Monday, October 17, 2011

Chapters 6 & 7

In this chapter, Jon Ronson witnesses the destruction corporate psychopaths can cause upon meeting Al Dunlap, an ex-CEO and corporate fat cat. Ronson goes to Shubuta, Mississippi, the previous home to a Sunbeam production plant. The shutdown of the plant created a derelict town and Al Dunlap was the cause of it all. After seeing the destruction Dunlap caused, Ronson arranges to meet with him in order to diagnose his psychopathy. Dunlap’s house is covered in gold, furnished with predatory sculptures and void of family pictures except majestic portraits of Dunlap and his second wife. With little diplomacy, Ronson asks Dunlap if he is willing to take the psychopath test. He agrees and although he fits many psychopathic traits, he affirms that they are not negatives but instead are the positive traits of leadership.

            While I liked both chapters, they were interesting for different reasons. Chapter 6 was an in-depth look at an executive psychopath. His weird obsession with gold and predators declares him not only a psychopath but also a serious creeper; even though he loves gold’s charm and luxury, it is really just tacky and gross. However, the superior of the two is chapter 7. The technique Charlotte Scott conceived using medication as an indicator to have a guest on TV is sickening. Preying on the mental illness of others for great ratings speaks volumes about our society. While what Charlotte did was unconscionable, she did so to appease a society obsessed with madness and shock. Who then is really to blame?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ten Page Paper Blog

Are psychopaths and serial killers created by nature, nurture of both?

            I chose this question because I have always had a fascination with serial killers and psychopaths, a guilty pleasure entrenched even further by the Ronson book we are reading in class. This seems like an interesting question because while most of what Ronson says claims that psychopaths are made that way by nature, many serial killers are created by both aspects.. There is a lot of research and statistics on serial killer and psychopaths, although probably more on the former than the latter. I would probably have to read a lot of medical journals, books and interviews since I cannot conduct any research myself. Subquestions might include that since there is sure to be some overlap between serial killers and psychopaths, where they lie on the nature-nurture scale. Are there personality, psychosocial, physical, or mental similarities in serial killers who use different weapons or techniques and in psychopaths of the corporate world as oppose to just the common criminals. The biggest problem I will probably face is the same problem I believe criminal profilers or anyone doing an assessment of serial killers and psychopaths may face; I can only base my findings on those who have been caught or diagnosed.

How are the mentally ill and/or disabled being treated in our health care system?

            I chose this question because I have a deep connection with the mentally ill. It seems like an interesting question because the answer would be affecting millions of people. To look for information, I would go to the library and read lots of assessments of the health care system, as well as assessments of mental intuitions. I would also conduct interviews with a few people I know who are either mentally ill or disabled and hear what their options are on the treatment they have received. Subquestions may include whether or not certain types of mental illness are treated worse or better than other types of mental illness, whether or not certain disabilities are treated worse or better than other disabilities, and if the health care system treats the disabled better or worse than the mentally ill. The possible problems I feel I could run in to is there may be many governmental assessments that pad the actual goings-on in mental health institutions.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

“The Psychopath Test”

In this chapter, Jon Ronson discusses Bob Hare and his studies on psychopathy, mainly “The Psychopath Test”.  Ronson attends Hare’s three-day seminar for criminal profilers, psychiatrists and other professionals of that ilk. While there, Ronson was introduced to the specifics of the twenty-point Hare PCL-R Checklist, which uses cues and traits to diagnose psychopathy. The conventionists watch several videos of convicted psychopathic felons and Hare’s Checklist held up to the psychopaths’’ behavior.  While he and several other are skeptical at first, they have all converted into believes by the end of the seminar. Afterwards, Ronson thinks himself an expert and feels so confident that he begins to diagnose those who have bothered or insulted him in the past. In the end, Hare admits to Ronson that there may be more psychopaths in the top tier of society than in prisons and that unnerves Ronson to no end.
Knowing Hare’s twenty-point PCL-R Checklist is the most invigorating idea to me. I often claim people are psychotic with no basis but if I had the clinical knowledge to do so, I would be so much more exciting to go out in to the world every day. I unapologetically make this declaration for my own selfish gain and in no way to help society. However, I should be careful to admit this after receiving my own score.