A New Religion?

On July 30 the Washington Post published a piece by Manuel Roi-Franzia about the fate of Trayvon Martin’s hoodie:

‘In the moment that the hoodie — Trayvon Martin’s hoodie — appeared in Courtroom 5D in Seminole County, Fla., it was as if the air sluiced out the door. There was a breathless, aching stillness.

Prosecutors displayed the dark gray sweatshirt that Martin wore on the last night of his life in an enormous, rectangular, thickly three-dimensional frame. The hoodie lay suspended between clear plastic sheets with its arms spread wide inside a cross-shaped cutout, set starkly apart from the brilliant white of the matting. It might easily have been mistaken for a religious relic, even as it became a singularly evocative entry in a long inventory of indelible courtroom artifacts from O.J. Simpson’s ill-fitting gloves to Lorena Bobbitt’s emasculating kitchen knife. Prosecutors lifted the framed hoodie awkwardly, teetering toward the jury.

“I get goose bumps just thinking about it,” says Michael Skolnik, who sat next to Martin’s parents on that morning, the day before the Fourth of July. Skolnik, the political director for hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and a member of the Trayvon Martin Foundation board, felt as if he were in the presence of something as consequential and iconic as Babe Ruth’s bat or the Declaration of Independence. “It’s like this mythical garment,” he says.’

The Zimmerman story has been a struggle of science, intelligence and rationality against ignorance, superstition and bigotry. The former had victories with the exclusion of the so called expert witnesses and with the jury verdict. But superstition may have the final word of the hoodie of Trayvon becomes a latter day Shroud of Turin.

 

 

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