walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_How to Become a Scandal_, Laura Kipnis

I checked this out from the library in Mayberry (<-- not its real name). I've known for several years, very slightly, the woman who was working the front desk (not the director) when I checked it out. She's a competent woman, has great library credentials and is the mother of a boy who committed a horrifying murder and attempted murder a couple towns over. He was recently convicted, the first to be so of several young men involved in the crime.

I almost didn't check it out, because that is awkward. But hey: if I don't say anything, we'll just pretend that backstory has nothing to do with this interaction, in much the same way that I look at, but don't mention, my name on the external bookdrop next to the entry of the library, or that I had anything to do with the previous librarian not being the librarian there anymore. Awkward. Not relevant. Nothing to see here. Moving right along.

She did notice the title, commented more than once that no one had to tell her how to become a scandal, etc. Goddess. I played dumb. My friend's know I am really good at this.

The four scandals that Kipnis chose for her slim volume on the subject do not involve dead bodies; these scandals are much fluffier. There's the astronaut driving a long distance to attack the new lover of her co-worker and former lover. There's the New York judge who stalked the woman he dumped (and who he was a trustee for her trust fund). Linda Tripp, which is a nice choice; Kipnis figured the rest of that scandal was thoroughly mined, but lessons could still be learned from Tripp. If only she'd gone after that demon Goldberg. As long as her son Jonah is out there writing, I think it's worth remembering Goldberg. She concludes with Frey.

Kipnis presents a theory of scandal that involves a much larger number of people than the Bad Actors and a very different explanation about what is going on in a juicy scandal than is typically offered. Kipnis suggests: "Each one represents a trouble spot in the social compact that no form of enlightenment or social progress seems likely to eradicate anytime soon: the revenge imperative, the flimsiness of rationality, the enduring stigma of ugliness, the hollowness of redemption". In any event, it was an entertaining, quick read that probably won't do any particular harm, and might do some good.

Kipnis is a little grating at times, and I certainly wouldn't confide in her. But I do respect her.

ETA: Again, dunno why, but this has attracted spammage. Comments turned off.
Tags: book review, daily activities

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