Here it is, fresh from the print and almost finished (I’ve been hiding from people to be able to have some peace and quiet to read), Jon Ronson‘s new book about public shaming, the way it’s done today and what it means for the shamed ones. Includes stories of people who made a big mistake, a small mistake or simply a joke, or they have been exposed doing something that was/could be considered shameful. Some of them fell apart – some for no good reason became social media ‘sensations’ overnight and have been fired from their jobs and so on. Yet, some of them surfed the wave and came to land without a scratch.
As usual, Ronson’s style is super entertaining yet full of substance and heart, and I love that about his writing in general and about this book in particular.
And I find the subject so relevant and curious at the same time. I’ve seen people being shamed on social media, that kind of shaming that becomes a sort of a sport, something to see ‘who says it better’. I’ve been – small scale – in similar situations myself, and it feels unfair and for some reason it’s frustrating and it hurts. Whether it has a reason or not, it is a form of bullying. And in most cases in which people’s lives ended up falling apart, social media had something to do with it.
Ronson looks at the phenomena of public shaming from many different angles, among others telling the story of a therapist who tries to ‘help’ people stop feeling ashamed for various reasons, a judge who changed convicted people’s lives by shaming them, Princess Donna Dolore from Kink who directs porn but essentially tries to make certain behaviours less taboo.
To end: no one is immune to this, some survive it better than others, eventually the funny photo you posted online this morning might become the beginning of your career.
Read the book.