The Sanitary Inspection Blue Letter

Ah, The Scarlet Letter, the eighth grade book you were required to read but didn’t understand the significance of until you were much, much older, i.e. an adult woman.

Similar to the “Roses are Red” poem experiment, I wondered if recontextualizing the scarlet letter A would take the earnesty out of this text. A letter A that all of us New Yorkers revere? The Sanitary Inspection Grade A. No roaches or mice in the kitchen for this discerning diner! And, because women’s bodies are mediated, governed, and politicized, it would reclaim some of the power from the practice of men speaking on behalf of women. The scarlet letter A, a derogatory mark of shame from men, becomes a Sanitary Inspection Grade Blue A, a stamp of approval from New York City women everywhere.

Of course, once I figure out what I want to do it takes me a full day to try and figure out how to do it. My coding handicap is frustrating because I know exactly what I want, but executing it is a massive challenge. I’ve selected the text I want, but I don’t know how to isolate the red color and replace it with blue. I might try averaging it together, subtracting red, adding blue and seeing what that does.

This is what I would like to do!

But I keep getting this error:

Can it not read ‘utf8’? I’m not sure what that even is, exactly.

I have a ton of questions and I wish I had did this assignment on Monday so I had time to ask them. I feel like my process is lopsided in the amount of time I spend figuring out a concept vs execution, but I haven’t given up yet.


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