The Writer’s Almanac alerted me today that on this day in 1850 The Scarlet Letter was published. Fictional and best selling, perhaps in part, by default — because it was amongst the first American literature printed on machine presses armed with an assembly line and pushed out to the masses in ample supply. Regardless, it sold and has stuck with us. It rings an accurate depiction of the local majority, our home team, the Puritans. A woman in Boston was marked, and scorned, for unholiness. And worse, a holy man, at her hand, fell.
Was her greatest sin not the original one, but her confidence in God? By my read, the really provocative thing about her wasn’t sexual, but spiritual.
She had the audacity to submit that a sinner could surrender to God and be liberated from past transgressions.
This morning I listened to Bill Hicks.
I was in Nashville, Tennessee last year. After the show I went to a
Waffle House. I’m not proud of it, I was hungry. And I’m alone, I’m
eating and I’m reading a book, right? Waitress walks over to me: “Hey,
whatchoo readin’ for?” Isn’t that the weirdest fucking question you’ve
ever heard? Not what am I reading, but what am I reading “for?” Well,
godammit, ya stumped me! Why do I read? Well… hmmm… I dunno… I
guess I read for a lot of reasons, and the main one is…
Suddenly a big trucker overhears me and
gets up. He says, “Weeeell, looks like we got ourselves a reader…”
Next week, Ray L. Jasper is set to be executed by lethal injection.
Some people say when a person does certain wrong things, they’re worthless. Killable even. I say they’re wisdom in the works.