Editorial: Hey nonny, nonny, it's a bargain

Jun. 08, 2013 @ 11:22 AM

The News-Topic has never seen a letter to the editor quite like one run this week by The Sylva Herald, southwest of Asheville, that was sent in by reader Mary Adams after news that Jackson County had paid consultant BCF $50,000 to come up with a new “brand” for the county. (As far as we’ve ever been able to determine, a “brand” is not much different from what in the old days we would have called a motto, except more expensive.)

That brand turned out to be this: “Play on.”

Adams wrote, in part: “What many don’t realize is that both these words come from Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night,’ lending Jackson County’s new brand not only fun but culture. And the county was wise to act quickly, before all the Shakespearean quotations were gone.”

Adams, a poet who teaches at Western Carolina University, then offered to save other local governments money by using her own expertise to help identify Shakespearean brands for just $5,000 a word:

“Because the brand should ‘mirror the community,’ I’ve already eliminated quotations from the tragedies and histories (‘Never, never, never, never, never’ and ‘There rust and let me die’ at $25,000-30,000 each; ‘Damned spot’ and ‘Strangely troublesome’ at $10,000; ‘Something is rotten’ and ‘Aroint thee, witch!’ at $15,000) as well as the less appropriate quotes from the comedies (‘travelers must be content’ at $20,000 or ‘frights, changes, horrors’ at $15,000). Instead, I’ll locate brands from Shakespeare’s romances and songs, just as BCF did. For example, I might suggest ‘This life is most jolly’ to be festive (or just ‘most jolly’ for a smallish sort of bumper sticker), ‘Everything that pretty is’ to be outdoorsy, ‘Rich and strange’ to be evocative, ‘sigh no more’ to be wistful, or ‘hey nonny, nonny’ to be enigmatic. I would even discount quotations which recycle the same words (‘Come hither, come hither, come hither’ is currently on special at $12,500).”