Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

If we can make it Fox City, we can make it anywhere

In 1953, the late, great Post-Crescent publisher V.I. Minahan coined the phrase “Fox Cities” in an editorial to describe the cities, towns and villages located along the Fox River. He wanted readers to think of themselves not as a bunch of dinky little communities but a unified metropolitan area.

Fifty-three years later “Fox Cities” is still around. With a name as cool-sounding as V.I. Minahan, the man was destined to be good at naming things. (He also was destined to star in a primetime TV show about a wisecracking private detective, “P.I. V.I.,” but apparently that never panned out.) Still, I think it would have been even better if Minahan went with the name he originally he want to use, Foxy McWiscoFoxiness. Now that’s catchy. (And a joke. Because that’s what I do.)

Here’s the thing about Fox Cities: The phrase doesn’t work. I grew up in Appleton and have lived most of my life here. If I think about driving to Neenah, which is about 10 minutes from my apartment, it seems like a major undertaking that requires commissioning a steamship and hiring a crew of loyal crewmates. As long as I avoid storms and pirates, I can make it there in about three weeks, I reckon.

Meanwhile, if I think about driving to my mother’s house on the other side of town, which is about 15 mintues from my apartment, it’s nothing. That’s because it’s still Appleton, my hood. It’s like there is an invisible mote surrounding the city limits.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. This is a very provincial area. The borders between places like Little Chute, Kaukauna and Kimberly are as clear as the separation between peanut butter and jelly on white bread. But don’t tell that to the people who live there. They know where they live, they are proud of it, and they probably know a good joke or two about the people from neighboring towns.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to be proud of where you are from or to be protective of your small town tradition. But Minahan had a good point 53 years ago: Thinking of ourselves as a single metropolis is a good marketing move that gives us greater standing in the state.

So, in the tradition of Post-Crescent writers coining phrases for the area, I am picking up Minahan’s torch and tweaking his idea just a lbit. Instead of Fox Cities, I propose calling the area (and I’m bolding this so nobody misses it) Fox City.
Doesn’t that sound cool? Not to mention more singular? That’s the point. Instead of saying we are a bunch of towns bundled together, I say we band together to form a solitary entity.

Read more in my Under 30 column on Friday.


Anonymous gavin said...

Second coolest V.I. ever.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't that a Grand Theft Auto sequel?

5:27 PM  
Anonymous cheddar said...


10:54 AM  
Blogger Olson said...

I don't have proof in print but I do believe I wrote a fictional report in 8th grade that had the Fox Cities being united as Fox City by 2010 or 2012. Were you in that class Steve? Mrs. Gibson's class? Did you steal my idea?

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One city is a great idea, then the whole Fox City could be smoke free!

3:33 PM  
Anonymous The Grammar Queen said...

Moat. Not mote.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Steve Hyden said...

Thanks, Grammar Queen. Thankfully our ace copy eds caught it and changed my column accordingly.

1:59 AM  

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