Thursday, June 22, 2017

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

4 of 5 stars  ****

An interesting update on the way people publicly shame and the ramifications that result from such shaming. Ronson uses personal experiences with friends and colleagues to make his point and adeptly follows through with causes and outcomes from this ancient teacher of behavior. Today's shaming is immediate with a large population of judges who can be ruthless in their commentary. 

The example from the internet is Twitter and the causes range from moments of anger to attempts at humor. Exposed plagiarism, unintended or not, can shame the most talented into hiding. Once the jury weighs in on a politically incorrect choice of words, shaming begins on a wide public scale that destroys livelihoods, permanently stains reputations, and evokes hopelessness and helplessness. 

Examples of public shaming in the past, such as: stocks, whipping posts, tar and feathering and being ridden out of town on a rail are outlawed today because of the excess cruelty. The author still claims that the shaming today cuts deep enough to scar one for life. 

Ronson also enlightens the reader about another consequence of shaming. Retribution that may lead to forgiveness; or, as he describes a better public response, nothing at all. This implies that people forget the incident that would otherwise embed itself in the mind of public opinion. 

So You've Been Publicly Shamed alerts one to the responsibility of expressing a thought, idea, or instruction in today's world. Reactionary impulses can have lifelong repercussions if communicated from the safety of one's PC or smartphone. It is easily done with the singular press of a key, Enter or Send. A mindless thought to a sensitive audience awaits judgment and conviction in one vindicating moment.