Orange is the New Black has Me Seeing Red!
I applauded heartily—all by myself–though I sat in a packed house at The Hartford Stage last Thursday night. I wasn’t cheering the featured, celebrated author, Piper Kerman, “Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison.”
I was applauding because the woman interviewing Ms. Kerman was finally tip-toeing to the topic that had struck a nerve in me since I read the book last month. Piper Kerman’s culpability and remorse. “Ask Piper Kerman if she really is sorry for her crime,” I was trying to convey by my mid-show solo-clapping.
What’s “Orange” about and why does it make me see red? It is about 32-year-old Piper Kerman, whose seemingly privileged life has to be postponed while she surrenders herself for 15 months to the women’s prison in Danbury, CT. Ten years earlier, she transported drug money through customs for an ex-lover. The law finally caught up to her and she had to do the time. She cobbled together a memoir of sorts and her writer/fiancé with his connections and a well-placed article in The Times, helped to get her unleavened, sophomoric “Going to a Cushy Women’s Prison for Dummies” published.
I wiggled a lot in my seat. I imagined saying things like “Are you flippin’ kidding me?!” during the casual Oprah-ish interview.
One weak argument that made me roll my eyes was that we all have done stupid things as young adults. Indeed, “There, for the Grace of God, Go I.” But the fact is that Kerman, 23 at the time and privileged grad from Smith College, willfully and knowingly carried a suitcase of drug money as a “mule.” She was fully aware of what was going on, living off the seedy spoils of international drug activity like a rock star in lavish hotels in posh places around the globe.
This went on for at least a year! This was no one-night-stand, folks. Not her first rodeo!
I refrained from throwing verbal tomatoes lest I be removed by security.
I flared again how Kerman down-played what she referred to as her “Non-violent
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