Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Scarlet Letter

The last time I saw my inspiration, it had formed a trio with my mind and my wits and they were singing Christmas carols as a round in the pub... that was last week and they still haven't come back. So, I'm gonna try having a few friends feed me prompts to keep this little blog breathing a bit of fresh air. Apparently, today's topic is the scarlet letter.

Now, all I know of this book is only a bit more coherent than a quarter-finished pointalism painting, but the impression I got was the protagonist commited adultery by sleeping with a preacher, and was punished to public shame and bullying by way of a scarlet 'A' she had to wear on all of her clothes. At the time, I was miffed because I never noticed the preacher she slept with being punished (though there's plenty of room for me to be wrong, it's not like I actually read the book), but now I have another idea...

What would life be like if we had to visually declare our shames everywhere we went? Not necessarily for crimes (that's what public records are for), and the idea of exposing all our secret things gets rather complicated, but things society at large declares as shameful. Bigots of any flavor. Homophobes. Hypocrites. Control freaks. Creepy "Nice Guys (TM)". Right-wing fundamentalists. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone like that had a warning label on them?

I do have a rather liberal mindset, so a conservative person would probably come up with a different list of the people they'd like to put a warning label on. And the beauty of this is, they could and it would make life easier: everyone is warned away from the people they wouldn't want to associate with.

Of course, you really can't put all of a book's contents on it's cover. And trying to is a really bad idea- the best you can do is a paragraph summary, which completely misses all the detail and emotion and everything that makes the book worth reading. So the progression of this little idea ends up in a very stupid place, one that would make any libertarian terrified of the future (well, moreso than a cynical person already is).

All the really interesting things in life are only found when you look deep; and passing by the things that look weird and ugly on the surface leads to an unfulfilled life.

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