Old Shame/Real Life

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

All in Good Fun

  • Jay Leno occasionally invokes this on his actor guests. All in good fun, of course.
    • Jay has his own Old Shame, Collision Course, a buddy cop movie he did with Pat Morita in the 1980s that he's described as being "a horrible movie".
  • Jimmy Wales, owner and co-creator of That Other Wiki, originally made money on the Internet with a site for what he calls "glamour photography", now downplayed for obvious reasons.
  • <blink>. Lou Montulli issued an apology for accidentally creating the beast, which was left in as an Easter Egg that everybody loved to use. While Opera's the only browser outside the Netscape line to implement the tag, CSS would introduce a standardized alternative - with the caveat that browsers didn't actually have to implement it (most just quietly throw it away); another web standard requires an option to disable blinking (which Firefox buries in about:config).
    • Among old-time hackers, there's only one accepted use for the blink tag: Schrodinger's Cat is <blink>NOT</blink> dead.
  • Hotelier Ian Schrager, doesn't like talking about his time as co-owner of Studio 54, which was so infamous it landed him and partner Steve Rubell in jail.
    • In fact in the 1998 film '54', a highly fictionalized version of the story of the club, Rubell (played by Mike Myers) is a major character, but Schrager is never seen or mentioned at all.
  • The Eighties. Images (moving or otherwise) produced during that decade are generally recognizable, if only for the reaction: "How in the world did they think that looked good?" This applies to fashion, hairstyles, television programmes and music as well.
  • Too many automotive fiascos to mention them all, but among the highlights:
    • Ford's Edsel is a classic car... today. A huge 1950s automobile with the distinctive tail fins. In its era, it was notable primarily as a colossal marketing blunder which the company never fully managed to live down. It was given its own dealership network (instead of being carried by existing Ford dealers). It was priced above the comparable stock Ford models of the era. It came out in the late 1950s, at the time of an economic recession, and around the time the tail fin style was going out of style... and the actual marketing pitch (as America's "space car" in the immediate post-Sputnik era) was a blunder worthy of a comedy of errors.
    • Then again, compared to the exploding Pinto of The Seventies, the Edsel was a good motorcar. Ford was still doing damage control and insisting "Quality is Job 1" well into The Eighties after the "2000 dollars and 2000 pounds" (in weight) blunder that was the early Pinto.
    • And then there's GM, the one company large enough (and cyclical enough) to be a traditional canary-in-a-coalmine economic indicator for predicting the next US recession. They've had their share of lemons; Ralph Nader excoriated them in particular for the Chev Corvair, which he insisted was "Unsafe at Any Speed" in a polemic which filled an entire book. Nader went on to run for president of the US as a libertarian.
    • With all the inevitable misfires in the automobile industry, it's rare that a company would consider one particular model an Old Shame: The Cimarron is that for General Motors and its Cadillac line. In 1982, GM basically took their mid-sized J-Car line (which included the Chevy Cavalier, Buick Skyhawk, Oldsmobile Firenza and Pontiac Sunbird as well as the Opel Ascona, Vauxhall Cavalier, Holden Camira and Isuzu Aska) and tried to make a luxury car out of it. The result was an ugly [1], underpowered [2] mess. They also sold it at nearly double the price of any of the rest of its J-Car siblings - despite looking or driving nothing like a Cadillac. The bad rep Cadillac got from the fiasco nearly sank the entire line. According to legend, Cadillac Product Director John Howell had a picture of the Cimarron on a wall with the caption, "Lest we forget." For comparison: This is an '82 Cimarron. This is an '82 Eldorado 2-door, the next smallest Caddy offered.
    • There have also been advertising blunders. Tell consumers "you can afford a Cadillac" in the ad and expect to sell fewer (not more) cars, because the brand image had always been 'it costs more, so it must somehow be a better product'. And then there was the "not your father's Oldsmobile" slogan, which backfired by making the line look more stodgy - not less.
    • And then there's the V8-6-4, an engine which Cadillac offered on a few models during a fuel shortage in 1981. A bit too clever for its own good, it actually attempted a "cylinder reduction" scheme where two or four of the motor's eight cylinders could be shut down when they weren't needed. An interesting idea, but (like Chrysler's first attempts to control fuel injectors with primitive analogue computers in The Fifties) it never did quite work right.
    • For that matter, what about the "highway hi-fi", an attempt to shock-mount an undersized vinyl record player for automotive use? Tried in the late fifties, never did work well. The infamous Lear eight-track cartridges of The Seventies looked like brilliance by comparison.
  • The Atlanta Spirit Group considers the Atlanta Thrashers (now the second incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets) an embarrassment, removing all references to the team, including the team's lone divisional championship banner and a mural from when the team hosted the 2008 All-Star Game, from Philips Arena. The team wouldn't have been a joke if the group operated the team properly.
  • And then there was that other embarrassment from Atlanta: New Coke™. The fiasco ended with the original brand re-launched as Coca-Cola Classic™.
  • In a more general example, E-Mail addresses. Many of us on the Internet started using it at young ages (it's getting more accentuated over time), where we thought it would be cool to fool around with random words, references to favourite series/movies and/or vulgarity. Then, flash-foward some years, doing a college or job application, if you didn't bother to change to a less immature one while the efforts needed wouldn't be too much, then it's too late.

