NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

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October 21, 2013

Let's stop 'shaming' each other

(Continued)

With all due respect to both the acne and creep communities, these broad uses of shaming are stretching a useful word to the point of meaninglessness. The more I hear about filter-shaming, the harder it is to really hear what a problem body-shaming can be. We really should restrain ourselves from mindlessly slapping this label on every single thing in the world that makes us feel bad. I'd hate to lose such a potent word to the Buzzword Abyss, especially since real shaming — the kind mostly done by misogynist jerks or terrible parents — is a true disgrace.

Unfortunately, once a buzzword is out of the barn, it's not likely to go back in. Pretty soon, doctors may be known as sickness-shamers. Dentists might be scolded for cavity-shaming. Teachers could catch flak for their relentless ignorance-shaming. Even police officers might be lambasted for their thoughtless and cruel crime-shaming. Shaming is probably already finished as a meaningful word.

And, as Jerry Seinfeld would say, "That's a shame."

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