Up Next: Martin the Singing Alligator?
We all know by now that the Rose Kennedy Greenway is the biggest waste of time and space since City Hall Plaza. But however poorly conceived and executed the project is, at least it was reasonably clear who it was named after. Until now.
Today’s Globe carries a story on “Rose,” our new presumptive Greenway mascot. At the urging of Greenway Conservatory head Peter Meade, popular local children’s book author Peter Reynolds created a book starring the eponymous Rose, a tawney-hared, oval-headed cartoon tot.
“[Rose] roams the world collecting seeds,” says the Globe, “and, traveling via a giant teapot, lands in Boston Harbor. Rose notices all kinds of people living together, falls in love with Boston, and decides to plant her garden here.”
Hmm. We’re already into dubious territory, as Rose seems to have taken it upon herself to totally whitewash our city’s essential character. Boston’s hardly a place where the first thing you notice is “all kinds of people living together.”
Indeed, there are all kinds of people living together, but in a decidedly disharmonic and, frankly, segregated sort of way. If Rose was a real newcomer to town, the first thing she would have done is almost get hit by a car or shoved, unless she touched down around Geneva Avenue, in which case her flying teapot would have been quickly pocked by stray gunfire.
“That’s Reynolds’s concept for the book, which will be dedicated to the late Rose Kennedy,” the story continues. “For the Greenway, Reynolds envisions a sculpture of a large teapot with flowers growing out of it. The top lies on the ground, with Rose in it—like “Ducklings,” perfect for a photo-op with kids. The bronze ducklings in the Public Garden are one of the city’s most photographed sites, and Meade says he’d love a similar draw for the Greenway.”
“It would be great for us to have a story that people knew,” he says. “It would be a great way to introduce families to the Greenway.”
OK, here’s where we run into trouble. For one, no one’s suggesting the Ducklings created the Public Garden, so the comparison isn’t exactly one-to-one.
Two, I’m not wild about the Creationist undertones of this project, particularly, if, as Meade says, it will be how the city (or whoever owns this thing) introduces tourists to the park. Kids are going to show up to the Greenway, see the statue, read the story, and come away thinking this park was miraculously created by this Rose, not by a complete failure of imagination on the parts of many, many layers of political leadership.
Three, Meade says it will be great “for us to have a story that people knew” to introduce them to the Greenway. Um, how about the story of Rose Kennedy, the woman the thing is actually named for? Is her story not interesting enough?
She did marry a Hitler-appeasing mobbed-up diplomat, and gave birth to a president and a US senator of historic proportions, but, then again, she also lived her life without once piloting a flying teapot, so maybe she wouldn’t be the best mascot for this thing.
Moreover, while we’re generating mascots for things to connect better with young tourists, how about spreading it around a little? We could have “Tobin the Talking Pony” by the toolbooths on the Tobin Bridge, or “Martin the Singing Alligator” on Martin Luther King Boulevard. That way we could forget about all about our history, then replace that knowledge with a cast of fanciful cartoon characters. That work for you guys?