apropos of nothing

What Is Your Cultural Secret Shame?

Photo: istockphoto

Inspired by David Lodge’s classic campus comedy Changing Places, the Times of London asked a number of authors to play the game Humiliation — in which you admit the most embarrassing book you’ve never read, and the winner is the one whose novel of secret shame has been read by the most other players. (In Lodge’s novel, one character trumps everyone else by admitting he’s never read Hamlet, and is summarily fired.) Eight of us played a round of Humiliation here in the office, and Jessica Pressler impressed everyone by admitting she’s never read To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel all seven of the other players had read when they were, like, 14.

But then we realized there’s just as much pop-culture cachet to great cinema these days as there is to literature. So we played another round of Humiliation, with movies this time, and the results were somewhat embarrassing for New York Magazine.

First of all, two people wrote down The Godfather. Including us. (Never have we been so grateful for our unbylined posts.) But more mortifying, players wrote down Gone With the Wind and Citizen Kane, but less than half of our group had actually seen those movies. (By way of comparison, six of the eight of us have seen Zoolander.) The co-champions of Humiliation, however, the ones who’ve never seen movies that everyone else has seen, are Chris Rovzar (E.T.) and Nick Catucci (Schindler’s List). Catucci argues that his omission is more poignant and depressing than Chris’s and so therefore we’re pleased to give him the crown.

What’s your secret shame in literature? What’s the movie you can’t believe you’ve never seen? Let us know in the comments!

Great Unread Books: Which classic are you ashamed to admit you have never read? [Times UK]

What Is Your Cultural Secret Shame?