Welcome to Malone – Now in Vermont!
Posted by thedarwinexception on October 11, 2007
So Malone was in the news this week in typical fashion – for being idiots.
Seems back in 2002 Malone prepared for its bicentennial celebration by asking residents to suggest a snazzy design for new welcome signs. A bunch of photos were submitted – even some of local farms, but the one that was chosen was a picture of The Jenne Farm. Which is a really nice picture of a typical red barn amid the beautiful fall foliage. The only problem is that no one deemed it important to ask the person who submitted the photo “Hey, did you snap this picture yourself, or just go on the web and look for a nice farm picture?”
Turns out that the picture chosen isn’t even a picture of a Malone dairy farm – it’s that of a farm in Vermont. And not just *any* farm in Vermont – it’s the reportedly MOST PHOTOGRAPHED farm in all of New England. The Jenne Farm has been on the cover of Yankee Magazine, in a backdrop of a couple of motion pictures and in a Budweiser commercial. You would think that someone would have caught on.
What’s odd about the whole thing is that when Paul and I first saw the sign, I recognized the Jenne farm picture – but then again, I’m from Vermont, and know the farm well. I just thought that Malone was going for a generic, “red barn among the orange leaves” stereotypical “small town, rural” feel. I didn’t think they were actually trying to pass off the Jenne farm as some local attraction – that would be rather foolish, wouldn’t it? After we had been here a while, it made even more sense to feature a Vermont farm on the welcoming signs, since what else is Malone going to put on their “Welcome to Malone” banners? The boarded up Main Street? The depot? A scene of the locals tossing toilet seats at the Redneck Games? Best stick with the bucolic beauty of the Jenne farm, right?
But, some eagle eyed Vermonter was passing through Malone a few weeks ago, saw the picture on the sign, and alerted a Burlington Free Press reporter, who came to Malone to see for himself if it was true or not, that the Jenne farm had been hijacked and was now welcoming visitors to a town that’s a state, a lake and a mountain range away from it’s actual location.
When alerted to the fact that the picture was a rather ubiquitous one and quite familiar as a Vermont iconic image, Malone officials said they were “unaware” of the image not being an image of Malone, which is rather disingenuous, if you ask me. I mean, did *no one* take a look around and realize that they had never actually seen this farm in Malone? Totally unbelievable to me.
But I have a different problem with the “Welcome to Malone” signs. I can accept and live with the Vermont image – I mean, if you can’t *have* an image of your own, go ahead and create one from someone else. I hear ya. But why do we have to have the message on the bottom of some of the welcoming signs in Malone that proclaim “Welcome to Malone – Come to Church with us on Sunday?” To me, this is more offensive than the picture of a Vermont farm on the signs.
Not everyone worships on Sunday – and not everyone worships in a Church. What about the families that worship in a hall, a temple, a mosque or a synagogue? I find the message offensive, exclusionary, discriminatory and invasive. I don’t like it.
If the question of “Do we Change the Signs” comes up, I am going to voice my opinion on the matter. And I will tell the town officials that if we are going to remedy the hijacking of an image for the town, maybe we should also consider leaving off the hijacking of faith.
Oh- and if there is another contest and new images are going to be submitted for the town welcoming signs, I’m going to enter a few of those, too!