Hey, I have a terrific idea for Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is looking for a new branding phrase to replace its official sounds-like-a-nudist-colony “Metronatural Seattle” marketing campaign.
Some might take this as a reference to all the mountains ringing the city, and their beauty. But I am picking up on the insane publicity that Seattle is getting today since it became legal at 12:01 a.m. for adults in Washington State to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, and also to apply for a same-sex wedding license.
After surviving coverage of its inability to handle snow as well as the impolitic remarks of the newly crowned Miss Seattle, Seattle is once again the center of wide attention.
This morning, still New To Seattle, I watched a breathless reporter on CNN reporting at the foot of the Space Needle, where hundreds of Seattleites gathered in the middle of the night to light up in the wake of the November 6 initiative, which took effect after the required 30-day waiting period. (Never mind that smoking weed in public, like drinking beer on the street, remains a crime.) Similar coverage graced the other national TV networks (a CBS report talked about the blowing “winds of change”). I saw references to TV crews in Seattle from England and other countries. The news really filtered down to a local level in far-flung places. “Seattle Giddy as Washington Legalizes Pot,” read the headline on the website of WLTX-TV in Columbia, S.C.
Meanwhile, across downtown Seattle, governmental clerk offices opened at midnight so that same-sex couples could apply for marriage licenses in the wake of another voter-approved referendum 30 days ago. The law allows the solemnization of those licenses, as the “I do” part is officially known, after a three-day wait as early as Sunday.
The overnight gay marriage stuff didn’t seem to get quite as much national press as the pot law change. But a few outlets gamely linked the two.”Two movements, one big day,” read a headline on the MSNBC blog of the liberal, gay talk show host Rachel Maddow. And over at snarky Gawker.com: “Washington is Officially a Conservative Nightmare.”
Even though the pot and same-sex marriage laws apply across Washington State, Seattle is the center of this fawning out-of-state coverage. Maybe that’s because a big airport with cheaper fares is here, or perhaps because there isn’t a lot else to do in, say, Spokane. Or it might have something to do with the fact that there was considerably less enthusiasm for the laws by voters outside of King County, where Seattle is located.
Whatever. High on weed, high on love. Seattle image-makers, are you listening?