SUMMARY: (3 of 5 stars) This is a nice, if a little small, all-inclusive, adults-only resort lodged on a steep hill next to the ocean. Gorgeous views, decent service, and acceptable food. Our trip would have been improved without myriad minor inconveniences and if it had been shorter or had been with a group of friends.
If people want to think of Bert and Ernie as lovers, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them. And I don’t think there’s really any harm in thinking that. In fact, I guess if it helps someone to think Bert & Ernie are gay, then they should go on thinking that. But I think this whole dustup is pretty dumb because Bert and Ernie just are not gay. As characters, they are not written to portray fully-developed human beings with sexual/romantic feelings at all. They’re written to portray children who are best friends and that’s it.
(5/5 stars) This is an exploration of shame as a punishment, as a fundamental human impulse, as a force for good and bad. Ronson goes into a little bit of the history of how shame has been used in the past, but focuses especially on how shame functions in our internet-based society today. To wit, he explores several contemporary case studies in shaming.
This book functions in some ways as a collection of essays rather than a structured exploration of ideas. As such, there are points where he pursues aspects of shame that seem to be a digression from the core theme, for example the parts about Radical Truth and humiliation paraphilia. Those parts don’t make the book less interesting, but readers should be warned: you probably won’t come away with any strong conclusions about what can be done about internet lynch mobs.
In sum, this book is funny and thought-provoking. I highly recommend it.