Streams

Humiliation

Monday, August 01, 2011

Ever felt humiliated? Wayne Koestenbaum, English professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center, poet, cultural critic, and the author of Humiliation, discusses the multitudinous ways of experiencing humiliation.

Event: Wayne Koestenbaum will be at 192 Books, 192 10th Avenue, on Tuesday, August 16 at 7pm.

How can Wayne Help? Post your humiliating stories or questions for Wayne about how to deal with humiliation here, we'll ask him on air!

Guests:

Wayne Koestenbaum
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Comments [12]

desdemona finch from Brooklyn

Sorry, I missed this show but I was humiliated back in mid-June for being a woman by a very drunk 42-year-old former Wall Streeter with a job in the pharmaceutical industry. It was in the middle of a nonprofit arts fundraiser that I had volunteered for.

He made comments about my breasts, my genitals and pretty much called me a slut in the middle of this place of all places.

Then he claimed to be a songwriter. That's why he was sexually harassing women in the middle of the main fundraising event of an arts organization that supports musicians. That makes so much sense now.

I should have decked him but I was so shocked that someone who should know better was engaging in such horrible sexist behavior. It was the worse than the worst street sexual harassment I had endured ever.

Anyhow, I was angry at myself for not having had him taken away by security.

I feel humiliated in retrospect but the person who should really feel shame the most is the creep himself. Of course, in NYC, pathetic excuses like that win in the end.

Aug. 03 2011 12:50 PM
Eloise from UES

Riding NYC Transit everyday is a form of humiliation. People have the same facial expressions as cows being led from the pasture to the barn.

To C. and bigFan: Those are awful stories. Why are people so petty and mean? I hope you both found success and peace!

Aug. 02 2011 12:01 PM
Connie from nj

Fear of humiliation has been an enormous factor in my life, especially as a child when I felt very vulnerable.Now that I'm in my 50s, I'm more self-accepting and less worried about being humiliated. However, I doubt the fear will ever go away completely.

I like Elizabeth's comment (12:04). I couldn't watch The Lucy Show when I was a child--I'd run out of the room rather than watch her being humiliated.

Aug. 01 2011 01:01 PM
bigFan from USA public school bureaucracy

After a very long distance relationship, my fiance and I were finally moving in together. I was on my way to his place hundreds of miles away from here, when I got a call from my college with a job offer. The person who was suppose to work for them had quit a week before class started, and needed someone who knew the material. I was offered the opportunity to be the instructor of a subject i love. I first said no, but my fiance encouraged me to take the job, because he know how much I loved it. I left him and all our plans and took the job. A year later, when I went back to ask to get the job again, twice, I was given inconclusive answers. I had worked very hard, specially after I had arrived one week after school started, and was VERY MUCH behind on everything. I had soooo much to do and few resources, but I did everything I thought possible and to the best of my ability. I then found out from other people, none administrators of the school, that I was not being rehired. To my humiliation, I found that this was probably thanks to someone whom I had asked for help a few years earlier, someone who like me, was a product of the school itself. I should mention that this person did not offer me any help of any sort, so I should have expect it. I feel humiliated because I was not given the tools to be successful, and feel that I was just a puppet, set up to fail so I could easily be fired. I am disgusted by the lack of professionalism, and the only way I can say this is through this medium. I am learning to cope with the result and look forward to better opportunities.

Aug. 01 2011 12:17 PM
Just Plain Anxious from Forest Hills, Queens

for me, witnessing humiliation is twice as bad as enduring it. i freeze in fear, unable to mentally see myself as apart from the person undergoing the awful experience. i end up feeling extremely guilty that i could not help the person who was being humiliated.

Aug. 01 2011 12:16 PM
Elizabeth

Humiliation is at the core of why I find so many reality programs as well as 'The Office' and movies like 'Borat' unwatchable

Aug. 01 2011 12:04 PM
Lumpen from New York

An answer to the earlier question: Humility implies agency, humiliation entails being forced or placed against one's will into a lowly position. (From humus, earth).

Aug. 01 2011 12:04 PM
C.

In the darkest moment of my online dating days, I had been talking to a guy for a little while before he invited me to a party as his place.... When I got there he pretended he had no idea who I was and snubbed me in front of all his friends. Not a fun night.

Aug. 01 2011 12:01 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Humiliation can be a road to humility. Governor Spitzer's resignation is the public example that comes to mind.

Aug. 01 2011 12:00 PM
Hillary from Brooklyn

from humiliation comes shame, no one wants to talk about shame.

Aug. 01 2011 11:58 AM
Ramon from Forest Hills, Queens

Aside from humiliation being a possible asset, can't it also be a liability? We're sometimes afraid to take reasonal chances in life (dating, dancing, job interview, speaking up in class, etc.) because we're so afraid of being humiliated.

Aug. 01 2011 11:57 AM
Max from NJ Suburbs

Anyone who doubts the power of humiliation need only examine the personal history of Theodore Kaczynski.

Aug. 01 2011 11:52 AM

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