The year was 1971. DFW Airport was under construction, and an alliance of business interests called the North Texas Commission needed a way to promote the region, which would blossom as jet fuel and carry-ons made a vast swath of blackland prairie fertile. The assignment fell to a reprobate adman by the name of Harve Chapman, who worked at TracyLocke. (Note: Chapman, by all accounts, is actually a swell fellow, despite the irresponsible spelling of his first name. Having semi-retired in 1986, he then moved back to his hometown of Sulphur Springs, where he is now working on a campaign to put Christ back in Christmas. But as Chapman himself I’m sure would tell you, we mustn’t let facts cloud the truth. Only a reprobate adman would do what Chapman did.) Stealing from the Greek “metropolis” and the French-by-way-of-Latin “complex,” he created the word “Metroplex” to label what theretofore had been known as Dallas–Fort Worth. It was like the pope’s butler at the wheel of a food truck serving spanakopita filled with foie gras. The concoction was presented to the public forty years ago, including on a two-page advertising spread in a 1973 issue of Fortune.
Funny thing is, while the ugly appellation has since been embraced by Dallasites and Fort Worthers and even Arlingtonians, with TV weathermen referring to fronts rolling through the Metroplex and entrepreneurs launching Metroplex Waste and Metroplex Striping (not to be confused with Metroplex Stripping), those locals wouldn’t dare use the word abroad. Never has a person from Farmers Branch bellied up to a hotel bar in Chicago and, when asked from whence he hails, responded, “I’m from the Metroplex.” The reason is obvious. It is a grotesque word that means nothing and, worse, sounds like an involuntary utterance made between spasms of reverse peristalsis into the bowl of an American Standard.
“Arphlggh. Oh no. Metroplex! Jesus Chrysler 300, I swear I’ll never do Drambuie shots again.”
So what should we call the place? How about we just call the whole thing Dallas? No one gives a shit about Fort Worth or Farmers Branch anyway.