Rating 7/10

My Summary:

A fun dive into the world of social media and public shaming. Goes through a few news stories to get at the route of why the internet can be so evil.


Sometimes when I recount for people the stories Im working on, I feel a stupid grin on my face as I describe the absurdity of whatever crazy pickle this or that interviewee had got themselves into.

A life had been ruined. What was it for: just some social media drama? I think our natural disposition as humans is to plod along until we get old and stop. But with social media we’ve created a stage for constant artificial high dramas. Every day a new person emerges as a magnificent hero or a sickening villain. Its all very sweeping, and not the way we actually are as people. What rush was overpowering us at times like this? What were we getting out of it?

Shame internalized can lead to agony. It can lead to Jonah Lehrer. Whereas shame let out can lead to freedom, or at least to a funny story, which is a sort of freedom too.

Oh, its a very simple game, he said. You need to figure out something thats so esoteric the expert can’t possibly know about it. Maybe its something thats not relevant to the case, but it has to be something they cannot know the answer to. They’ll be incapable of saying they don’t know. So they’ll gradually walk down the garden to the place where they look really stupid. Why are they incapable of saying they don’t know? Its their entire profession, Clive said. Its respect. Its a big deal being an expert. Imagine the things you can discuss at dinner parties as opposed to the other boring people at the table. You’re the witness who put Ted Bundy away. They’ll do anything to not look stupid. Thats the key thing. And if you can make them look stupid, everything else falls by the wayside.

We see ourselves as nonconformist, but I think all of this is creating a more conformist, conservative age. Look! were saying. WERE normal! THIS is the average! We are defining the boundaries of normality by tearing apart the people outside of it.

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Body photo © amazon.com