For Shame: The Loss of Common Decency in American Culture

James B. Twitchell, Author Thomas Dunne Books $22.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-312-15543-8
According to Twitchell (Carnival Culture: The Triumph of Advertising in America) a large measure of our contemporary societal ills stems from the absence of shame. Describing the U.S. as a place where ""Mardi Gras is no longer connected to Lent,"" he argues that the rising statistics on unwed mothers, divorce and drug and alcohol abuse result from the influence of the 1960s hippie culture. Although Twitchell's comments on the superficiality of certain self-help gurus and the idolization of cultural icons like Madonna are pointed and amusing, his diatribe against government intervention including affirmative action and anti-poverty programs is unrealistic. Even less convincing is his recommendation that communities should restore the historic policy of punishing alcoholics, adulterers and teenage mothers by publicly shaming them, for he maintains that humiliation teaches values and responsible behavior. Of interest primarily to the already converted. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1997
Release date: 11/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 244 pages - 978-0-312-19453-6
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