The rise of internet journalism has brought with it a new wave of satire. At the same time, it has created a new wave of denunciators of satire. Just as more people than ever can mock and be mocked, so more people than ever can declare that they are shocked by such mockery, leaving journalists to adjudicate, and in some cases to manufacture and manipulate a grey area between derision and defamation.
One such British pop-outrage journalist is Jon Ronson, whose new book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed was recently excerpted in the Guardian. It purports to be an account of "a trio of academics who stole Jon Ronson’s online identity". At first, it sounds like a great story: evil professors doing criminal things! One reads on in expectation of the inevitable involvement of the police, sackings of said professors, and an ensuing court drama.