NPR logo

Listen to this 'Talk of hte Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17099140/17100118" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Public Flogging

Public Flogging

Listen to this 'Talk of hte Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17099140/17100118" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

A case of the D.U.I's. Source: dotpolka hide caption

toggle caption
Source: dotpolka

You know that stab of sympathy, or even empathy, that you get when a public figure has some kind of meltdown?* For me, it usually goes hand in hand with a stab of interest — a slight curiosity at what it must feel like to go through something private, in public. These days everyone is public in one way or another, but when you're a community pillar of any sort — soccer coach, CEO, university professor — it ups the ante on your mistakes. Two weeks ago in the Washington Post, William Frawley, erstwhile president of the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, wrote about the two DUIs that led to his dismissal from the University, opening a window onto his experience that made me really think about the nature of "public." We're talking to him today — you can read his op-ed here — and we'd love to hear from you with any experiences you're willing to share with us.

*Yes, I still have sympathy for a certain pop star. And a plan — I want to kidnap her and take her to college. Who's with me?!