why not stick with “the Tri-Cities”?
- Presumptuous: The Great Lakes region boasts a vast array of inlets that can be classified as bays; consequently, I find it presumptuous for the Saginaw Bay to appropriate for itself the status of THE bay.
- Pretentious and/or slightly racist: Yes, Saginaw has a pretty lousy reputation, for a number of reasons. White-washing the name of an entire region is not going to move Midland or Bay City or Frankenmuth to a different spot on the map.
- Condescending: Who does the GLBRA think they are fooling? How dumb do they think we are?
Let’s just call a spade a spade. I, for one, am not going to indulge the GLBRA in this nonsense.