Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Soundtrack to my Life

In light of this holiday season I'll start off my soundtrack with my one of my favorite Christmas songs..

Pennies From Heaven ~ Who ever sings it in Elf.  That song has the best beat and can ALWAYS cheer me up no matter what.

Hundred ~ The Fray.  I've always wanted to learn this song on the piano, and I've tried, but never ended up  learning the whole song.  It's most definitely been my favorite song since Freshman year of High School.. wait, this song totally just came up when I pressed "next" on my iTunes.. awesome, it's like my computer knows!!

You Got the Love ~ the XX cover of Florence and the Machine.  Probably one of the coolest songs I've ever heard... ever.

Sweet Disposition ~ Temper Traps.  I heard this song on a Coke commercial when I was in Hawaii and I could not find it on youtube to save my life, then my brother found it a few months later... never thanked him for that.


Call Me Irresponsible  ~ Michael Buble.  He has the voice of an angel.. and I went through a swing-dance phase and Call Me Irresponsible was on the Swing station I was listening to.  Embarrassing as it is to admit, I changed into what I would consider a 1920s dress and danced to that song in my kitchen while making brownies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Impact of Pro-ana Websites?

Frampton, I. (2008). Practitioners' toolkit. Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 13(4), 207.

“In this way, a pro-ana mythology has been allowed to develop, reinforced by a lack of publication from the research sector and undifferentiated observations in the mass media” (Frampton, 2008, p. 96-98).

Although many attempts have been made to restrict pro-anorexia (pro-ana) activists from glorifying anorexia on the web, it has been found that using such measures have no impact on the number of websites that are available online.  Pro-anorexia or pro-ana websites have gained widespread virtual popularity.  These websites are viewed in 1 of 2 ways, either as a positive form or a negative form of information.  Pro-ana websites promote anorexia for women as a way of life rather than as a mental illness that should be treated.  These forms teach people suffering from anorexia how to disguise their extreme diets from friends, families and to seem like they are living a regular, healthy life diet-wise.  Practioners’ Toolkit addresses how practitioners and clinicians have very little knowledge on the effect of internet communication in terms of these pro-ana websites.  They do not know how to address them or how to identify them and that these websites should be researched much more thoroughly.

Pro ana (2008). Retrieved from

“First of all I would just like to say that this site is not for wannarexics its for people that are currently experiencing anorexia or have been diagnosed with it and want some support.  This website has lots of things to help you with and hopefully for you to meet other people with an ED. Any age, any gender, no matter who you are you are welcome to this site ...”

This is the home page of a pro-ana website.  This explains the positive aspect of having a pro-ana website, which is to create a safe community where people can talk about their anorexia.  This website provides information on “weight management, covering up, songs, quotes, reasons 2 b thin, other sites, bmi chart, bmr calculator, height weight, myths, and statistics” for anorexics.  The section on “Covering Up” includes ways to hide anorexia from doctors, family members, friends and the general public.  This is one of the reasons that makes pro-ana websites so controversial, because they promote how to disguise their mental illness which makes it more difficult for people to help anorexics get help.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Avoidable Death of Rebecca Riley

In Chapter 10, “The Avoidable Death of Rebecca Riley,” Jon Ronson explains the evolutionary process of the DSM handbook and how it has impacted many people’s lives by labeling ordinary behaviors as mental disorders.  Ronson attends a Scientology banquet and listens to the cheers of people applauding Lady Margaret McNair for naming normal behaviors people do and diagnosing them as mental disorders that can be found in the newest edition of DSM.  He researches how the DSM was formed and finds that Robert Spitzer created DSM to be used as a personal handbook for people to compare their behavioral characteristics to checklists of different mental disorders in order to diagnose themselves.  Speaking with Allen Frances, Ronson is told that the DSM created 3 false epidemics, the most popular being childhood bipolar disorder.  Many people diagnose children with bipolar disorder because the behavior of the child matches many of the characteristics on the checklist.  However, Ronson knows that many of these behaviors are actually ordinary and playful childhood behaviors.  He speaks with Byrna who has a son who’s been diagnosed as bipolar and has been taking medication for it for 10 years.  Ronson believes that her child, like many others, has been inaccurately diagnosed.  Lastly, Ronson emphasizes that misdiagnosing children as bipolar is harmful to their development by telling the tragedy of Rebecca Riley and how the 4 year old died of an accidental overdose of bipolar medication that she was given by her parents.  Ronson states that her death would be avoidable if Rebecca’s mother wasn’t falsely diagnosed with bipolar disorder, so that her mother wouldn’t have the medication in the first place. 

