M-1 backers back off on rail line name announcement

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The word that backers of M-1 rail were to announce the new name of the system today was cause for many a joke among our friends. Spitballing humorous names for the line comes easy, and nominations included "The Duggan Streak," "The Brokomotive," "The Steely Dan," The Gentrifier Express," "The Q Train," "The Hipster Mover," "The Folly Trolley," and "People Mover II: Electric Boogaloo." There's even a bit of fun over at M-Live, where they've established an "M-1 Rail Name Generator" (We got "The Gilbert Scooter.")

But when word got out that the announcement of the new name would, in fact, NOT take place today, it was cause for some to try to guess what was really up. Soon, a theory was presented: No doubt a name had been decided upon, and was to be announced, but was deemed inappropriate at the last minute. One of our friends began the kidding on social networking: Speculating that "the name must have been comically, hilariously bad/tone-deaf." That joker also wondered if the last-minute mutterings included the words "no one told us it was slang for..."

A spokesperson told Crain's Detroit Business that "The streetcar’s name will be announced at a later date as we have some additional steps to complete in the process."

Second-guessing corporate-speak has become a time-honored tradition, but what exactly does this mean? Step 1 was: Come up with a decent name and thoroughly vet it so you know you're satisfied and nobody will be offended. Step 2: Announce that you'll announce the name of the rail line. Where do the additional steps come in? Unless one is retracing one's steps, that is, and slowly backing away ...

Now, we don't want anybody to think that the prime mover in downtown Detroit would go off half-cocked. That's not what corporations do, right? They hire talented consultants, they select a few appealing ideas, and then they focus-group the shit out of those ideas, right? Quicken, which bought the naming rights back in May, wouldn't do something as silly as call the train "The Unit" or "Train Runner" or "Rail Detroit" without checking up on what that stuff means, right? It isn't just Dan surrounded by "yes men" who agree with everything he dreams up, no matter what the shortcomings, right?

Thank goodness that can't be the case. Or why would we cede the power to run a transit system to people who can't come up with a name on time?


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