Boston Strong?

Boston suffered a tragedy in April of this year. The events of Marathon Monday in Boston won’t soon be forgotten, but is the media, and Boston community capitalizing on the tragedy?

Since April, the term “Boston Strong” has been used all over the Commonwealth as a phrase intended to incite unity and pride. From t-shirts, banners, commercials, and nightly news segments, to bumper stickers and tattoos, native Bostonians and the media therein have taken use of the term to extremes. What started as a way to show that we are more than, better than, and bigger than any tragedy that befalls us, has become a money making scheme. Do you agree with the commercialization of a sentiment? Or do you think that it should be reserved for fall out from Marathon Monday? Are people taking it too far? 

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8 Responses to Boston Strong?

  1. mattlevine4 says:

    People always love to have a reason to express their pride for something they represent. And oddly enough, this is enhanced when tragedy affects that certain thing they represent. This happened during 9/11 and it happened during the Boston Marathon bombings. It is a travesty to see people trying to make money of of these tragedies, but it is the way of the world. It doesn’t surprise me, but it definitely saddens me.

  2. Bennett K says:

    I think it has gotten a little out of control. I know the Red Sox really made a connection with the term and won, and that’s great. But it’s getting to the point that a lot of people who don’t know where it came from and a lot of sports fans get confused. I remember after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup I saw countless “Chicago Stronger” posts, which I find disgusting. It is a great campaign but I think non-Bostonites need to remember other people might not understand it.

  3. rwrollin says:

    As someone who is not from Massachusetts, I think the fact that it has been used as a money making scheme by the media in Boston may have been what opened the door to other media outlets spreading the term in a way that wasn’t connected to the bombing. Things like “Chicago Stronger” are tough to look at because I understand the impact of a tragedy being from NY with 9/11 but I think in this day in age we have to realize that nothing is sacred, and if there’s a way to make a dollar off of something its going to be made no matter the circumstances.

  4. cdanoff22 says:

    I am actually really glad you wrote this post because it is becoming a bit ridiculous. It’s starting to become more of a catch phrase or a slogan than a phrase that has a proud meaning behind it. The way people have commercialized it and where you see it now is almost disgusting because it isn’t used anymore as a phrase that brought a city together in a time of pain and sadness. It’s been commercialized and celebrated and is exactly that, a catch phrase and when people say it now it’s almost like it doesn’t represent what it used to.

    It was a brilliant way people showed support and it was exactly what the city needed. Now, it’s been overused and people I feel have lost sight of what it meant through the commercialization of the phrase. It’s been sad to watch but when people use it now in reference to many of the different situations I’ve seen it’s become very distasteful and disrespectful to those affected by the tragedy.

    So to answer the question, yes it has gone too far.

  5. kpodorefsky says:

    This is a good point. Sometimes I wonder if the ‘Boston Strong’ statement has become used too lightly. Overusing something can put a lower light on it because it is so common. We know what Boston Strong means, but since it is also used for sports it sometimes doesn’t have the connotation that it should when thought about in terms of the Boston Marathon losses. At the same time, when people say it all the time it shows a pride for Boston. Boston is a very active city and Boston fans are unlike any other. This goes to show that we care about where we are from.

  6. Hannah says:

    I’m disgusted by the commercialization of “Boston Strong” too, but I have additional reservations about the whole phenomenon of “sloganeering” in general, which I feel is inevitably exploitative and commercializing. I kind of made up that term, but by it I basically mean the cultural habit of reducing sentiments about a certain event to a catchy phrase or slogan.

    I feel like “sloganeering” and other similar trends have become more popular lately because of social media, which fosters an environment in which an emotion or experience isn’t legitimized until it’s made public. Sometimes it seems as though it’s not enough for a person or a community collectively to feel sorrow or terror or pain in their hearts, but it must be publicized to the point of over-saturation, a point everyone here seems to think “Boston Strong” has reached.

    When a slogan reaches such mass saturation, it loses its original meaning and becomes ripe for commercial takeover. The worst part about this is that what begins as sympathy for a group or a cause can morph into apathy or even cynicism as what began as a positive force for community healing is twisted to fulfill a commercial purpose. It’s too bad that we live in a world in which this can happen, but, like someone else said, I’m not surprised that it has.

  7. ebosco24 says:

    I think you guys are really right about this. The use of the term “Boston Strong” has gone too far. For a city to unite in the face of tragedy and proclaim its collective will to recover is both acceptable and in my eyes, necessary. For a city to post the phrase that many used to heal on billboards and t-shirts for months and months after the tragedy is absolutely going too far.

    While our sports teams will always be at the center of attention in this area, we must sometimes rein in our competitive spirit. We do not need to chant “Boston Strong!”, plaster it across the city and wear it on our chests to be a strong city and heal from the tragedy that affected so many of our neighbors. We can heal in a different way. A way that does not evoke feelings of emotion and aggression.

    I found this article to be particularly interesting. It’s a piece from and it tells the story of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis’ role in the response to the Marathon Bombings and World Series riots. The writer pins the term “from triumph to tragedy” atop the story and goes on to paint a very heroic picture of the Commissioner. While his duties should be appreciated and respected, I am not quite sure why a sports writer would find the need to do a story on him. I’ve tried again and again to figure out why and the best answer that I can come up with is that it is in some way related to our cultural over-celebration of the term “Boston Strong”.

  8. psalazar07 says:

    As time has passed since this tragedy, I have also noticed how much “Boston Strong” has been used. It was first used to bring Bostonians together but now it is just being thrown around and used whenever one feels it fits. It is nice that is was used on items such as shirts, hoodies, bracelets in which the proceeds went to One Fund Boston but some people are overly using the phrase. I feel that is has come to the extreme of being commercialized which is ethically wrong.

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