As PR professionals, we constantly preach about the importance of self-awareness. Brands, companies and people must always be privy to what the public is thinking and feeling. Being tone deaf–or even conveying the perception of being tone deaf–to public sentiment can be PR suicide.

But what about the public’s own collective self-awareness? History has proven that the public is capable of some pretty grisly acts, and those horrible transgressions typically occur when the public is the least self-aware. So let’s take a deep breath and do a little soul searching.

In the PR realm, we’ve addressed, for example, the public’s role in the mistreatment of Kate Middleton and the invasion of her privacy. And now, thanks to a book titled Tales from the Tarmac and written by 16-year airline industry veteran Claudia Helena Oxee, we can once again look into the mirror. The reflection isn’t pretty–Ms. Oxee’s perception of us is both unfiltered and unforgiving.

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