From the Greek word skandalon, a scandal is a stumbling block—something which is an obstacle to the fulfillment of a person’s desire.

In mimetic theory, the model of desire is always a scandal. The model, by its very nature, blocks the way to possessing the object. Because it’s the model who mediates the objects of desire, the model can never be overcome. Even if a subject were to come to possess the object that the model originally mediated to him, it would be worthless—at that point, the model would simply choose another subject of desire which the subject would then need to pursue, or the subject would feel that the object that he came to possess is completely worthless because of the very fact that he had come to possess it.

Stumbling Block

People need obstacles because obstacles mediate value. In other words, people need scandals.

When someone or something is a scandal, it causes offense and indignation, leaving the person “scandalized.”

Girard’s book, The One by Whom Scandal Comes,” is an excellent explanation of the model as a scandal.