After the Sacco debacle, Jon begins to wonder just what has been wrought by returning public shaming to our lives 200 years after it was mostly abolished in the United States. As he researches, he finds scores more people whose lives are seemingly ruined over a stupid comment, or a picture taken out of the context in which they originally shared it. Like Sacco, most of them shared or said something that was off-color or even somewhat offensive, but in general none of these mistakes are things that they really deserve to have follow them around for the rest of their lives, ruining relationships and careers.
In So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Ronson offers a very good look at the recent history and historical precedence for public shaming, as well as some theories on how to keep attempted shamings from sticking. He keeps the action moving by telling just enough of each story to make it seem well-served and not so much that the overarching narrative is bogged down.
Ronson narrates the audio edition of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed himself. His performance is certainly not that of a professional narrator, but he is experienced enough as a presenter – and put enough of himself into his nonfiction – that his delivery really works in this case. Particularly affecting are the sections in which he expresses his ambivalence and eventually concern about the tendency towards internet shaming.
All in all, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is a fascinating and thoughtful book that we can recommend in either print or audio.-JEN KARSBAEK