For Shame: The Loss of Common Decency in American Culture

For Shame: The Loss of Common Decency in American CultureJames Twitchell

St. Martin’s Griffin, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-19453-6

Just a generation ago, outrageous Americans like Joey Buttafuoco and O.J. Simpson would have been scorned. Talk-show hosts would have been viewed with suspicion. Self-help books, the recovery movement, and grade inflation didn’t exist.

Today, celebrity is its own reward, and every American has the right to an A and high self-esteem. Much to the joy of Madison Avenue ad agencies and the tabloid press, there is no stigma attached to bad behavior – as long as the perpetrator truly repents, of course. As all Americans have asked themselves at one point or another: What’s wrong with this picture?

Now, James B. Twitchell, critically acclaimed author of Adcult and Carnival Culture offers a fascinating and original look at shame and shamelessness in American culture, taking to task everyone from conservative hypocrites to bleeding-heart liberals. Whether or not you agree that shame is the building block of a healthy society, you’ll find this a provocative and addictive read – and you just may decide to reexamine the “the social good of feeling bad.”

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