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THE RANT: Please don't call it Cape Fear anymore

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Every major city between here and the Florida state line has a huge, memorable brand.

You may think Myrtle Beach is touristy and cheesy, but there's no question what you'll get when you visit. Shopping, shows, a plethora of miniature and big-boy golf plus a long "Grand Strand" of beaches and surf. It's not an overstatement... there's something for everyone to do in Myrtle Beach.

Then you've got Charleston, which is a bit more sophisticated with its Revolutionary and Civil War history. Church steeples dot the skyline while quaint shops and restaurants line city streets. And the "Low Country" boasts some of the best shrimp and grits recipes in the world.

Travel a little farther south, and you've got Savannah. Cute, historic Savannah. Home of "Goodnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," Paula Deen and one heckuva St. Patrick's Day Parade.

And then you've got Wilmington, epicenter of the Cape Fear Coast, right? Well, not any more. The brain trust at the Brandon Agency, an ad company in Myrtle Beach, thinks we should be called "Wilmington: River District and Island Beaches" now. Snazzy huh? Puts me right to sleep.

I can't think of calling our fair area anything more vanilla or generic. What in "Wilmington: River District and Island Beaches" would make anyone want to visit here. "Hey Martha, let's check out Wilmington! It's got a river... and beaches!!" "Well I would have never imagined that, Rufus," says Martha. "Let's go right now!"

It's like calling the Battleship North Carolina a "big boat on the river" or The Oceanic "a place to eat on the beach" or Jason Thompson "an outgoing county commissioner." Well no kidding!

Cape Fear is a huge brand we're now choosing to throw away like last weekend's leftovers. To some it may bring to mind pirates and shipwrecks and crazy killers on boats, but at least it's memorable. When the Weather Channel says a hurricane is headed for the Cape Fear Coast, everyone knows where that is.

And we PAID for that new moniker? Surely if we had opened it up to people living here they could have come up with something more creative for less than the tens of thousands we spent on this.

All because the beach towns felt left out of "Cape Fear Coast." So we lose our generations-old uniqueness, but at least now everyone's happy.

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