Tagged Personal Writing

Wayne Kostenbaum Crosses His Legs, Hangs His Head

In his book Humiliation Wayne Koestenbaum “aims to pile up humiliations,” his own and others’, public and private, sexual, racial, anti-Semitic, class-based, professional, scatological, emotional and physical. In less than 200 pages there is no aspect of humiliation left untouched, from the Biblical (“[Mary] was a Jewish mother”) to the oh-so-contemporary (Google, reality television, Craigslist, You Tube). In the interim Koestenbaum scrutinizes some of the most notorious penitents and punishers in history: the Marquis De Sade, Oscar Wilde, Michael Jackson, Jean Genet, Liza Minnelli, the Venus Hottentot, T.S. Eliot, and Eliot Spitzer, to give a Whitman’s Sampler of his subjects.…