Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blog9: Soundtrack

"Now We Are Free" - Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard. I always thought there was a sense of peace of mind and freedom felt within this piece. I first heard it in the movie Gladiator and was captivated for years with the soundtrack from that moment on.

"The Reason" - Hoobastank. This one goes a long way back. I remember when I was very young around the age of ~12 listening to this song merely amazed at the emotions and lyrics. I've kept this one close to me and I still remember all those nights of listening to it and thinking about my own life every time I hear it. This one is truly one of the songs I hold very dear to me.

"When I'm Gone"/ "Not Afraid"/ "Mockingbird" - Eminem. I think Eminem portrays a real sense of truth and reality into his music with these in particular. I always feel a sense of whats important in life after hearing these and feel empowered, grateful, and true to myself every time I listen to one of these songs.

"Never Too Late" - Three Days Grace. This song always gets me pumped but also portrays a powerful message and this combination really makes it something amazing to me in both the aspect of entertainment and conscientiousness.

"Requiem for a Dream" - Clint Mansell. This song is honestly the most epic song ever created on the face of the earth. Thats all. (Love playing this on the piano)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blog8: Research Practice

"The health of the nation is at stake when citizens do not receive primary care, routine health screenings, and preventative care, and this may lead to a resurgence of diseases such as tuberculosis. It is imperative that healthcare providers continue the fight for a more just system of health care that provides health care to all people. Americans deserve a universal healthcare system." (Rashford, 2007, p.10)

 Rashford, M. (2007). A universal healthcare system: Is it right for the united states?. Nursing Forum, 42(1), 3-11.

This source is a peer reviewed article that I found using the ProQuest Research Library on the U.W home site. The article contains a a literature review of five research studies relating to universal health care and healthcare reform. I think this is a solid source because it has been peer reviewed and also reviews research that has already been done, giving a second look at material that has been presented. I may end up using this to give examples of the effects of implementing this kind of universal system in the U.S.


"At the most fundamental level, universal access should be a moral imperative, a right of citizenship in any country that can afford it, no different from public safety protections and access to primary and secondary education and libraries. It is a basic human right, not a commodity to be bartered in the marketplace, to be made available based on class, race and social position." (Kingson & Cornman, 2007, p.28)

Kingson, E., & Cornman, J. (2007). Health care reform: Universal access is feasible and necessary. Benefits Quarterly, 23(3), 27-33.

This source is like the other being a peer reviewed article from the ProQuest Library. It contains information of international systems and the proof that they do work and also argues for healthcare for all as a fundamental right. I believe this is useful and solid because it gives a different aspect to this issue addressing the ethical and logical reasons behind universal heath care. I will probably use this idea as one of my arguments for pro reform.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blog7: Chapter 10 Summary

In chapter 10, Ronson discusses psychiatry and diagnosis from the DSM. He centers around the idea of psychiatry creating labels for mental disorders and how the border of mental illness and abnormality are sometimes mixed within a gray area, bearing misdiagnosis and consequences within society. Ronson portrays this through two examples. The first is an experiment done by a David Rosenhan, a psychiatrist grown tired of the "pseudoscientific world of the psychoanalyst." David co-opted with seven friends going to different mental hospitals across the U.S. Although the seven people never had any psychological problems, telling the duty psychiatrist that they were hearing voices in their head with words such as "hollow" and "thud" caused all of them to be immediately diagnosed as insane. After reporting the experiment, one mental hospital challenged Rosenhan to send more fakes to prove themselves. A month later the hospital said to have found 41 fakes only to be humiliated to find out that Rosenhan had sent no one to the hospital. This emphasizes the problem with psychiatry that Ronson discusses with misdiagnosis. The experiment with David goes to show the how there can be a problem of definiton between a disorder and mere abnormality. The second example is with Rebecca Riley. Rebecca was a four year old diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After not being able to sleep one night, her mother gave her cold medicine and her bipolar medication. She was found dead the next morning from an overdose of the antipsychotic drugs she had been prescribed with. Rebecca had scored high on the DSM checklist despite being only three at the time, and her parents had gotten into the habit of giving her the drugs when she was being annoying. This event shows how misdiagnosis of these disorders seem to sometimes be out of hand and inaccurate. These examples shows how these problems of misdiagnosis and definition can create big problems within society and mislead people into labeling their lives as something they may not even be.

