Rebrand this!

A group of marketers are suggesting to regional officials that the Pineywoods region of East Texas — where I was raised — be “rebranded” to attract more tourism. That notion ranks high upon my list of the stupidest suggestions I have ever heard.

If you buy an old business and start a new one, you might want to change its name. If someone important or influential dies then a school district might change the name of an existing school and name it after the dead guy or gal. On rare occasions, a town will change its name. The change might be temporary to reflect a favorite sports team such as in sports-crazed Texas where the town of Buffalo changed its name to “Blue Star” because the Dallas Cowboys were playing the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl and later temporarily changed its name to “Green Star” for the NHL Dallas Stars.

A more recent example was the town of Clark, Texas, changing its name to “Dish” in order for the town to get free satellite TV. But renaming an entire region? What kind of crack are these people smoking?

The Pineywoods nickname refers to a roughly-defined geographic area that could in reality encompass the eastern third of Texas. More distinctly, it is used to describe the timber-laden (and traditionally timber industry-dependent)region that extends roughly between Nacogdoches and the Big Thicket inside of an area between the Trinity and Sabine rivers (Texas-Louisiana border).

Regions are largely defined by geographical and physiological features such as the Imperial Valley in California, the Mississippi Gulf Coast or the Trans-Pecos region of Texas. Certain cities or city clusters sometimes get nicknames such as the area in which I now live, the Golden Triangle, which is comprised of the geographical threesome of Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange in Texas. There is also the Dallas-Fort Worth “Metroplex,” which is a name that always seemed incongruent to me because of Fort Worth’s history as a cow town.

These marketers can rebrand all they want but I predict that they will fail to get all but a few hucksters to call the Pineywoods by a different name. And that is as it should be. After all, what is East Texas without pine trees and wouldn’t it be just more than a little idiotic to rename the place the “Pineplex?”

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