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An exercise in humiliation [Video]

July 13, 2011 |  9:05 am

In a series of helpful advice videos, author Wayne Koestenbaum addresses various humiliating situations: sending the wrong email to the entire office. Bumping into a co-worker coming out of a porn shop. Farting in yoga.

That's because he's the author of "Humiliation," a new book in Picador's BIG IDEAS/small books paperback series, which includes "Violence" by Slavov Žižek and "Time" by Eva Hoffman. "Humiliation," which officially hits shelves Aug. 2, has made its way to reviewers. And -- embarassing admission -- I haven't yet read it yet, but it is on my to-be-read shelf, because it seems really interesting. Koestenbaum, a poet, cultural critic and prodessor at NYU, looks at the idea of humiliation through history and art and a personal lens, too.

"Repeatedly, I watch clips of Liza Minelli on YouTube," Koestenbaum writes. "I want to see her humiliation. And I want to see her survive the grisly experience and turn it into glory."

That works for John Waters, the filmmaker who was called the Pope of Trash by William Burroughs. Waters writes that "Humiliation" is "the funniest, smartest, most heartbreaking yet powerful book I've read in a long time."


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-- Carolyn Kellogg