Cracked egg on pastel backgroundsShaming is a powerful tool of control. While it should never be used as a bullying tactic, it can come in useful as a way to keep a check on those in power. ‘To have egg on one’s face’, meaning ’to be very embarrassed because of something one said or did’, is an idiom that dates back to 1960s America, and probably derived from the way an egg can be sloppy to eat and end up on one’s face. Many serious-minded politicians have ended up with egg on their faces for making false promises or claims, or for doing ridiculous things. Looking stupid means the loss of public faith and can end a career. Throwing raw, boiled or rotten eggs at disliked public figures (known as ‘egging’) is a well-known form of protest.

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