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.