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Kentucky Kicks Ass: Tourism Department issues tone-deaf response to USA Today article

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We here at Insider Louisville – at least those of us who “live” in the Insider Louisville World Headquarters on a day-to-day basis – are unabashed fans of the “Kentucky Kicks Ass” rebranding movement launched by Kentucky for Kentucky earlier this month.

Have you seen the video? More than 38,000 people have. If you haven’t seen the video, watch it below now. Trust us. It kicks ass.

Unfortunately, the Kentucky Tourism Department didn’t see this as an opportunity to spin the Kick Ass movement into something fun and funky; instead they’ve decided that it’s something they have to denounce.

Patrick Stipes (mistakenly called “Pat Sipes” in the article), spokesman for State Department of Tourism told USA Today:

We certainly would not sanction or endorse that phraseology … These guys are Kentucky natives and they love the state. But they have a different constituency. Which is no one.

USA Today is, of course, a national stage … albeit a rickety one. What an awesome opportunity for the Commonwealth to showcase our sense of humor, our love of quirk, our eccentricity and our edge.

Not only did the Tourism Department blow the opportunity, but the “constituency of no one” jab is a juvenile response to something that is clearly (a) all in good fun, (b) created by cheerleaders for the Commonwealth and (c) gaining quite a bit of traction and praise and popularity.

It’s the schoolyard fight with the kid whose “best” insult is: “No one likes you.”

And it’s not true.

Plenty of people like it. As we mentioned, the video has already had more than 38K views. Kentucky for Kentucky has more than 9,000 “likes” on its Facebook page. Within a few hours of posting the USA Today article, the post had received hundreds of likes and more than 30 comments.

Comments like:

Kelly Keane Jones: Wish KY officials would have chosen a more light hearted response. How could a positive enthusiasm and state pride be a bad thing? Already, KY is gaining some free press off this. Ride the wave… 

Leonard Lawson IIISomething you hear, among a varying age of folks “This -blank- kicks ass!” Something you don’t hear, among any age of folks “This -blank- certainly has unbridled spirit!”

Kenneth Rambo: [Stites’s] quote “constituency of no one” is a bold statement given the fact K4K trails state tourism by less than 1,000 Facebook likes and has 30+ times the amount of people talking on Facebook.

At last check, the Kentucky for Kentucky Facebook page had 15,400+ people “talking about” it. Kentucky Tourism Department had less than 500.

Back in New England, we hide away our nutty relatives or pretend they’re not nutty at all. One of the many things I love about living in the grey space between the Midwest and the South is that we embrace the “characters” among us and love them for their oddballness.

Kentucky for Kentucky is your loopy uncle who has no internal editor and is slightly inappropriate almost all of the time.

But it doesn’t mean he’s wrong. And it doesn’t mean he’s not fun.

And it doesn’t mean we don’t love him.

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