Serious Business

  • The Daily Mail would rather forget the fact that it used to be Oswald Mosley's mouthpiece, but its critics aren't going to let it forget the headline "Hurrah for the Blackshirts" in a hurry.
    • Another British newspaper, the now left wing Daily Mirror, also supported the Blackshirt movement for a time in the mid 1930s before switching to its current idealogy.
  • The BBC used to show, among other programmes, the hugely racist Black and White Minstrel Show. Up until the 1970s. Needless to say, the corporation regrets its attitudes now.
  • The Germans hate the Third Reich more than anyone on the planet. They will not tolerate the Swastika being used for anything other than a dead serious historical documentary or in a genuinely artistic context (They've recently allowed the use of Nazi imagery in video games, provided that the game complies with their "social adequacy" clause and does not condone Nazism). Or by a Jain, as it was their symbol first--and considering they take non-violence to a rather insane level (the most devout ones don't eat yogurt since it involves eating live bacteria), most German authorities have agreed to let them be.
  • Karl Marx wrote about how one form of capitalist economy was the "Asiatic mode of production," where slave-lords (nobles, kings, etc.) use violence to coerce workers into giving them labour. After Josef Stalin realized that this perfectly described the Soviet Union, he called a meeting of Marxist intellectuals to Leningrad in 1931, which was a cover justification for him censoring all of Marx's works to remove any mention of the AMP.
  • Remember Alabama Governor George Wallace? Remember how he overtly barred black students from entering a previously all-white school until the President himself sent federal marshals to enforce integration? Wallace wasn't too proud of that in later years:

Wallace: I was wrong. Those days are over and they ought to be over.

  • During President Reagan's first term as governor of California, he passed an abortion bill, which he never quite forgave himself for over the rest of his staunchly-conservative life.
  • The Nobel committee tries to gloss over the fact that they gave the award for Medicine to António Egas Moniz in 1949. They frequently invoke Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness when mentioning he won for discovering "the therapeutic value of leucotomy." To translate: He invented the lobotomy.
    • He also invented one of the world's first brain imaging techniques so that is usually highlighted instead.
    • Made worse by the fact that it was his primary motive – his lack of a Nobel Prize had become a source of anxiety to him as his career and years had advanced. After he read the paper on the effects of damage to various parts of the frontal lobes, and realised that it would be possible to duplicate some of these effects deliberately, one of the first thoughts to hit him was "This could get me my Nobel!" He had some specimen brains sent up to his office immediately, so that he could start working out the best way to slice them up.
  • The previous British Prime Minister, David Cameron, apparently feels this way about his support for Section 28 (a rampantly homophobic policy introduced by the Thatcher government). He's since apologised for the harm it caused.
  • The United Kingdom media and government both see their treatment of Alan Turing, a scientist that played a big part in the Second World War that was then subjected to all manner of treatments after being outed as homosexual, leading to his suicide, as this.
  • The imprisonment of Japanese-Americans and Japanese-Canadians in internment camps during WWII. The United States paid reparations to all survivors and their descendants in 1988; Canada delayed doing the same until 2006.
  • The Canadian "residential school" program, which was designed to "beat the Indian out of the child". This came to light after the 1966 death of one child who tried to escape from the system, but the last of the schools was not closed until 1996, and it would not be until 2008 before an apology was issued. It's now recognized by the Canadian government as an attempt at cultural genocide against some of the people they should have been protecting.
  • Originally designed and marketed as an electric back massager, the Hitachi Magic Wand ended up having an enduring popularity as a sex toy, so much so that they briefly discontinued the device out of concerns over its brand image being associated with pornography and/or sexual activity. They were however persuaded by sex toy manufacturer Vibratex to resume production of the device, though Hitachi has understandably disassociated themselves from the brand, now simply referred to as the Magic Wand Original or Original Magic Wand.
  • Harley-Davidson once produced a commemorative line of motorcycles called the Confederate Edition, following the 1976 Liberty Edition line in celebration of the United States' bicentennial. As the use of Confederate iconography was and still remains a contentious issue to this day (complicated by the First Amendment among other things, not to mention the Ku Klux Klan having politicians and other notable people in its ranks), Harley disavowed any existence of the CE until fairly recently; the model is not on display at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, but is kept at the company's archives.
  • Samsung removed all traces of the Galaxy Note 7 following the now-infamous battery explosion scandal, which they scrambled to mitigate in 2016 when various incidents–traced from a design flaw with the device's battery and the compartment housing it–were reported, forcing the Korean conglomerate to discontinue the device months after it was released. And when Grand Theft Auto modder HitmanNiko poked fun at the incident by making a 3D model of the phone into a sticky bomb, YouTuber Mafia Game Videos, then known as Modded Games, was hit by a DMCA cease-and-desist order by Samsung for making a gameplay video of the mod, only for said takedown to be criticised as "bogus" and a "ridiculous overreach and misuse of the DMCA", while it was also believed that these takedowns would only draw further attention to the content. Strangely enough, while Samsung targeted videos depicting the Note 7, the download page for the mod itself was apparently overlooked.
  1. It looked like a Cavalier someone stuck Cadillac trim on
  2. The Cimarron had a 4-cylinder engine with 4-speed manual transmission. Every other Caddy since 1914 sported at least a V-6, and the company hadn't had a model with a clutch since the 1950s