You’re either born with talent, or you’re not—and most of his students, he wrote, were not. “No one cares about your problems if you're a shitty writer,” he wrote in the essay’s most pointed section.
Punishment is one thing, but punishment in front of a crowd is a whole different animal.
Ironically, writing a book about public shaming led to Jon Ronson’s shaming as well.
I handed them over, and he plugged them into his i Phone. “Just listen.” Boudinot pressed play, and all of a sudden, I had the uncanny sense of being in a puddle. This is not where he would have envisioned his career landing just a few years ago, but then something happened that derailed his life as he knew it.
“Very few people have heard what you’re about to experience,” he said. It sounded like water dripping on leaves, but unlike traditional audio, the sound seemed to move around in space. He lost his friends, his colleagues, his career, and he became a pariah in the community he’d spent decades as a part of.
I wasn’t particularly interested in the secret project he wanted to tell me about, either.
But then Boudinot, a bearded, full-cheeked man in his mid-40s who often has a yoga mat in tow, asked for my earbuds. This technology Boudinot showed me won’t be on the market for a few more years, but it is coming, and Boudinot will have a vital part in someday bringing it to our ears.
After it was published, his defense of Justine Sacco and others was cast by some as an assault on social justice itself, as though by taking a stand against call-out culture, he—a cis, white man—was, in effect, silencing marginalized voices himself.
He wrote about getting dog-piled after an excerpt of his book was published in the : “I remembered a time I was on a beach in Scotland and a flock of terns singled me out.
He was dragged all over social media, people posted open letters denouncing him and calling for interviewed one of his former students.
Someone, he doesn’t know who, bought the URL of his name and used the site to post criticism of him. He’d recently edited an anthology and Sasquatch, the publisher, told bookstores that Boudinot wouldn’t be at the readings if they’d rather not host him.