I think that the DSM should not be used as a device for people to diagnose themselves.  It would just make a lot of people go crazy believing that they have a mental disorder that they most likely do not have.  I think it is ironic that they wouldn't diagnose a psychopath in DSM because they don't want to unreliably measure psychopath's traits when they are diagnosing many other mental disorders with ambiguous characteristics.  I think my favorite part of this whole book is when Tony makes an avatar on x-box of one of the nurses and makes her look like a zombie, and especially when Ronson responds with his own comment that his son had made zombie looking avatars of him and he thought it was funny.  THEY'RE FUNNY!!! I don't know if it's too soon for Tony to be making jokes about being a psychopath when he finally is released from Broadmoor, but I find his humor extremely entertaining.  I'm glad Tony got out! I hope he makes good decisions.  I still don't understand the mystery of Being or Nothingness.  It is clever that they put 21 filled pages and 21 blank pages in it though.  Oh, Jon Ronson.  What a wise guy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

David Shayler..... Really.

In Chapter 8, “The Madness of David Shayler,” Jon Ronson realizes people are entertained by others who display madness that is similar to their own, but to a much greater extent.  Chapter 8 begins with Rachel North explaining the aftermath of creating a group for victims, like her, who have survived the bombings of 7/7.  She is then criticized by David Shayler for her blogs by declaring that everything she writes is a lie, that the bombings on 7/7 as well as Rachel North, herself, never existed.  Ronson later speaks with Shayler and realizes that he lusts for attention by creating ridiculous theories that 7/7 never existed, that the plane crashes in 9/11 were actually holograms and that he was the Messiah chosen by God.  Ronson analyzes the responses of society to each theory seeing that the first one was not mad enough, the second was the correct amount, and his last one was too obviously mad.
            I felt really bad for Rachel in Chapter 8.  It must have been so frustrating for her to be continuously told that her near-death experience was all a lie and never happened.  If I were her, I would have gone crazy, probably to the point of literally knocking some sense into the nonbelievers.  David Shayler seems absolutely ridiculous to me.  Coming up with the decision that he is the Messiah? How ridiculous! I thought it was really funny how Ronson made a graph of Shayler’s attention-seeking theories and compared it to the responses he was given for each.  Ronson’s conclusion at the end of Chapter 8 makes complete sense though.  It’s what I said during lecture while we were discussing why we watch reality TV shows! As for Chapter 9, I think that story about Collin is so unfortunate!  And also that Paul Britton was really dumb.  He doesn’t blame himself, but the others and when Ronson asks him a question that proves that Britton should take partial blame, Britton asks confused and apologizes for not understanding the question.  The PCL-R Checklist really is a dangerous weapon since it is just like criminal profiling, both can misdiagnose people and ruin their lives. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Something Borrowed.. and not Returned

