Going to Blazes
Whenever I come across a bit of branding language that strikes me as odd or wrongheaded, I make an effort to look at it from the brand’s perspective instead of from my own. Sure, I’ve been paid to create distinctive names and taglines for my clients for some 25 years, but I still have my blind spots. We all do.
So when on July 30 the company once known as Twitter and now called X revealed its peculiar new tagline, I paused for a few seconds to give it fair consideration.
OK, consider it considered.
“Blaze your glory!” is a bad, weird, unnatural tagline.
It sounds as though it was created by artificial intelligence, or by a person who’d never spoken or read English.
Or by a CEO with a grandeur complex.
I wasn’t the only one cringing.
The headline on Motherboard’s story called the tagline “bizarre.” The journalist Josh Marshall tweeted: “Is this written by someone who struggles with words?” Yahoo Finance speculated that the tagline was “something an aging rock band would say” — possibly when very, very high, because blaze is, after all, an established slang synonym for smoke marijuana. (And blazes has been a euphemism for “hell” since the early 19th century. If you’re setting your novel during the second administration of President James Madison, you may want to have one of your more rugged characters exclaim, “What in the blue blazes!”)
You can blaze a trail. You can go to blazes (hell) or go to glory (heaven). But you can’t blaze “your glory” without sounding like your circuits are fried.
It’s not as though blaze and glory are strangers to each other. Since the 1500s, they’ve been connected in a familiar idiom: to go down in a blaze of glory — to flame out, to have a spectacular downfall. “Blaze of Glory” is the title of Jon Bon Jovi’s 1990 single, written for the film Young Guns II and nominated for an Academy Award. “I’m goin’ down in…