Ronson has dived into the world of psychiatry and opened up many questions of morals and ethics within the practice. I believe after reading this book that psychiatry is quite difficult but also a very interesting field to understand and develop. There seems to be many gray areas within psychiatry in which sometimes there are guidelines that don't have complete definition, and sometimes it has to be based on personal opinion. Although these areas exist, I believe psychiatry is still a valid and useful study. Despite the way psychiatry was portrayed in Ronson's book, I would hope that most people don't believe every last detail of what is portrayed as the entire world of psychiatry. Yes there are crazy doctors and mindless people but this being a book about psychopaths, you wouldn't expect Ronson to portray the sane, normative, and linear aspects of the study throughout the entire book right? That would be just boring. I believe a big problem with psychiatry though is also within this gray area as well. Sometimes there may be confusion with what may be mere abnormality and a real disorder. When psychiatry intrudes too much into the normative, that is when confusion, issues, and consequences arise. However, I think Ronson still did a good job portraying aspects of psychiatry and issues within the field in a very interesting way that kept me hooked throughout all the chapters.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blog6: Chapter 8 Summary

In chapter 8, Jon Ronson finds something interesting. He answers his old question. What exactly is the right kind of madness? Ronson uncovers this by first encountering Rachel North. After surviving a terrorist attack, Rachel begins blogging about the event and finds other survivors that share the same experience. However, she is soon met with conspiracy theorists that tell her on her blogs that the entire thing was a government set up to cover for a accidental power surge. Outraged, she finally goes to one of their meetings in which she sees David Shayler. Ronson is able to answer his question by the events that unfold with David's life. David use to be a MI16 spy working for the government. After releasing information of unethical actions by the secret ops, he flees and is praised by society. As it turns out, he is now a conspiracy theorist preaching his views on the 7/7 and 9/11 attacks. One day David starts talking abut his belief of the 'no planer' theory of 9/11. He says that there was never really any planes, but only hologram missiles, edited footage, and cover up interviews. This radical theorist view draws immense media attention for David, sparking his name all over the news. After this incident, he does something truly absurd by announcing that he was the Messiah. However, this drew very little media attention. After this event, David is unheard of again in the media until Ronson has one last chat with him. (conclusion inside response)

Through David's actions, Ronson finds out exactly what society looks for in the right kind of madness. Ronson agrees with David that many people are afraid they're going mad and because of this, "the right sort of mad are people who are a bit madder than we fear we're becoming.." (p211) The reason for this is because society looks toward these people as a source of comfort. Comfort in knowing that their madness is greater than theirs. This proves why David received little attention as being the Messiah, because it was something too unrecognizable for people to relate to. I think this is a very interesting thing to address because not only is it one of the parts that sows the fabric of the book together, but also because of its real life implications. It is truly amazing to sit down and really think about concepts like these for once. To think that our society and media is shaped by these mad people in which we indulge our emotions on to feel better. We as a society declare ourselves normal, but how normal can a society that feeds off the minds of the mad truly be?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Blog5: "Something Borrowed"

In "Something Borrowed" Malcolm Gladwell discusses plagiarism. He tells the story of Dorthy Lewis and a Broadway play called "Frozen." Lewis is first offended and feels robbed when she finally decides to see Bryony Lavery's play. She sees that Lavery took aspects of her life and study from one of her books and hires a lawyer, about to file for a lawsuit. As she sends Lavery a fax of what she had done, she immediately contemplates her decisions and thoughts. Towards the end of the story, Lewis begins changing her mind on the situation as she talks to Lavery about what happened. She realizes that what Lavery had done was not actually steal her work, but used some of her ideas to create something new. From this story, Gladwell points out that plagiarism is not something so simple. He says that plagiarism is complex because all ideas are all preexisting forms of thought built on new forms of creation. Gladwell states that no person can actually own words but that it depends on exactly what one takes and how much to differentiate between variation and stealing.

I believe Gladwell makes a good point. No one can truly create something and make the rest of the world unable to touch it. A good example of this in the text is Beethoven's work. Although Beethoven created his work on his own variation, there was still pieces before him that had similar parts and themes. I believe the view on plagiarism is very narrow sighted because in all honestly, plagiarism is necessary to a certain extent. If people did not take ideas and base their own on them, we would never progress. We would never see some of the most influencial music, movies, plays, and works because they were all in some way related to something else.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blog4: Chapter 6 Summary

In chapter 6, Ronson visits Shutuba, Mississippi. During the visit Ronson hears about Al Dunlap. He finds out that Dunlap was the last CEO of Sunbeam and managed to shut down the plant, virtually destroying the small town of Shutuba. Ronson finds out that Dunlap fired many employees to much of his enjoyment while working at Sunbeam. Interested, Ronson decides to visit Dunlap in Florida to see if he is truly a psychopath.Upon arriving, Ronson sees various sculptures of predator animals and once inside, finds large portraits of Dunlap everywhere. Dunlap begins chatting until Ronson questions Dunlap on his characteristics and how he could possibly be a psychopath. Dunlap answers all of Ronson's questions, addressing many of the checklist characteristics as a way to progress past others and making them into positives for himself. After the interview, Ronson talks to Bob Hare about the experience and then goes on to talk to an anonymous man named "Jack."

The comment Adam Curtis made to Ronson in chapter 7 struck interest in me. Curtis tells Ronson that all journalists create stories out of fragments, traveling the world in search for the 'gems.' Curtis says that Ronson is merely searching for the 'gems' to fulfill his research and that these gems invariably turn out to be madness. On the last sentence of the paragraph Curtis asks, "Forget psychopathic CEOs. My question is, what does all this say about our sanity?" I believe this is an interesting question because referring back to previous chapters, Ronson has been traveling all over talking to specific people in search for these 'gems' and mentally diagnosing who he believes is a psychopath from Hare's Checklist. This in itself is ironic that someone out to research on other people's mental health passively results in the shift of their own sanity and rationality. In my opinion, ever since Ronson saw Hare's Checklist, I feel that he has been going out in the world labeling anyone with any kind of psychopathic characteristic as not specifically a psychopath, but passively leaving it to consideration. This makes me wonder about Ronson's sanity in himself.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Blog3: Research Topic

Should the United States adopt universal health care?

