Welcome to the DMV

District + Maryland + Virginia = DMV

I recently mused to a friend about how silly it is that a certain Georgia city has adopted a nickname based on its airport code. But our metro area is doing Atlanta one better – or one lamer – by branding itself after the Department of Motor Vehicles.

As The Washington Post noted Friday, many in the local “hip-hop and go-go music crowd” call metropolitan Washington “the DMV” – that is, the District, Maryland and Virginia. This is nothing new – it’s just that “most mainstream news sources haven't picked up on it,” according to The Post.

The name has been in use for several years, and as The Post said, “it’s familiar to listeners of black-oriented radio stations.” It’s certainly hipper than “A Capital City.”

But is it a worthy successor to D.C.’s funk-era nickname “Chocolate City”? Though that name’s being revived with a new microbrew called Chocolate City Beer, The Post is right to observe that the name’s a bit passé: “Washington's suburbs have grown exponentially since the term was in vogue and are now home to more African Americans than the District itself.”

Arguably, having the “DMV” nickname highlighted in The Washington Post is the first nail in the coffin of its hipness. But in a way, it suits our fair city. Long lines, inefficient bureaucracy, surly attitudes – yep, that’s D.C. And the DMV.

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