This part of the book presents fundamental themes in the interviews with the
central figures of the scandals and their partners. Several respondents
testified to how their previously ‘given’ existence was transformed into an
unfamiliar and terrifying chaos where nothing was the same. Every one of the
affected people testified individually to tangible feelings of unreality and
loneliness in the wake of the media scandal, a loneliness that was both
voluntarily chosen and forced on them. Many of them dwelt on the experience
of being stared at. Some people with a superficial or non-existent
relationship to the protagonist of the drama seemed to respond to the
scandal by staring intently at the scandalised person from a distance.
Others demonstratively averted their eyes. It is a function on the part of
the scandal, the author argues, that it causes guilt and shame in the
affected individual as well as a feeling of being deprived of dignity in the
full glare of publicity. Scandals are shame- and degradation-rituals,
symbolic occasions where people are exiled into the guild of the guilty.
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