Thursday, January 26, 2017

Book Review: So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Author: Jon Ronson
Publisher: Picador
Pages: 288
Format: E-book
Published: March, 2015
Price: $10.33 -> Rp137.596 (Amazon)
Rating: 3½ / 5 stars

Date started: January 10, 2017 - Date finished: January 22, 2017

From the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Psychopath Test, a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most underappreciated forces: shame.

'It's about the terror, isn't it?'

'The terror of what?' I said.

'The terror of being found out.'

For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work. Once their transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know they're being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.

A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping our land. Justice has been democratized. The silent majority are getting a voice. But what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding people's faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it. We are using shame as a form of social control.

Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You've Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws - and the very scary part we all play in it.
So You've Been Publicly Shamed is a collection of essays or as I should say a reportage (since Jon Ronson is a journalist) studying the topic of public shaming, its effects, the different ways its done and its aftermath to the people who are the victims of public shaming. There are quite a few people discussed in this book and most of them were unknown to me before picking up this book. I got this book because I saw Max's from WellDoneBooks review but what got me into reading this book was because it was one of Ariel's form ArielBissett favorite reads of 2016.

Let me tell you the truth, it took me a long while to finish this book though it was only like 288 pages somehow the percentage bar on my Kindle moved really really slowly and at times I had to put this book down because I needed a lighter read (HAHA). When I finished reading reading this book though, I felt more knowledgeable, I don't know why but I did. Well, at least about public shaming and how serious it can be and how it can cause a life-changing effect on its victims.
'There's a fair understanding on the Internet of what it means to be the little guy,' Mercedes said, 'the guy rich white assholes make jokes about. And so the issue with Justine Sacco is that she's a rich white person who made a joke about black sick people who will die soon. So for a few hours Justine Sacco got to find out what it feels like to be the little guy everyone makes fun of. Dragging down Justine Sacco felt like dragging down every rich white person who's ever gotten away with making a racist joke because they could. She thought her black AIDS joke was funny because she doesn't know what it's like to be a disadvantaged black person or be diagnosed with AIDS.' She paused. 'Some sorts of crimes can only be handled by public consensus and shaming. It's a different kind of court. A different kind of jury.'
The first essay on this book was about the author's own experience where a group of researchers created a robot Twitter account of Jon that tweeted everything he wouldn't. Like an opposite of Jon, it's basically a troll of himself. Jon interviewed those researchers to find out why they made a robot account of himself and requested them to delete that account. He uploaded that interview to YouTube. and the comment section went wild of support for Jon but not much to the researchers. They were being criticized in a bad and some were plain nasty. In the end the account was taken down and this experience encouraged Jon to start his journey on researching about public shaming.
A shaming can be like a distorting mirror at a funfair, taking human nature and making it look monstrous.
'I suddenly feel with social media like I'm tiptoeing around an unpredictable, angry, unbalanced parent who might strike out at any moment,' he said. 'It's horrible.'
Others presented in this essays are all real people with real experiences and real names. Some were persecuted online and some offline. To me the ones online were the worst ones because in this day and age, it stays with you forever. Some of the people in this book were shamed because of something they posted that they thought was a harmless joke but spiraled into something offensive and then into the cause of their shaming.

This book was quite a complete discussion on public shaming because it encompassed many types of shaming. From the ones who encountered the first ever shaming to internet shaming and how people rise up to their shaming experiences (even though some don't). You see shaming affects people in different ways.

Quite an enjoyable read if you're interested in this kind of topic. Would recommend to everyone because there are aspects we can take as a new knowledge about social media, the internet, the importance of thinking before speaking and of course how harsh the people can be.

That's all for now!

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