In the spirit of "Drug Free School Zones," Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke foolishly set out to prove that widely applied doublespeak would indeed teach people to read. Faced with a nagging problem of endemic illiteracy in the fine city he had been elected to run, Schmoke in 1988 proclaimed Baltimore "The City That Reads."

The slogan quickly became ubiquitous, as did its ridicule. All the city's public benches were soon painted over, with Reading Zone printed in bold lettering above Schmoke's blunderous epithet for his hometown. Oddly enough, the most common pastime on said benches remained the same as it had been for years: lying unconscious with a brown bag of cheap wine tucked under one's arm. Local cynics noted the city's homicide rate (the highest in the country) and unofficially renamed Baltimore "The City That Bleeds." Schmoke, however, was so confident in his ability to will his city into literacy that he proceeded to cut public library funding.

Doublespeak seems to be a way of life in "Charm City." Schmoke's successor Martin O'Malley proclaimed Baltimore "The Greatest City in America."

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