Helen Andrews on the Private Meanings of Public Shaming

Helen Andrews on the Private Meanings of Public Shaming December 12, 2018

at First Things:

Moving to the other side of the world did not diminish the video’s place in my life as much as I thought it would. It was still the first result when you Googled my name, which presumably is one reason I couldn’t find a job for the first eighteen months. Eventually, I found a position at a think tank. When I released my first report, an Australian MP tweeted a link to the video and asked why anyone should care about this nutcase’s opinions on regulation. Even after I got married and took my husband’s last name, the video still popped up on social media when I did a TV appearance or had an op-ed in the paper. In 2017, when I moved back to Washington, D.C., and started meeting some of the younger writers in town, it took them less than a week to find the clip and ask me about it. Most of them had been in high school when it happened.

In a funny coincidence, the day I began writing this essay, my husband was attending a conference of free-market activists when his lunch table started talking about bad breakups in the conservative movement. One man pulled out his iPhone and said, “If you want to talk about bad conservative breakups, you have to see this.” He put the phone away when Tim told him that the woman in the video was his wife. That was eight years and twenty-one days since the broadcast first aired.

more–a lot of powerful elements in this piece.


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