Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hon -- It's Your Turn to Speak

You may have noticed that we haven't really commented on the "Hon" story here at Harford Road. It seems the story keeps evolving, with details and facts dribbling out in the press. Does Denise Whiting have a trademark on the word "hon"? Can she have a trademark on the word "hon"? Or is it on "hon" in an oval? So then what about that Outer Banks guy? The best article I've read to date is from the blog Welcome to Baltimore Hon! The author provides a rational and reasoned explanation of whether, why, and how the trademark story is possible. I encourage you to read it.

I've been to Cafe Hon a couple of times in my life, but not in years. My personal boycott has simply been due to food that I found overpriced and nothing special. And I admit that I've also been to HonFest a couple of times, but I always felt a little uncomfortable about whether this was "celebration" or "ridicule" of Baltimore.  Not being a native, it seemed to me that a line was often crossed. Or at least approached. Closely enough to be cringe-worthy, in my opinion.

No, I'm not originally from Baltimore, but I have lived here for 13 years. The reason why I thought up the title for this blog is that "hon" seemed to embrace the sense of neighborliness and community that I have felt since I moved to my current home in 2003. It's what drew me here and what keeps me here, despite the break-ins, lack of snowplows, and massive potholes that killed my car.

But what do you think about all this "hon" business? Please tell me in the comments.

3 comments:

Robert Walshe said...

Green Onion Market: coming April 1st to 5500 Harford Rd.

http://greenonionmarket.blogspot.com/2011/01/april-foods.html

Stacy said...

Without a doubt, many have capitalized on B-more culture: Waters being the most extreme example, but not the only. And, as a native approaching the age of forty, I have often cringed as my own Baltimorese seems to become thicker and thicker. After all, it has been a topic of humor turned ridicule in music, film, literature and certainly at The Hon Fest. But, one word has always made me smile, hon, and you can guess which word it is! I think it is fine to shoulder up to the natives, capitalize on that which is familiar to them, and to claim an affinity to them and their quirky ways. She should trademark the name of her restaurant, hon, but not claim a phrase that is a deeply entrenched part of our culture-- and perhaps one of the more endearing examples. . She didn't create it--it doesn't belong to her. It belongs to the people. My two cents!

Leslie F. Miller said...

I don't have love for the cafe or the woman, but what's been missing in all these discussions is the truth—that she was only trying to stop people from putting HON in a circle and selling it as memorabilia. She marketed that stuff first. Unfortunately, she never explained herself well, and she wound up looking like an evil brat. It would have been a non-issue; instead, she misspoke at every turn.