In Malcolm Gladwell’s “Something Borrowed,” he questions whether plagiarism can be a reason to ruin a person’s life and reputation.  After writing memoirs for Dorothy Lewis, both Lewis and Gladwell realize they have been plagiarized in Lavery’s Broadway play, “Frozen.”  Because of having contradicting feelings, not knowing whether to feel flattered or angry for having his words as well as Lewis’ life story stolen, Gladwell analyzes different forms of plagiarism.  Gladwell examines plagiarism within music by comparing similar notes on the piano but in different songs, written by different artists and also the same for comparing melodies and tunes in different songs with different artists.  Gladwell then speaks with Lavery regarding how she didn’t understand that she was plagiarizing his article and Lewis’ life stories. She says that she thought the article was “news” with no emotional value attached.  Gladwell realizes that plagiarism shouldn’t ruin someone’s life reputation or life unless it is fully, 100% plagiarized because words are not owned.  He understands that the origins of words get lost and that people reinvent them over time.  So, people cannot claim words as their own property.  In Lavery’s case, she had created a fictional character based off Lewis’ life, but Lewis’ character faces different circumstances than the actual Lewis.  Gladwell claims that this is not plagiarism and that plagiarism should not ruin someone’s life and reputation.
            I never knew that plagiarism is such a broad term.  This article confuses me because, now, I really know if paraphrasing someone else’s idea is still considered plagiarism rather than taking their idea as inspiration and transforming it into my own.  I would still cite where I get information though because that has just been embedded into my memory and I’m pretty sure I would still get in trouble for “academic dishonesty” if I didn’t cite ideas that were created from someone else’s.  But it’s interesting that plagiarism is determined only if the full text is copied rather than a small amount or even most of it is copied.  So, to me, Gladwell’s idea of plagiarism is that as long as the writing/tune/melody/song, anything, is different, it’s not the same.  But I feel really bad for Lavery because her life is ruined now for being considered a plagiarizer and for losing all her credentials as a writer.  But it makes sense why Lewis was so angry since Lavery took her life and then changed it to have her fictional character be in an affair with the psychopath.  With people believing this is based on Lewis’ life, they now also believe she had the affair in reality when she didn’t.  Like my mom ALWAYS says, “copying is the best form of flattery,” but I think there is a fine line between being flattered by someone copying you and being creeped out by someone writing about your life through a fictional story, and then changing it for the worse (because who is insane enough to want to have an affair with a known psychopath?)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Madness Makes a Damn Good Story

In Chapter 7, Jon Ronson examines the reason why he has become so interested in understanding psychopaths.  He realizes that the most important part of journalism is to investigate in a topic that proves to be interesting, entertaining, and captivating to an audience.  Identifying madness, the extreme aspects of a personality, is what truly enthralls an audience.  After being criticized for his study on psychopaths by Adam Curtis, Ronson begins researching other journalists who have singled out individuals based on their madness.  He meets a woman named Charolette Scott and questions her on why and how she picked individuals to examine for a reality television show.  Her answer was that she picked people based on which medications they were currently prescribed with.  She realized that the best stories were based on those who had the most problems.  The people couldn’t be too emotionally dysfunctional, as in mental disorders, but the perfect amount of dysfunctional; people had to be emotionally unstable, but stable enough to avoid inflicting harm on oneself.  Her responsibility on the reality tv show was to find people who would fit well enough to be interviewed.  She had to repeatedly listen to peoples’ problems.  According to Scott, the only way to be emotionally detached was to demoralize others in order to feel everything but empathy for the people.  Much like the businessman psychopaths, Scott had to emotionally detach herself in order to perform her job to the best of her ability.  Thus, as a journalist, finding the correct interviewee with enough madness to captivate an audience is the most important factor to being successful.  In Ronson’s conversation with Scott, she continues to discuss how too much madness can be bad and turn off viewers; yet the perfect amount was if the interviewee was prescribed with a drug to treat depression, which then leads to the discussion on how the person became depressed.  This chapter shows how journalism and broadcasting is a manipulative way to show off the correct amount of madness that will absorb an audience and create more viewers.
I really enjoy this book.  I like how Ronson continues to seek out and uncover the mysteries of different roles psychopaths play in society and how they manipulate the system to benefit themselves.  I thought story about Deneese was extremely upsetting because ABC family basically ruined Deneese’s life (and her sisters’ life) by having her family who she loved and trusted tell her that they were ashamed by how ugly she was, then telling her that she was cut from the show because her surgery would take too long to heal.  That would be the absolute worst thing to ever hear!! That really puts a damper on ones’ confidence and self esteem levels, definitely to the point of having to be prescribed for depression. Finding out how some producers choose the people to be starred on tv was especially surprising since they are chosen based off how crazy they are. Chapter 7 was interesting to read as well because of Al Dunlap.  It was interesting to find out that most of the checklist items for a psychopath were related to succeeding in boosting his career as a CEO because he was not afraid to manipulate people or fire the ones he thought were really lazy right on the spot.