How to Become a Scandal by Laura Kipnis
Adventures in Bad Behavior

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Synopsis

We all relish a good scandal—the larger the figure (governor, judge) and more shocking the particulars (diapers, cigars)—the better. But why do people feel compelled to act out their tangled psychodramas on the national stage, and why do we so enjoy watching them, hurling our condemnations while savoring every lurid detail?



With "pointed daggers of prose" (The New Yorker), Laura Kipnis examines contemporary downfall sagas to lay bare the American psyche: what we desire, what we punish, and what we disavow. She delivers virtuoso analyses of four paradigmatic cases: a lovelorn astronaut, an unhinged judge, a venomous whistleblower, and an over-imaginative memoirist. The motifs are classic—revenge, betrayal, ambition, madness—though the pitfalls are ones we all negotiate daily. After all, every one of us is a potential scandal in the making: failed self-knowledge and colossal self-deception—the necessary ingredients—are our collective plight. In How to Become a Scandal, bad behavior is the entry point for a brilliant cultural romp as well as an anti-civics lesson. "Shove your rules," says scandal, and no doubt every upright citizen, deep within, cheers the transgression—as long as it's someone else's head on the block.


 

About Laura Kipnis

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Laura Kipnis is a professor of media studies at Northwestern University. She has received fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has published many essays and articles on sexual politics and contemporary culture both here and abroad.
 
Published August 31, 2010 by Metropolitan Books. 223 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Parenting & Relationships, Science & Math, Self Help, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for How to Become a Scandal

Kirkus Reviews

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Confessed scandal fan Kipnis (Radio-TV-Film/Northwestern Univ.; The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability, 2006, etc.) picks through the mortifying carnage of other people's lives, exploring why we both relish and condemn bad behavior.

Jun 21 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Become a Scandal: Adve...

The New York Times

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Laura Kipnis examines why people behave scandalously, and why we love to watch them do it.

Sep 24 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Become a Scandal: Adve...

Publishers Weekly

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Two very public downfalls and two very public uproars guide us through the contemporary infernal regions of scandal: the downfall of “the lovelorn astronaut,” Lisa Nowak, and “an unreasonable judge,” Sol Wachter, and the uproar set off by Linda Tripp and James Frey.

Aug 02 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Become a Scandal: Adve...

BC Books

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“The Whistle-Blower”: Kipnis focuses on Linda Tripp and her betrayal of Monica Lewinsky’s friendship in the Clinton sex scandal.

Aug 27 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Become a Scandal: Adve...

BC Books

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In How to Become a Scandal author Laura Kipnis proposes the study of scandal as a new line of social enquiry.

Aug 27 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Become a Scandal: Adve...

Bookmarks Magazine

"Shove your rules," says scandal, and no doubt every upright citizen, deep within, cheers the transgression—as long as it's someone else's head on the block. Amazon Exclusive: Tina Brown, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast, Reviews <...

Sep 01 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Become a Scandal: Adve...

Book Forum

But with Kipnis's book as our guide, we might find a more profound—even merry—cast to our roles as punishers or penitents, enjoying how pitilessly scandal illuminates us at our most muddled, troubled, and true.

Sep 20 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Become a Scandal: Adve...

The Paris Review

In her latest book, How to Become a Scandal: Adventures in Bad Behavior, she develops a “theory of scandal.” The book does not include the latest tabloid gossip;

Oct 19 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Become a Scandal: Adve...

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