Relax, Bruins fans and other insulted Bostonians. That “Toronto Stronger” sign, wielded by a Toronto Maple Leafs fan at Monday night’s NHL playoff game, may not have been in the world’s greatest taste. But it also wasn’t a dangerous affront to the spirit of our city. In fact it was probably inevitable.
In the weeks since the Boston Marathon bombings, the “Boston Strong” slogan, once a spontaneous expression of defiance and civic pride, has evolved into something of a brand, applied to charitable ventures, available on T-shirts sold at drugstores, wielded on Twitter and at sporting events. And it’s only a matter of time before a brand becomes co-opted in the service of politics or the occasional tasteless joke. One sports-related tweak doesn’t count as an attack, nor does it require an overblown response. The true spirit of Boston can’t be reduced to a slogan, and it certainly can’t be damaged by one Canadian hockey fan with a homemade sign.