Dog Pile Essays

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 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.

Then, in 2015, he wrote a viral, and virally hated, essay for .

It was called “Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One.” The piece was based on a simple and not particularly controversial premise: Boudinot, who had just quit his teaching job, argued that writing cannot be taught.

First, the drops were in my left ear, then behind my head, and then they moved around my head and back again. At the time, it felt like the worst thing that had ever happened to him.

It was like surround sound inside my brain, and the experience was almost 3-dimensional… It was the most remarkable listening experience I’ve ever encountered. This one was a booming EDM song with throbbing bass, and even though I was sitting in a coffee shop in Seattle, when I closed my eyes, it felt like I was at a live show. Four years later, he says it may actually have been the best.

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.


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