Friday, August 17, 2007

'When I think of N.C., I think of ...'

With all due respect to my Sandlapper friends, I must concede one thing: As a North Carolinian, I almost never find myself feeling jealous of South Carolina -- save for the fact that Charleston is perhaps my favorite U.S. city and, I have to admit, I really do like Hootie & the Blowfish. (And, of course, our neighbors to the south are among the nicest anywhere. So there.)

Having said that, I do have to give credit where credit is due. And in this instance, I'm jealous of the fact that South Carolina has produced one of the most iconic symbols anywhere in the world. I'm talking, naturally, about the S.C. flag. And more importantly, I'm referring to the palmetto tree and crescent that adorns the flag.

Simply put, it's a very cool symbol. You see it everywhere, even here in the Old North State. I imagine it's for three reasons that it's so popular: 1) People really love South Carolina; 2) It's just a really neat, unique symbol; and 3) it's become a defacto symbol of the South (not unlike the Bonnie Blue). I may be wrong about that last one, but that's the feeling I get, at least.

So, I'm jealous. Jealous that South Carolina has such a cool symbol. It looks good on hats, shirts, belts, stickers, etc. Our grand state doesn't quite have anything like that.

But could it?

S.C.'s symbol has reached a status not unlike "I (HEART) NY" or the slogan, "What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas." I'm not saying that N.C. can approach those. But it's worth a discussion.

Here are some potential options:
-The flag: North Carolina's flag is not as unique as S.C.'s or even Maryland's, but it's a ready-made symbol. One proposal would be to use the the star with the N on the left and the C on the right, as opposed to the whole flag. But stars as symbols are kinda overdone. (Go Cowboys!)

(By the way, did you know there was an official salute to the state flag? It's kinda new: "I salute the flag of North Carolina and pledge to the Old North State love, loyalty, and faith.")

-State symbols: Nothing really stands out here, save for the Cardinal (boring, in my opinion) or the Pine tree. But S.C. has the tree symbol monopoly.

Folks could use the Carolina Tartan more -- but that's available, I believe, to both Carolinas.

I think Ohio would be even more upset if we tauted the whole "First in Flight" that much more.

Any other state symbol ideas? The Venus Fly Trap? The Plott Hound? The Emerald? All cool things, but, again, I think they would be hard to translate to non-North Carolinians.

-One "dark horse" suggestion: The pig. While we may disagree on what kind of barbecue we prefer, we can all agree that N.C. BBQ is better than anywhere else in the world.

Do you have an idea for what could be the absolute best symbol for the state of North Carolina? The winning choice will receive some N.C.-related prize.

(Oh, and as a Wolfpacker, I refuse to accept a tar heel as a widely-used symbol for ALL of North Carolina.)

(S.C. flag courtesy of Wikipedia.)


Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

As a native South Carolinian, I couldn't agree more with the greatness of this symbol! I wear it proudly, and until a recent fender bender, displayed it proudly on the front of my car. I think you see this symbol here in NC because people really do love SC. Contrary to popular belief, the state is actually quite beautiful (and not an entire dump)!

But more than that...

My Mom's side of the family is in NC and my Dad's side is in SC and the difference in appreciation of heritage and history is profound. I have aunts and uncles that live in preserved family plantations, display photographs and portraits of family members from the 1800s, and give civil war tours in their homes!

I think (having so few "cities" to draw outsiders) South Carolina still consists primarily of natives whose families have been there forever. They are very proud of where they're from and love to share their history with visitors - you don't see that as much here - I don't anyway.

As far as an equivalent symbol for NC, I love the pig idea, but it just wouldn't be as pretty to wear as the palm tree and crescent, huh?

EsseQuamVideri said...

Cincinnati does a pig thing, right? Something about "when pigs fly".

No matter how much I like bbq, I wouldn't want my fair NC to be characterized with one.

The flag is a much more dignified resource. And though it uses a "standard" red, white, and blue, it is quite beautiful proportionately.

And speaking of proportions, I think the actual shape (geographic boundary) is quite fetching. My cousin once sported a button that was made from a photocopy of the state shape on the most boring blue paper... and it was pretty terrific, in an NC/low-key way.

And being a Wolfpacker (three generations, at that), I think that the entire state can claim the true Tarheel concept. Now, a Carolina Blue Ram, that is a horse of a different color!

UNC doesn't own the Tarheel, really, it's just appropriated it well.

TSnow said...

No I think their saying is, "I'm living on the air in Cincinnati."

david said...

I have to honestly say that I've been racking my brains over thgis question.

As a NC State grad, I would refuse the Tarheel logo. It is just to tied ino UNC Hype (they are the Tarheels, not the Rams after all)

Who cares what those in Ohio think...ecspecially since most of them seem to be moving OUT of ohio, we could claim the Plane as our symbol.

There's also a multitiude of lighthouses to choose from. The most nationally known being hatteras, but i prefer old baldy or the Oakracoke houses. Perhaps the state's outline with either a plane or lighthouse in the center.
Heck we are the "Graveyard of the Atlantic"--Maybe we should use Teach's pirate flag?

Anonymous said...

Check out the official state symbols of NC at eNCyclopedia.

I like the dogwood or the cardinal myself.

M. Lail said...

All good comments. I'm beginning to come around about the whole dogwood and cardinal thing. And the shape of the state.

any other ideas?

M. Lail said...

I'm also starting to lean toward the Long Leaf Pine as a valid symbol as well. After all, the top civilian award in N.C. is the Order of the Long Leaf Pine (and the top such award in S.C. is the Order of the Palmetto).