«The victim is the hero of our time. Being a victim gives us a status. It forces other people to listen to us. It encourages and supports recognition while powerfully generating a sense of identity, justice and self-esteem. It immunizes from criticism, guarantees innocence beyond any reasonable doubt. How could the victim be guilty, and indeed responsible for something? S/he does not play, s/he is played. S/he does not act, s/he suffers. The victim lives with a sense of absence and request, weakness and claim, and with the desire to have and to be. We are not defined by our actions, but by what we have suffered, by what we could lose, and by that which others have taken from us.»
How can a victim generate leadership and proselytes just as a religion does? And how can it encompass at the same time the feeling of shame and pride? From politics to society, from history to literature, from law to psychology, Giglioli analyzes the symptoms of the contemporary victim: "the hero of our time." Among its expressions: the obsessive celebration of memory; the humanitarian belief that “keeps the defenceless unarmed" and "leaves intact the arsenals of the powerful"; the capitalist claim for the right to well-being that turns into frustration and inadequacy; the contemporary mythology of the " conspiracy". In all these cases the liability of evil is elsewhere, outside of us. In a sharp and clear essay, the author investigates the origins of the ideology of the victim and the established strategy of today's lamentation that divides society into guilty and innocent, victims and perpetrators. Ultimately, Giglioli highlights the crisis of "a form of life" – our form of life.