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“You kind of feel bad for the guy,” writes blogger Lauren Davis about the TV show Salem. Then she says to her readers: “I never thought I’d write those words about Cotton Mather.”

The First American Evangelical: A Short Life of Cotton Mather The First American Evangelical: A Short Life of Cotton Mather

In other promotional material for Salem, Cotton Mather is described as a tortured soul.” One character remembers that as a kid, “he used to dress like a girl. Fought like one too.” Increase Mather, his father, is portrayed as profoundly disappointed in him. “Imagine,” the father says to his son, “how proud I am to have raised a son so steadfast in his ability to consistently make the wrong decisions.”

Again, in her blog post “Is Salem Really Trying to Make Cotton Mather a Hero?” Lauren Davis writes of her sympathy for Cotton Mather. Yes: “He is too naïve, too easily flattered, too trusting…

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