Friday, October 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

City of no brother.ly love

Is the nickname "City of Brotherly Love" a violation?

City of no brother.ly love

Alexander Milne Calder, seated left with the head of his statue of William Penn, won the competition to make it in 1874. The statue  stands atop Philadelphia City Hall and was the tallest thing in the city for more than a century. (Photos: gened.temple.edu / Wikimedia Commons and gophila.com.)
Alexander Milne Calder, seated left with the head of his statue of William Penn, won the competition to make it in 1874. The statue stands atop Philadelphia City Hall and was the tallest thing in the city for more than a century. (Photos: gened.temple.edu / Wikimedia Commons and gophila.com.)

It's caused a minor stir in local media circles, but since the odds are that you aren't in local media circles, you may not be aware of the new rival news website now in the works for Philadelphia. It's run by some of the sharper minds in online news, including Jim Brady, who helped get the Washington Post's website off the ground back in the day when newspapers needed someone to get their websites off the ground. And -- like the singing bird and the croaking toad -- it had a name:

Brother.ly.

You get it, right? You know...The City of Brotherly Love. Why shouldn't that be Philadelphia's nickname? After all, translated from Greek, Philadelphia literally means, "city of goop-laden, overstuffed cheesesteaks" "city of brotherly love." Brady reports that he loved the name "brother.ly" and so did everyone he told about it...in New York! Philadelphians, it turned out, not so much.

People do get pretty persnickety  -- for want of a better term -- about what to call their hometown. No one ever says, "Yo! I'm off to the City of Brotherly Love to catch the Flyers." Indeed, people seem pretty torn over whether "Philly" -- the name of our website! -- is acceptable. I hated it when I moved here a quarter-century ago, later adopted it, and then took some flack from readers (that's a first , right?) for using it.

In his sort-of mea culpa, Brady correctly notes that only a tourist would ever call New York "the Big Apple." Don't use the word "Frisco" in front of a real San Franciscan unless you want to get cold-cocked (and they're right -- even writing that word gives me the creeps). So Brady & Co. went the other direction -- to use a phrase that ONLY Philadelphians know and use.

BillyPenn.com. I guess they'll put a massive Flyers jersey around the website for the Stanley Cup playoffs?

I hear the "attytood.com" domain was taken.

But now I'm intrigued. Is "City of Brotherly Love" really a violation. Is "Philly" a faux pas? What are the allowable nicknames for "The City of Champions" Philadelphia? What needs to be banned? (Besides this blog.) Time's yours.

About this blog
Will Bunch, a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, blogs about his obsessions, including national and local politics and world affairs, the media, pop music, the Philadelphia Phillies, soccer and other sports, not necessarily in that order.

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