Anatomy of Melancholy, 262-264 — Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. III, Subsect. 6 — Shame and Disgrace, Causes

Oh my, what happened here? Seriously if you know, please tell me.

Today we are reading about/dwelling on shame: “as forcible a batterer as any of the rest.” Once again, suspiciously apropos to the world out there. You might think I was timing these things, eh? Why on earth would I do that? It’s not like this whole thing started as a political project.

So, the shame-afflicted “dare not come abroad all their lives after, but melancholise in corners, and keep in holes.”

I bet you know who I’d like to see in a melancholic hole right now! As appropriate as that would be, we know he won’t do it. His ego wouldn’t fit. Also I am pretty sure he doesn’t know what shame is. In these modern times in which selfishness has achieved full liberation, shame has a bit of a bad rep, but you know what? It is really useful in certain situations. Like admitting you fudged up and probably shouldn’t have voted for a rancid turnip animated by the powers of evil, who it turns out, made a pretty terrible president of the United States.

What has me really ashamed today is the fact that at least 47% of Americans voted for said rancid evil turnip TWICE. Even MORE people (???) voted for him the second time.

To end on a high note, I suppose, at least even more of us showed up to vote for the other guy. Maybe things will get better. After all, it turns out smart people have been feeling shame — and lamenting the fact that no one else does — for centuries! Aristotle, for example: “Aristotle, because he could not understand the motion of Euripus, for grief and shame drowned himself.” That was probably an overreaction. Moderation is key. Also I’m not sure that’s true.

Now let’s end with yet another uncannily relevant 400 year-old lament:

I know there be many base, impudent, brazenfaced rogues, that will Nulla pallescere culpa [feel shame for no crime] be moved with nothing, take no infamy or disgrace to heart, laugh at all; let them be proved perjured, stigmatised, convict rogues, thieves, traitors, lose their ears, be whipped, branded, carted, pointed at, hissed, reviled, and derided with Ballio the Bawd in Plautus, they rejoice at it, Cantores probos; babe and Bombax, what care they? We have too many such in our times,———Exclamat Melicerta perisse———Frontem de rebus. [Men, cries Melicerta, have lost the power to blush.]

Can we please please pretty please with a cherry on top stop celebrating these shameless dumpster fires? Let’s bring shame back! Maybe personal responsibility and integrity will come along too, just for kicks. Personally I blush almost daily. How about you? How’s your shame-hole working out? Comfortable?

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