Ronson Review

I read this book by Jon Ronson because Austin Kleon told me to, and I basically do whatever he says. It’s an account of how we use social media to shame others into normality and it’s written in investigative journalism prose with the an added lift at the end of every section that links to the next in the manner of Buzzfeed *click for more* previews. Ronson is a likable sort, though a bit gregarious in his support of The Fallen; their “suffering” is rendered as the very nadir of human travails, though several of his examples are still very rich and popular. I keep thinking about ditching social media altogether, since it brings much more anger and anxiety into my life than it does joy or peace and this book shoved me a little more in that direction, but though Ronson means it as a meditation on where we are now, it’s more like reading a mystery than anything else. I agree that shame can be paralyzing, and that the punishments a hostile public meets out are often unjust. But–perhaps it’s just me–the accounts of the various rises and falls in this book felt, firstly, salacious, and secondly, concerned as they were with pop-cultural figures and other ephemera, rather too of the moment: very cool as magazine articles, but hardly meaty enough for a book. I don’t know. It was fine.