Daily Archives: September 8, 2011

* Humiliation by Wayne Koesenbaum

I’ve said before that I love short books but I was disappointed by this one, Humiliation, a meditation on how and when we can be mortified. Not that it did not make me think, but rather that I found myself disagreeing vehemently with the author’s perspective, all the more because it’s hard to be vehement while sitting silently in a comfy reading chair (with my favorite, super-bright reading lamp, I’m such an adventurous soul that I very rarely read anywhere else, except while brushing my teeth, naturally, doesn’t everyone? and on planes, and in my car but not while I’m driving it! Only when I happen to get some place early, which is rare).

But let’s return to humiliation and my quibbles with the author. He starts by defining it as a triangle between the victim, the abuser, and the witness. Really? I think it’s quite possible to get humiliated without a witness — and maybe without an abuser as well¬† (although in this case you would need a witness, wouldn’t you? I can’t think of a way to humiliate myself if no one else is present).¬† And can cruel, physical, criminal abuse really qualify as mere “humiliation”, on par with mundane reality TV? Too many points for me to argue, silently or not.

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