Tuesday, July 7, 2015

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson ****

Public punishments (stocks, pillory, whipping post) were abolished almost 200 years ago, except for Delaware which waited until 1952. The reasoning behind abolition seemed to be that public humiliation, a.k.a. shaming, was felt to be the cruelest punishment, worse than death some said.

Recently, thanks to social media, this type of punishment has returned. So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson is a encyclopedic study of the subject, from history to current examples, both on social media and in the criminal justice system. Ronson has included self-help advice for anyone who might encounter this archaic social punishment, and an attempted analysis for this mob behavior.

One the the scariest things about our current round of public shamings is that they are extra-judicial, essential mob run, so the punishment can be arbitrary in target and intensity. The book includes two examples of what were jokes gone bad that destroyed the jokers lives. These cautionary tales lead to the conclusion
this is creating a more conformist, conservative age.
(note: to avoid giving a longer life to these unfortunate incidents, I do not repeat the details here.)

I found one of the most interest sections to be about a service that, for a 6-figure fee, will move the Google results for your transgression from page one to page two. One interesting observation was that an individual's transgression not only follows them, but also everyone else with a similar name since
different spelling didn't seem to matter to Google Images
 All in all this book provides a broad coverage on the subject enjoyable to anyone with interest in gossip and stories of people in trouble, and helpful for anyone who has been caught in the Internet net.

No comments: