CBR10Bingo – Not My Wheelhouse
I don’t tend to read the kind of books that make-up or spawn from NPR and This American Life stories. I will admit: I don’t particularly like David Sedaris. Anyway, this book I picked up because I want to do a unit of media literacy, choices, and online futures with my English 12 students, and I was hoping at least one chapter of this would be useful to share with them. For the most part the book isn’t great for high school students because he jumps quite easily into R-rated language and a lot of the examples deal pretty expressly with sex, so I feel like most of it won’t work.
I do however think the idea behind the book is a great premise to work with students, especially in the framework of “Choices”: and this book presents two sets of choices…the choice to do something that might get you shamed and the choice to participate in the shaming.
What I do appreciate about the book is that Jon Ronson, for as goofy as he is and as funny as he is, seems to be a pretty sober thinker. He’s good at presenting a moderate understanding in scope of the things that get people shamed. He also deals with this as being a reality and not a thought-experiment. So he’s profiling people who have gone through these episodes with general empathy for their humanity, but not in a way of “I am scolding anyone who does this to these people.” He also begins the book off with an anecdote wherein he used his power as a media figure to shame someone online. So he’s always amid the problem in this book.
I don’t know what if anything this book ends up saying that’s meaningful beyond posing questions, but that’s the nature of the situation anyway. You can’t stop it from happening once it’s decided to happen.