First of all, I have to say I love that old school “s” makes the title Bloody Regifter. I’m thinking that needs to be a Christmas card. Reading through it makes me think of all those pulp crime & detective magazines, with all the lurid covers. Guess they go all the way back to the beginning of the nation.
One of the things librarian-type people like me try to teach is the evaluation of information sources, and one of the key things we focus on is the purpose of the information: Why was it written and published? We’ve been seeing a shift in the readings, and it’s quite distinct this week. Where Mather was writing to instruct, to get across a moral or religious message, this week’s readings, especially The Record of Crimes in the United States, were written to entertain. The title sounds like it would be informative writing, but the text uses language in way that goes beyond conveying facts. It would be one thing to identify Rachel Cunningham as a prostitute, but it’s quite another to say that “She was an ignorant, vulgar prostitute of the lowest grade” (p. 44) and that she “had no more pretension to beauty than the female ourang outang lately brought over. Indeed the ape is insulted by the comparison” (p. 48). The stories read like Law & Order: 19th Century.