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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 230

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson is about the effects of public shaming and humiliation in the internet age. Ronson admits to having participated in—and even having enjoyed—elements of the public shaming ritual, and he seeks to better understand what drives this type of behavior. He speculates that perhaps the perceived anonymity of the internet is at least partially responsible for this sometimes despicable conduct, as is the tendency of online bloggers to post messages in fora with like-minded people, thus creating a type of echo chamber. Ronson draws parallels to the public shaming rituals of Colonial America, which were eventually curtailed due to pressure by colonists demanding more compassionate behavior toward the accused. Ronson also delves into the question of why the public is so quick to chastise some transgressors and so eager to forgive others, and speculates that sometimes a fall from grace may work in someone's favor, as it may make a person seem more human, and thus more relatable. Ronson interviews several people who have endured public shaming, including Lindsey Stone, who became an object of ridicule and derision when she posted photo of herself making an obscene sign at Arlington National Cemetery. Ronson chronicles Stone's interactions with a man who tries to help repair the reputations of people like Stone, and together they are able to mitigate some of the damage.

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Summary

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 123

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson discusses the impacts of internet shaming using real-life examples of victims of online bullying such as Mike Daisey and Jonah Lehrer. The book reveals the insensitive posts people like Justine Sacco put on social media and the resultant backlash, which had an adverse impact on their reputation. Ronson reveals the actions that provoke people to shame others, which include lying and fabricating information.

The author holds the view that public shaming does not benefit anyone. It only promotes a sadistic culture where people get excited when they see others suffer. Furthermore, Ronson writes about his efforts to help victims such as Lindsey Stone move on with their lives by connecting them with reputation specialists.

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