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Massachusetts Symbols of the Arts

Tennessee has over two dozen official cultural symbols, but a dozen of them are songs. In terms of diversity, Massachusetts gives the Volunteer State a run for the money.

Folk Song Massachusetts 1981
Patriotic Song Massachusetts (Because of You Our Land is Free) 1989
Glee Club Song The Great State of Massachusetts 1997
Ode Ode to the Commonwealth 2000
Polka Song Say Hello to Someone in Massachusetts 1998
Ceremonial March The Road to Boston 1985
Folk Dance square dance Redundant Symbol 1990
Poem Blue Hills of Massachusetts 1981
Children’s Book Make Way for Ducklings 2003
Children’s Author and Illustrator Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss 2003
Artist Norman Rockwell 2008
Blues Artist Taj Mahal 2006
Massachusetts Symbols of the Arts

Norman Rockwell may have been as strange as Johnny Appleseed. Rockwell was an author, painter and illustrator best known for his cover illustrations on The Saturday Evening Post and Boys’ Life magazines. His paintings portrayed a kinder, gentler America, but there was something odd about them.

First, the themes tended to be very patriotic. Coca-Cola, the Boy Scouts, and military themes were among his favorite subjects. Second, Rockwell seemed to have an unusual fondness for boys.

However, the media—which are a little strange themselves—loved Rockwell and made him famous. Today, he is Massachusetts’ official artist.

Massachusetts State PeopleLeft to right: Norman Rockwell, Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) and Taj Mahal (aka Henry St. Clair Fredericks). (License)

Theodor Geisel was somewhat similar to Norman Rockwell, a right-wing (and very racist) patriot who wrote stories that are a little strange. However, his stories are strange in a cool sort of way.

Geisel was designated Massachusetts’ official children’s author and illustrator. His most famous books include The Cat In The Hat, Green Eggs and Ham and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Geisel wrote under the name Dr. Seuss. He even invented a word that Bill Gates made famous, nerd. Wouldn’t it be funny if Dr. Seuss could have written a book about Bill Gates?

Bill Gates

Taj Mahal is another fake name. His real name is Henry St. Clair Fredericks. A talented musician, he was adopted as Massachusetts’ official blues artist.

There are more Massachusetts symbols of the arts to explore, including half a dozen songs. I hope someone disguised as Dr. Seuss broadcasts the official ceremonial march while blowing up the official peace statue in Orange.

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