I decided to pick this topic because I am still puzzled as to why the U.S doesn't feel the need to change it's healthcare system despite knowing that the current system is not working as well as we would like. I am interested to know why the U.S does not want to model some of the leading country's successful healthcare systems since it would seem obvious that if you're number 1, then you must be doing something right. I would begin my research by first seeing the systems of the top 10 highest ranked countries for health care and then branch that information off into how it is able to connect with the U.S and its current situation. Some subquestions that might show up from researching this include: how well can the U.S integrate universal health? Is the choice of universal health care influenced by the population and their beliefs? I feel that this topic would be interesting to research and see arguments for both incorporating and rejecting it and drawing a concrete conclusion on the stance of universal health care in America.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Blog2: Chapter 4 Summary

In chapter four, Ronson comes into contact with an influential psychologist named Bob Hare. Justice departments and parole boards have accepted Hare's belief that psychopaths are incurable and the energy spend on trying to cure them should be put into his PCL-R Checklist to root them all out. Ronson describes Hare's break through experiment and how it concluded that psychopaths lack a functioning amyglada in the  brain, making them unable to anticipate the future or feel unpleasantness. After this, Ronson attends Hare's conference where he begins honing his skills to identify psychopaths. He begins realizing his skill after reading Hare's Psychopath Checklist and watching various patients respond to a researcher in a controlled room. Ronson continues identifying psychopathic qualities through examples of various psychopaths that were thought to be able to function in society, only to end up killing someone again. Ronson ends the chapter by pondering about psychopathic CEOs and psychopathic politicians. Hare tells him that its easy to identify psychopaths in prisons, but to root out CEOs and politicians, "..could change forever the way people see the world."(Ronson, p118)

"You have to feel sorry for psychopaths, right? If it's all because of their amygdalae? It's not their fault?"
- "Why should we feel sorry for them? They don't give a shit about us."(Ronson, p110)

This quote ignited the question that I've been wondering for some time since we started this book. If psychopaths are the way they are because it's in their nature to be, is it truly their fault? In my own opinion, I don't believe it is. The fact that they are literally missing a function in their brain goes to show that they not like the rest of us. The complex problem of this however, is that unlike someone that is missing half of their brain, psychopaths are able to compensate for their dysfunction and appear perfectly normal on the outside. The matter is made more complex by asking, what do you do with someone like that? It is immoral to lock someone up for life because of the way they were born. However; this would prove the best results. Speaking theoretically, identifying psychopaths and locking all of them up would improve the world. I am not saying I am in favor of that, but in terms of raw numbers, I believe that would improve overall safety statistics and concerns. On the other hand, not only is there a whole different issue of correctly identifying psychopaths, but doing that would completely contradict all the principles of modern society. So the question stands, what do we do? Lock them all up before they cause chaos, or treat them like everyone, letting them pull the strings of the world? Based on how our society is structured today, I don't think there even is a right answer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blog1: Chapter 3 Summary

In chapter three of The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson sets out to discover how psychopaths could be cured. In the chapter, Ronson talks about the work of a psychiatrist named Elliot Barker. Barker coming back from his travels, learns a treatment of nude psychotherapy that he applies to Oak Ridge Hospital for the criminally insane. The treatment consisted of the removal of all distractions and cloths, and being locked in a room, high off LSD for days. This was theorized to strip the patients of their outer self and achieve emotional nakedness, supposedly curing them at the end of the process. The treatment seemed to have a positive effect on many patients and some of them were released back into the world. However, after releasing many of the patients, it turns out that 80% of them went on to re-offened crimes. Due to this, the program was shut down and deemed a failure. The naked psychotherapy treatment concluded with worse results in the patients, and inability to cure them.

I thought this chapter was very interesting in the different ways mental illness was attempted to be cured. Barker's methods seemed very radical; however, it is understandable why one would go to such lengths. Trying to cure something like psychopathy after many other failed methods only gave way to attempting something drastic. What intrigues me the most is how psychopaths cannot be changed and continue with their behaviors. Although this behavior is destructive, it is interesting to see society dealing with the outcasts which they deem to be abnormal. Wouldn't a psychopath believe their behaviors to be normal to themselves? If that is true, then society is forcing their beliefs into someone in an attempt to change who they are. I am by no means saying they should be free; however, if one were to think of the world full of psychopaths, and todays idea of the sane person being placed into that world, would that sane person not also be deemed crazy and also be forced the beliefs of that world down their throat like we do with the psychopaths of the present? If you were placed in a world of psychopaths, would you also not conform to their ways and beliefs? Perhaps this is the reason why they are not able to be cured in todays world.