So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed


Jon Ronson

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A pillory was a wooden frame with holes for the head and hands, in which a transgressor was held and subjected to public abuse and ridicule.

Pillory Quotes in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

The So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed quotes below are all either spoken by Pillory or refer to Pillory. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead Books edition of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed published in 2016.
Chapter 9 Quotes

Inside Court One of the Biddeford District Courthouse half a dozen of the men from the Zumba list sat on the benches, staring grimly ahead while news crews pointed their cameras at them. We in the press area were allowed to stare at them and they weren’t able to look away. It reminded me of how Nathaniel Hawthorne had described the pillory in The Scarlet Letter: “[An] instrument of discipline, so fashioned as to confine the human head in its tight grasp, and thus hold it up to public gaze. The very ideal of ignominy was embodied and made manifest in this contrivance of wood and iron. There can be no outrage, methinks . . . more flagrant than to forbid the culprit to hide his face for shame.”

Related Characters: Jon Ronson (speaker)
Page Number: 179-180
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

We have always had some influence over the justice system, but for the first time in 180 years—since the stocks and the pillory were outlawed—we have the power to determine the severity of some punishments. And so we have to think about what level of mercilessness we feel comfortable with. I, personally, no longer take part in the ecstatic public condemnation of people unless they've committed a transgression that has an actual victim, and even then not as much as I probably should. I miss the fun a little. But it feels like when I became a vegetarian. I missed the steak, […] but I could no longer ignore the slaughterhouse.

Related Characters: Jon Ronson (speaker)
Page Number: 275
Explanation and Analysis:
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Pillory Term Timeline in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

The timeline below shows where the term Pillory appears in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9: A Town Abuzz over Prostitution and a Client List
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
Shame and Gender Theme Icon
...a handful of men sitting silently as cameras filmed them. He was reminded of the pillory from Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, a shaming instrument used to hold a guilty person’s head... (full context)