In Edmonton, resident Ester Malzahn is embracing the power of public shaming and spent Monday night and Tuesday leaving messages for bars and pubs that had been planning St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and pushing them to close, while calling them out on social media.
Is that person with two pallets of toilet paper doing too much? Is that person who sneezed in line at the grocery store not doing enough? Do you judge your friends or family members for still going to the mall or on group playdates with their kids? Can you even believe someone actually tried to shake your hand?
Wait, are you doing too little? Are you doing too much?
“What is normally polite has become dangerous,” says Jennifer Jacquet, a professor at New York University and author of Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool. “We have to move very quickly, and shame is going to fill that vacuum for enforcing and establishing those new behaviours.”
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has deftly upended the rules and social orders that seemed, just days ago, like a given. As cities, provinces and countries announce different and quickly changing restrictions, individuals are increasingly judging and shaming each other – and even themselves – over behaviours that go against the current standards, even as those standards continue to evolve.
Jana G. Pruden – Globe and Mail – March 18, 2020.