Tecumseh legislator Shane Jett -- apparently no relation to Joan -- has wasted energy, time and money to propose changes to the best state flag in the nation: by adding an exclamation point to 'OKLAHOMA' and, curiously, italicizing it.
This leads to all sorts of questions, beginning with how did this guy get elected?
Mr Jett tells the Tulsa World today
"I was just looking for a way to improve our image ... and get some good, solid publicity,” Jett said. Then, "It could give us hundreds of thousands of dollars in free publicity.”
Oklahoma!, of course, is the name of a punctuated Broadway musical written by two men who never visited the state. Many critics so far are focused on the idea of punctuation in a flag -- and we aren't opposed to that part of his proposal at all. Though reminding outsiders of the much mocked, ill-advised past slogan -- "Oklahoma is OK!"-- is not a good way to promote faith that Oklahoma has a clue what it's doing.
Far more troubling, and bewildering, is the idea of ITALICIZING the state name on the flag. Mr Jett appears to think that could help get publicity.
* Does italics attract more attention than plain fonts? No. Italics adds focus only when in embedded in a paragraph or sentence -- when it's alone italicized words are actually less clear to read.
* Is Mr Jett aware that other states DON'T FLY the Oklahoma state flag?
We appreciate Mr Jett's lateral thinking for ways to promote the state, but tinkering with a long-running flag that doesn't appear outside Oklahoma borders isn't a good choice.
We're surprised he didn't follow Florida's usage of a website on their license plate by putting www.travelok.com on the flag.
One consideration would be to put more visible visitor centers near the state border of major entry points -- I-40 at Arkansas and Texas, particularly -- and advertise free 60-minute scenic drives and detours around the state. Currently Oklahoma City has a wonderful visitor center -- which lies 10 miles or so north of busy I-40, and well AFTER visitors are into the state.
Signs should point to Oklahoma City's (poorly named) "Asian District" for its authentic Vietnamese restaurants -- a real break for drivers full on McDonald's. (While Oklahoma's at it, they should change the name of the area to what it IS: Little Saigon.)
Another option would be to make a better license plate than the confusing, un-artful one that was chosen. Perhaps making it sky blue like the flag would stress 'nice weather' in the state -- a color rarely seen on license plates.
Mr Jett, please contact us if you need any future, more thought out ideas for improving Oklahoma's image.
--> IF Oklahoma italicizes the state name on the flag, the Failed Bands of Oklahoma will permanently change its name to either Failed Bands Organization or Failed Bands of the Great Plains.
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