Scandals are seen in everyday life and throughout history. Scandal is something that brings about shame or disgrace to a community or individual. People document many scandals, and put them in newspapers, on television, the radio, and they even wrote books about it for others to enjoy. In today’s media we see celebrities “shunned” all the time whether it’s something as small as a bad wardrobe or bad habits they have to their crimes like one of the most notorious American gangsters known as Al Capone.

As the scandals and shunning today are different today the media still does stories and writes articles of the person and tells the whole world of what they did and disgraces the person and shows them as a lesser individual. One example of a book written based on scandal was the “Scarlet Letter” wrote in 1850’s by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The book shows the sin of adultery by one of the women in the town named Hester Prynne. In the “Scarlet Letter” Hester was shunned by having to wear a red letter “A” on her chest which stood for the sin Adultery.

Although in today’s society we are not forced to wear letters for our sins our media has different ways of disgracing people like the letter “A” on her chest did. She was ordered to wear it to disgrace her and in every scandal there is disgrace. Al Capone was notorious for a being an infamous gangster and the basis for most stereotypical gangsters in the media and in ways compares to Hester Prynne from “The Scarlet Letter. ”

Alphonse Gabriel Capone was an Italian-American born in Brooklyn, New York on January 17, 1899 after being expelled from Public School 133 during this time, Capone was influenced by gangster Johnny Torrio, whom he came to regard as a mentor. Johnny Torrio went to Chicago to resolve family issues which led to killing of a few gang members of The Black Hand. In Chicago Torrio saw opportunities for bootlegging during the prohibition. After nearly dying in an assassination attempt in 1925 Torrio gave his business to Capone.

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Capone was notorious during the Prohibition Era for his crime syndicate, known as the “Capones,” dedicated to smuggling and bootlegging liquor and other illegal activities in Chicago from the early 1920s to 1931. He controlled large portions of the Chicago underworld, which provided the Outfit with an estimated US $100 million per year. When he was sentenced to federal prison he was sentenced for tax evasion because they did not have enough proof on his bootlegging and felt tax evasion was an easier way to put him away. His business card reportedly described him as a used-furniture dealer.

Although Capone both ordered and committed murders himself he was shown upon in the media as a terrible person and received terrible media attention for his crimes and disgraced his reputation as a good person. Once Capone was arrested for tax evasion and convicted as a murderer and bootlegger the media attention he received shunned him as a decent person from society even though shortly after the stock market crash of 1929, he opened soup kitchens and arranged for local merchants to give away food and clothing to needy people, at his own expense.

Capone’s image was always shown as a gangster and a thug and that’s all the media cared to see him as. The stereotypical image of a mobster wearing a blue pinstriped suit and tilted fedora is based on photos of Capone. His accent, mannerisms, facial construction, sometimes his physical stature, and parodies of his name have been used for numerous gangsters in comics, movies, music, and literature. Any one seen as a bad person is shown as the image of Capone.

Al Capone’s reputation is still disgraced from the media attention he receives and probably will still receive the same attention for many more years until another crime boss becomes victim of the media and is shown only bad sides of him and his dealings and not even considered for what good he could have possibly done. People are interested in the gossips and the scandals in everyday life and the media gives the people what they want to hear even if it disgraces them as a person similar in some ways to the book “The Scarlet Letter”

In “The Scarlet Letter” Hester Prynne is the mother of her daughter Pearl and is shunned upon her town because of her sins. Hester is forced to wear the letter “A” and receives a bad reputation all around the town and is seen as a sinner. In ways Al Capone and Hester Prynne had the same shunning. Al Capone was only seen for his wrong doings and known to the world as a gangster and a thug. Hester Prynne was seen as a sinner and made to look that way by the town.

Capone and Hester were made off to be bad people, even though Capone helped out the homeless and opened up soup kitchens he was never shown as a good person only bad. By wearing the “A” Hester taught of sin being a wrong doing and showed that if you sin you will be caught but she wasn’t known as a sort of preacher she was known as a sinner accused of adultery. They both were disgraced but Hester was never put to jail for years because of her crime she just lived in shame and humiliation by the town’s people.

Capone was not forced to wear a letter for murder or bootlegging but in ways his image was disgraced and seen as a bad person. In the end they were both lost, one at sea and one to pneumonia, and might never be seen for the good they could have done. Scandals in the media today are not as much professional as they are to attract public viewing. When reporting on someone’s life, especially in topics that could ruin their reputation, to do less gossip and more of facts.

History shows scandals have been happening all the time and will still occur in the future. Scandals will probably never stop and neither will the way it affects lives. Al Capone was crime boss and only seen as a bad person and in ways could compare to Hester Prynne who was seen as a sinner. A person’s reputation is how they are known to the world and labeling them as only one thing, especially bad, could affect them in more ways than one could think.


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