Early this year, we
learned that Utah was considering a bill to name
a Browning pistol its official state firearm. Yes!
Utah now has an official state gun. It beat out
Arizona, which this week bestowed its honor on
the Colt Single-Action Army pistol.
Gail Collins, The New York Times
Symbols are powerful things.
Ms. Collins further
reflected on Connecticuts fight over naming
an official state mammal, in which the whale vied
with the deer. The whale won, which must have
elated homeowners who have never once woken up to
discover a whale had eaten their vegetable garden.
In their quest for symbols, Connecticut has also
elected the Corsair F4U as its state aircraft.
American politicians find
thing-naming warrants serious deliberation. This
discussion may keep them from dabbling in more
alarming matters, like further reducing taxes of
the wealthy, sending non-English-speakers back to
their home countries, and protecting corporate
Today, every state lines up
some flora and fauna as symbols of their bragging
rights. Floridas unofficial state animal,
the alligator, may be held in greater awe by
tourists than by its governor. Gov. Rick Scott
recently remarked he would be
receptive to putting bullets in a
gator if it would help promote the states
tourism. Mr. Scott gets close to alligators only
when he wears his gold-embossed, custom-made
governor boots made of alligator skin.
New Jersey, the most
densely populated state in the U.S., is commonly
known as The Garden State. In 2004 it named the
high bush blueberry as its official fruit,
beating out the lowly cranberry. Wags have also
joked that the state tree might realistically be
changed from the red oak to the cell phone tower.
This would be in keeping with frigid North Dakota,
where the telephone pole has been suggested as
the state tree.
Wisconsins reputation for beer drinking,
its official beverage is
this innocuous beverage with Maryland and North
Dakota. As outraged Wisconsin citizens petition
to recall Republican conservatives, the Dairy
State might consider naming Gov. Scott Walker a
piece of overripe cheese.
Startlingly, Texas even has
a state cooking implement the Dutch oven,
that pot pioneers hung over campfires. Perhaps
one would cook the state pastry the sopaipilla
honey cakein it. And nibble on the state
snack, the tortilla chip.
contribution to ecology has the grizzly bear in
the center of its flag, adopted in 1911. Grizzly
bears, unfortunately, are now extinct there,
replaced by swimming pools and freeways.
Its rumored that choosing the bear was in
error. The original symbol was supposed to be the
pear, but a poor telephone connection
resulted in the more masculine ursinus
horribilis. Imagine that conversation:
Can you hear me now? I said put a pear
on the flag!
All of these things
being official make them just
so much more respectable. And perhaps Arizona
will consider the recent mayhem of Tucson
residents and wounding of a U.S. Congresswoman
its official massacre.