Keep Missoula … original?

“Keep Missoula weird.” Since I keep seeing bumper stickers and getting Facebook requests in support of this slogan, I have to express my opposition.

Now, I love Missoula, and a lot of that has to do with it being “weird” compared to its counterparts. There’s no arguing that it’s the least “Montana” town in the state. You’ll still find a handful of cowboy hat wearers roaming the city — this is Montana, after all — but they’re definitely outnumbered by hippies riding bikes with their one pant leg rolled up (I still don’t understand the point of that, BTW) or leashing up their pet goats for a stroll along the Kim Williams Trail. (Yes, I actually saw that when I was running once. I thought they were strange-looking dogs at first.)

You’re better than this, Missoula.

There’s no doubt the Zoo has earned its weird designation. But I refuse to adopt the “Keep Missoula weird” slogan, because it’s a stolen one. Perhaps that’s not common knowledge here (though I find that hard to believe these days, with the Internets and whatnot), but it originated in Austin, for many of the same reasons it fits Missoula.

I first heard of the slogan when I spent several weeks in the Texas capital a few summers ago as part of an internship residency. Austin is to Texas what Missoula is to Montana (OK, it’s probably the other way around, but same diff), and it definitely fits the bill as weird. Especially compared with the rest of Texas (or so I hear — I’m sort of afraid to experience “the rest of Texas”).

So to me, using the stolen slogan just because it “works” defies the very cause it’s perpetuating, to “keep Missoula weird.” Maybe this is part of a larger scheme by someone trying to capitalize on the slogan’s popularity in Austin (apparently Boulder, Portland and Louisville have adopted the slogan, too, and I can’t imagine it’s not copyrighted), but I still don’t like it. I’m all for keeping Missoula weird, but let’s try to keep it original, too.

11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ange on February 22, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    “…hippies riding bikes with their one pant leg rolled up”

    Unfortunately, my pant leg has caught on the bike and I have ripped a hole in my pants if they aren’t rolled up. So, there is a purpose.


  2. Haha, OK, good. I guess I probably could have figured that out if I’d thought about it long enough, huh. 🙂


  3. Let’s not be dissing(sp?) “the rest of Texas”. I would be from the “rest of Texas”. Be very careful little girl.


  4. You lived in Texas for approximately five seconds, Mom.


  5. Posted by Robb on March 4, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Where is your Missoula sticker? Anyone can be a critic.


  6. […] Keep Missoula … original? February 2010 6 comments LikeBe the first to like this post. […]


  7. […] There’s even a Missoula based blog, deriding the Montana city’s choice to be weird.  He’d rather it be original.  Hear, […]


  8. Posted by Craig on July 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    I am from Texas–Lived in Dallas for 36 years. Austin is WONDERFUL and very different from the “rest of Texas” I moved to Seattle last year and although I like it would love to move to Missoula. I cover that area and have been there a few times. It is like an Austin in the mountains and NOT 100+ degrees. Not to mention that Austin is loosing its “weird” and is having major growing pains. Its on the new “boom town” list along with Dallas and several other Texas cities. Not sure why people are moving there–maybe its just the low cost of living, friendly people and great food!

    I agree that Missoula could come up with their own more original slogan.


  9. Posted by Jake on July 31, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Keep Missoula Beered

    Keep Weird Missoula

    Keep Missoula Beard

    Homeless almost outnumber everybody here now.


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