While assisting his elder brother James with their paper, the New England Courant, young Benjamin Franklin was heavily influenced by the underlying satirical tone of the paper itself. In 1722, he began writing articles employing his own sarcasm toward the Puritan leaders of Boston. He adopted the pseudonym Mrs. Silence Dogood, giving the author a female role so as to make “her” comments and observations all the more cutting. The name Dogood was invented in jest of the venerable Cotton Mather, a Puritan priest who stressed his ideals in his “Essays to do Good”.
Mrs. Silence Dogood, the humble yet dignified widow of a country parson, wrote in a style filled with serious conclusions and clever humor. Her role was to inform the narrow-minded public of the art of doing good. She was very sensible and had experiences with the ways of the world. Silence Dogood’s articles received immediate attention and acclaim from James Franklin and fellow editors. Once she established her ground in the field of journalism, the captivating writer began to utilize her literary prowess to the fullest extent. She exhibited her virtues and carped at the corruption and bad manners of Bostonian society, especially the conservatism of the wealthy young gentlemen at Harvard University.
The novice writer soon joined forces with James Franklin and other critics who greatly opposed the rich and powerful ways of the Puritan community. When James was imprisoned for his views, it was up to Benjamin to take the reins of the family paper, and he used his power to the fullest extent. The younger Franklin revealed the true identity of Mrs. Silence Dogood and boldly continued to publish his witty articles which had now become the center of Puritan attention.
Jean-Luc Godard, Une femme mariée, 1964
Superheroes in vintage photos.
Trippin On Sound