If you're on Twitter (or have been waiting for an excuse to start), do a search for #MAheritage -- a thread I started in an offhand Tweet yesterday, and which took off into a great list of all things Massachusetts.
The original notion came from a news item about a UNESCO program, which tries to do for the world's intangible cultural assets what the World Heritage Foundation does for physical objects, like great architecture. "Intangible cultural heritage" includes things like musical styles, festivals, cuisine, and activities -- everything from flamenco and Peking Opera, to human tower building in Spain and the Qiang New Year Festival in China -- that have been a valuable part of a society's collective cultural experience.
So I asked, what would you put on a list of Massachusetts's "intangible cultural heritage"?
Twitter being what it is, the thread quickly developed a life, and a definition, of its own. Area activities, personalities, places, events, and memories that are part of the state's collective sense of self came pouring out. Rene Rancourt's rendition of the National Anthem before a Bruins game? You bet that's part of our cultural heritage. So, apparently, is canned brown bread, the TV38 New Year's Three Stooges marathon, candlepin bowling, the Giant Glass jingle, Thanksgiving high school football rivalry games, and jealous hatred of schools alphabetically close to your own that get named during the radio snow-day school-closings announcements -- to name just a few of the hundreds contributed so far. And it's still going strong.
WGBH's Emily Rooney Show has invited me and Garrett Quinn on to discuss it, at around 12:30 today, at 89.7FM. Please tune in, and call in, and keep the ideas flowing, here in the comments to this post or on Twitter!