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How to Become a Scandal: Adventures in Bad…

How to Become a Scandal: Adventures in Bad Behavior

by Laura Kipnis

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8213147,013 (3.31)8
  1. 00
    The Anatomy of Disgust by William Ian Miller (bezoar44)
    bezoar44: Writing style is more academic, but chapters 8 and 9 offer deeper thinking on the ties between the emotion of disgust, the violation of social conventions, and the creation and maintenance of social status.
  2. 00
    Class: A Guide Through the American Status System by Paul Fussell (bezoar44)
    bezoar44: Similarly snarky and informal writing style; similar interest in sociological analysis of American culture.

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Written by a professor at Northwestern University, this is a look at the bad behavior and life-altering decisions that people make on a level that garners them national attention.
Kipnis covers many national scandals that were recent as of the book's 2010 printing, but primarily focuses on four cases as a jumping-off point to discuss possible reasons why the person behaved as they did and why society reacted as it did. Though this is a book of pop psychology masking as sociology (Kipnis has no medical degree), the author has a way of getting to the root of why the public turns on certain people so viciously. ( )
  mstrust | Jan 6, 2013 |
Fun, topical. I was too busy to get into it at present, but I'll return, if for no other reason than a review of the silly things famous people did within my lifetime to screw themselves up. ( )
  Dabble58 | Oct 2, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A creative, contemporary review of scandals from the US news. Destined to become outdated quickly (as in a year later, or less) but fun to read if you have an interest in American tabloids. Kipnis is witty and sharp and easy to read, while her material may seem already out of date. I liked her style, even while the general feel seemed like an E-TV entertainment faux news special or a Lifestyle survey of sad quasi-famous ladies' stories. ( )
  Fullmoonblue | Jul 30, 2011 |
Reading Kipnis' detailed analysis of four fairly recent scandals in American society made me feel like an intellectual and fed my longing for squeamishly juicy details. ( )
  kivarson | Jan 29, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Kipnis uses four case-studies in making her argument: Lisa Nowak (the be-diapered astronaut), Sol Wachtler (the respected New York judge who bizarrely blackmailed his socialite mistress), Linda Tripp (Monica Lewinsky's "friend" who taped their phone calls in order to expose Clinton), and James Frey (the author of A Million Little Pieces, the memoir that pissed Oprah off when it ended up being more of a novel). She makes some good points about the self-contradictions inherent in human nature, but she is definitely at her best when riffing off a specific incident and much less readable in her her more philosophical introduction and epilogue. Parts of this book feel thrown together right before publication, and some of her connections are pretty tenuous, but overall it is worth reading if you are interested in scandal or reliving these scandalous gems from the past.

[full review here: http://spacebeer.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-to-become-scandal-adventures-in-bad.ht... ] ( )
  kristykay22 | Oct 29, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805089799, Hardcover)

Product Description
We all relish a good scandal—the larger the figure (governor, judge) and more shocking the particulars (diapers, cigars)—the better. But why do people feel compelled to act out their tangled psychodramas on the national stage, and why do we so enjoy watching them, hurling our condemnations while savoring every lurid detail?

With "pointed daggers of prose" (The New Yorker), Laura Kipnis examines contemporary downfall sagas to lay bare the American psyche: what we desire, what we punish, and what we disavow. She delivers virtuoso analyses of four paradigmatic cases: a lovelorn astronaut, an unhinged judge, a venomous whistleblower, and an over-imaginative memoirist. The motifs are classic—revenge, betrayal, ambition, madness—though the pitfalls are ones we all negotiate daily. After all, every one of us is a potential scandal in the making: failed self-knowledge and colossal self-deception—the necessary ingredients—are our collective plight. In How to Become a Scandal, bad behavior is the entry point for a brilliant cultural romp as well as an anti-civics lesson. "Shove your rules," says scandal, and no doubt every upright citizen, deep within, cheers the transgression—as long as it's someone else's head on the block.

Amazon Exclusive: Tina Brown, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast, Reviews How to Become a Scandal

A brilliant curtain-raiser on exactly why it’s so delicious to watch self-destruction, How to Become a Scandal is a must-read for anyone unable to look away from another’s fall from grace. Laura Kipnis argues that it takes two to make a scandal and cuts through the tangled relationship between the scandalized victims and us as the voyeurs, noting that the audience is equally to blame for whipping up such frenzy. A thoughtful and juicy take on familiar targets (Linda Tripp and the NASA love triangle among them), Kipnis sees what we all do: some scandals are just thinly veiled self-sabotage. And the best stories aren’t self-contained; they’re far-reaching, full-blooded dramas, complete with a cast of characters who overtake the global stage. Of course, scandal’s an all-inclusive monster, but a bigger star and more disturbing details make for an even better flameout. Kipnis astutely points out that the ceremonial shunning of whistleblowers, plagiarists, and cheaters is cathartic and neatly packages something amorphous: why America jumps on the wagon all over again each time someone violates social mores with lust and betrayal and jealousy. Reading her clever book is like sitting in a front-row seat at Scandal Theory 101—and serves as a cautionary tale for those tiptoeing on the edges of indignity. Revisiting the denouements of James Frey, Sol Wachtler et al is a strangely elegant exercise in how to crash, burn, and ultimately survive. How to Become a Scandal is as transfixing and engrossing as the tremendously chaotic tales she recounts with exacting detail.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:48 -0400)

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Delivering virtuoso analyses of four paradigmatic cases, Laura Kipnis examines contemporary downfall sagas to lay bare the American psyche: what we desire, what we punish, and what we disavow.

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