I started making pamphlets because I live in New York, and something that we have a lot of here are people who stand out in public and scream and yell about something, the thing varying, but the tone of voice generally similar. And when I pass these people if I am not paying much attention I generally find myself agreeing with them, at least in intention, if not in detail. There are many reasons for this, some of them being:
1. Aesthetics. I come from a family that is full of mentally unstable alcoholics, who spend most of their time shouting and gesticulating wildly, so when I come across strangers in public acting similarly, it’s like home.
2. Often, what they are shouting about is generally related to Our Imminent Death, and How We Should Think About These Things. Which I really do completely agree with, even if I’m totally paying attention. I’m 100% behind the idea that we are all going to die really soon, and we should all be thinking about that, because that’s really important. I think I probably come to different conclusions that they do on the subject of what to do about that fact. But still.
3. They often have printed materials that they would like you to read. This one really gets me: Because usually it’s religious printed materials, which means that they are trying to give you a pamphlet because they think it is going to save your soul. Think about the level of faith in the printed word that that demonstrates. I love me some print, but I have never run something through a press and then taken a look at what I have done and thought, Now this is going to get someone into heaven.
I really have only half the amount of faith in print that the average proselytizer has, but in honor of that staggering leap of faith I make free informational pamphlets. I’m working on a new one right now, based on the 17th century, a heyday for the pamphlet in many ways. Hopefully it will be done this fall, fingers crossed.