Our city’s new tag line is “Big Things Happen Here.” And as part of the “big things” campaign, the Dallas visitors bureau has placed the giant letters “B” and “G” strategically around the city, so that tourists can stand between them and be the “I” while someone snaps a pic for Instagram.
When the letters first went up in Bishop Arts last week, there was some grumbling because our neighborhood leaders have worked to keep it simple, not big, here.
“What makes B.A.D. amazing is its smallness,” Jason Roberts said in a facebook post last week.
Roberts writes in a 2011 post at gooakcliff.org, “I don’t believe the answer for our city is the mega-church, the big box, the wide thoroughfare, the giant retirement home miles away from the grandkids, the sprawling campus, the massive abstract statue, the megaplex, the monolithic international call center, the never-ending parking lot, the ‘too big to fail’ corporation, the McMansion, the multi-million dollar loan for the next ‘big thing,’ the giant commercial land deal, the imposing government, the enormous hedge fund, or the one-size-fits-all franchise.”
He goes on to enumerate the wonderful “small” things about Oak Cliff: “…the little cafe on the corner, the small park with the fountain that the kids play in, the tiny taquería with the elotes guy beside it, the folk musician on the street corner, the outdoor market filled with tiny stalls…”
He’s got a good point, and it’s refreshing to hear. But I also wonder, if the visitors bureau placed these beegees at a bunch of Dallas landmarks and skipped Oak Cliff, would we not be miffed about that too? They didn’t really have a choice there.
The visitors bureau has to market Dallas to people who watch “Dallas,” and those people number in the gajillions. It wouldn’t be very “Dallas” to invite people to Dallas to check out our fountains and quaint taquerías.
No. Tourists from Japan and Russia want J.R. and Cadillacs. They want their picture taken with a cowboy. They want big hair and breast augmentation, and can you blame them? It’s what Dallas is known for all around the world.
I hope visitors to Dallas come here expecting roughnecks and rodeos and are surprised to find a vibrant downtown, lots of cute neighborhoods and boutiques, great restaurants and maybe even an elotes stand. So I say go ahead and draw them in with J.R. and then show them who we really are with Bishop Arts.
By the way, you can get big or stay small at the official unveiling Thursday of the new mural that Jim Lake Cos. commissioned in Bishop Arts.
Also, too, by the way, here’s what Dallas’ own Dorrough had to say about getting big in 2010 (Spoiler alert: “You ain’t got enough money.”)