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Letter: Tacking Toward the Positive

To the Editor:

My life experience resonated with Dan Mackie’s column on shame, a cultural black coat that is burdensome to wear, difficult to shed (“Shame Is in Serious Decline, and Sometimes That’s a Shame,” Aug. 3).

A while back, I read this saying: “More have been flattered into virtue than shamed out of vice.” I memorized it and have tried to make it part of my life. It seems shame defines the person. Guilt, on the other hand, can be a temporary emotion that allows one to see the wrong and make amends. Bad people are shameful; good people sometimes make bad decisions. Life is more enjoyable for me and my family with the above thinking.

Karolyn Bowen

White River Junction

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Dan Mackie: It’s a Shame, Really

Monday, August 5, 2013

I grew up in the Golden Age of Shame, when disgrace was every child’s birthright. We were shamed by teachers, coaches, priests, parents, traffic cops, store clerks, old ladies on buses, even neighborhood dogs with their sad eyes. It was shameful to have poor penmanship, a dirty face, or to leave your fly unzipped. It was shameful to forget chores, …