Outside Reading — Shame Game edition

In Defense of Shame by Julia Claire

Writing for Gawker, Julia Claire makes the most important argument of our age, and she does it effectively and with enviable wit. The flagrant rejection of accountability and honest assessment of wrong social turns has had a poisonous effect on society, spurring loathsome whining about moral goods such as sex pests losing their social standing and honest reckonings with the nation’s longstanding practice of persecuting people on the basis of race, class, religion, ancestral homelands, and other facets of their being that don’t actually reveal anything about the content of their character. As if I weren’t front and center in the choir receiving this particular preaching, Claire at one point asserts, “Like most cultural ills plaguing us today, I am ready to pin this one on Ronald Reagan.” I’ve uttered variations on that phrase so many times that it should be etched into a archway outside my home.

Sparing a Thought For Absent Mothers by Amanda Hess

Amanda Hess’s trend piece catalogs the recent spate of stories that get some emotional pungency from the concept of mothers who walk away from their offspring. It’s a complicated topic, and Hess wrangles with it smartly and fearlessly. Included among her observations is a brief consideration about how the same disregard for familial commitment doesn’t carry the same weight when it’s a male character perpetrating the infraction, a double standard that would take thousands upon thousands of words to adequately cover. This article is published by The New York Times.

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