September 17, 2007

More Thoughts on The Scarlet A

A recent post on A Whore in the Temple of Reason has me thinking about the scarlet A selected to symbolize the OUT Campaign again. I support what the campaign stands for but think that the choice of the scarlet A was unfortunate.

My reasons for disliking that chosen symbol are as follows:
  1. The large red letter A already has a widely recognized meaning from Nathaniel Hawthorne's literary classic, The Scarlet Letter. In Hawthorne's book, Hester Prynne is forced to wear a scarlet A on her attire to symbolize her sin of adultery. This seems like an absurd symbol for atheists to attempt to reclaim as our own.
  2. Aside from the association with adultery, the scarlet A fails to symbolize the sort of "atheist pride" many want the OUT Campaign to represent. People seeing the symbol will either assume that the A stands for adulterer or be confused about its meaning. Wouldn't an unambiguous expression of atheism be a far more effective way to achieve the stated goals of the OUT campaign? At the very least, the symbol could be paired with its meaning like this. However, I tend to think that existing logos like this would be even more effective.
That's it. Those are my only reasons for thinking that the symbol was a poor choice. And again, this does not prevent me from supporting the campaign itself.

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