Shame on You: Public Humiliation as Punishment

By Martijn Icks Social media have made public shaming all too easy. With great frequency, cries of moral indignation resound on the Internet, aimed at persons who have allegedly misbehaved or uttered disgraceful statements. These people suddenly find themselves beleaguered by digital torch-and-pitchfork mobs, ready to slaughter their good name. They are lambasted in furious... Continue Reading →

CARP 2019 Conference “Character Assassination and Populism”

Fairfax, VA – George Mason University’s Character Assassination and Reputation Politics (CARP) Research Lab hosts its second international conference “Character Assassination and Populism: Challenges and Responses” on March 15-17, 2019. One primary characteristic of today’s global society is the growing public distrust in traditional authorities. In the context of institutional legitimacy crisis, there is a great demand for... Continue Reading →

Dracula: A Tale of Horror

By Martijn Icks Few names in history hold as much terror as that of Vlad Dracula, “Little Dragon”, also known as Vlad the Impaler. Many people are aware that the blood-curdling stories about the man’s cruelties inspired the Victorian novelist Bram Stoker to name his vampiric creation Count Dracula. What is much less well known... Continue Reading →

On #MeToo and Brandjacking of Social Movement Campaigns

Clearly, a brandjacked and counterfeited social cause is a serious issue. When pinpointing and punishing a few guilty scapegoats is generally prescribed as a solution to a complex issue, there is less urgency to promote real structural changes. By trivializing the campaign, multiple influencers with vested interests stonewall the necessary development of numerous matters such as women’s autonomy, broken legal systems, and institutionalized structural violence in Hollywood.

Why Character Assassination Is A Misleading Term (But we continue to use it anyway)

By Martijn Icks Character assassination is an eye-catching word. It triggers associations with murder and violence, with slashed throats and dripping poison. It’s a word that lends itself well to being spoken with righteous indignation: “My character has been assassinated!” Immediately, we’re prompted to sympathize with the victim and despise the dastardly perpetrator who committed... Continue Reading →

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