Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Soundtrack to My Life..

Biz Markie - "Just a Friend"
Everyone has had that time where they liked someone and, oh, they consider you just a friend. I like this song because it's so easy to relate to. The song also has a nice beat to it, one that you can dance to, sing to in the car or shower, or just do your homework to. Whenever I hear this song it makes me smile. :)

Taylor Swift - "Never Grow Up"
This was a song I had on repeat as I was getting ready to leave for school this summer. I have a little brother (age 4) and sister (age 8) and this song made me realize how old we were all getting. It also made me sad to realize I was going to miss a lot of them growing up and going to school during the year. This made me want them to stop growing up until I got back. Also it helped me understand the kind of things my parents were going through, with their first born going to school. It also showed me how much I rely on my parents.

Brad Paisley (feat. Dolly Parton) - "When I Get Where I'm Going"
This song was just always just a good song to sing to, that is until my grandpa passed away. I was always really close to my grandpa and there is a line in this song (I'm gonna walk with my grand daddy/And he'll match me step for step/And I'll tell him how I've missed him every minute since he's left/And then I'll hug his neck). There is not a day that I don't miss my grandpa and to think I could go see him one more time makes me feel better.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Research Practice - Media's Influence on Teen Pregnancy

"Second, boys are obsessed with sex and sexual performance, and, third,  girls are responsible for teen pregnancy, contraception, and STD prevention" (Hust & Brown, 2008, p.14).

Hust, S., & Brown, J. (2008). Boys will be boys and girls better be prepared: An analysis of the rare sexual health messages in young adolescents' media. Mass Communication & Society, 11(3), 1-22.

For my research paper, I thought it would be interesting to study media's influence on teen pregnancy, and whether it is a positive or negative influence. I think this article will add an interesting point of view to my paper as it looks at teen pregnancy as something the girl needs to control and worry about, where the boy is left to have fun. I believe it will be a pretty solid source as it is coming from an academic peer reviewed journal. I feel that I might use this article to help contradict myself in my paper, to help me from building a straw man fallacy. It could help me strengthen my points by providing points from an opposing view point, as I feel that media has a positive influence on teen pregnancy.

"The likelihood of getting pregnant, or getting someone else pregnant, increased steadily with the amount of sexual content they watched on TV" (Anonymous, 2008, p. 4).

Anonymous. (2008). Studies: Link between sexual media content and pregnancy, hostility. Media Report to Women, 36(4), 3-4.

This article is a bit more sketchy to me. I think it will still provide good information as it implies on page four that teen pregnancy increases with amount of sexual media being watched. The reason I am apprehensive about this article is because there is no author mentioned. This article actually does contain actual information about the research (like who was involved), which does help increase the validity a little bit. I can use this article to help me determine whether media has a positive or negative influence on teen pregnancy as through the research it helps give a clearer answer.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Avoidable Death of Rebecca Riley and GOOD LUCK!

In chapter ten of The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson finally realizes the dangers of misdiagnosing people with mental disorders, and how to value what makes one disease more or less legitimate than others. He meets with Robert Spritzer, a psychiatrist at Columbia University, who later went on to become an editor of the DSM. It's believed, even by Spritzer, that the DSM falsely diagnoses many people with normal characteristics as having mental disorders, which many pharmaceutical companies benefit from. He also reviews the Rosenhan experiment, where 8 people faked mental disorders. They proved the unreliability of psychiatry. At the end of the chapter, Ronson shows how severely things can be screwed up as the US is misdiagnosing diseases amongst other things. He learns that Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Childhood Bipolar Disorder are the most commonly misdiagnosed disease in America. Ronson believes that the push in diagnosing of diseases is due to society's push for conformity. People feel better about themselves if they have a label for whats wrong with then. He then gives a real life example, the death of a young girl, Rebecca Riley. She was often quieted with her bipolar medication, which her parents then overdosed her with one night as she couldn't fall asleep.
I'm glad that Ronson finally realizes in the last chapter what he's been doing all along. He realizes how dangerous it is to over analyze someone's common characteristics into a mental disorder, or in his case, psychopathy. I'm also glad that Ronson kind of stands up to Bob Hare and tells him whats up about the checklist and it's vagueness. I am kind of surprised, however, that many of the more popular and acknowledged psychiatrists value Hare's checklist as a very powerful tool. I agree with Ronson that most of psychology is guesswork. There really is no way to get inside someone's head and find out exactly what is wrong with them. Overall, I really liked this book. Ronson keeps things interesting by constantly providing new stories and though-provoking questions. I also still think it's really cool that Gary Maier lives in Madison.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chapters 8 and 9

In Chapter 9 of The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson begins to finally realize the true dangers of Bob Hare's psychopath checklist, as well as its relation to criminal profiling. As Hare and Ronson meet in a crowded hotel and stop in the bar for a few drinks. Ronson commented to Hare about how thinks the PCL-R could be misused as the whole world could become like witch-finders, and Hare agrees that he fears it is being misused. After meeting with Hare that night, Ronson decides to look for a man named Paul Britton, a criminal profiler. Britton's job was to assess the crimes and come up with the type of person who would commit such a crime. Britton was great at what he did, often perfectly profiling and catching many of the murderers in the crimes he assessed. But then in 1992, Britton profiled correctly, but it lead the police to the wrong killer, Colin Stagg, a man who fit the profile even better than the actually killer did. Both the police and Britton tried to force Stagg into a confession, through use of an undercover officer. Stagg was eventually arrested and later released as they caught the right killer, Robert Napper. After such a horrible guess, Britton lost his reputation.
I found these two chapters to be very difficult to follow. I was happy to see, however, that Ronson is beginning to realize how hazardous it can be to just go around labeling people as psychopaths. In chapter 8, I think it was obvious that David Shayler had some kind of mental illness, but I don't necessarily think that he is a psychopath. In chapter 9, I was upset to read how they "honey-trapped" Stagg. Even as Stagg persisted that he was not the killer, they tried to lure a confession out of him. It is not fair to put someone through that kind of trauma just because you believe they fit the description of a killer. I find this to be very disturbing as it happens all the time in the news. I don't know how the criminal justice systems so easily can lock up innocent people for 25+ years for crimes they didn't even commit.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Something Borrowed...

In Malcolm Gladwell's "Something Borrowed," Gladwell looks at plagiarizing as a question of whether plagiarizing is just about stealing someone's work or if its what and how much you steal. He gives a background story on Dorthy Lewis' first hand experiences with plagiarism, as her life is essentially plagiarized in the play Frozen written by Byrony Lavery. Gladwell tries to figure out why Lavery took parts of Dorthy's life and his profile, and after a discussion with her, realizes that she only thought of the information she incorporated as news, not parts of their actual lives. After the explanation, Gladwell felt both flattered and irritated. He also tries to further his understanding of plagiarism by talking with some music producers who explain to him that many artists "steal" each others works, but nobody owns sole custody of a music note. At the end of the piece, he realizes that old words put into new ideas aren't the problem, but if you're stealing with the intentions of putting them out as your own ideas, then that is what creates the issue.
At first I thought Gladwell was very anti-plagiarism. But then as the article went on, I got the sense that Gladwell became more accepting at not necessarily the idea of plagiarism, but with the concept of sharing ideas. I think that Gladwell and I share similar ideas on the act of plagiarism. It's not right to copy another person's ideas as your own, but if you are using them to help create your own ideas, then I think that is okay. I see why Lewis was upset about her life being copied and somewhat altered, but I don't understand why she didn't just go to talk to Lavery directly.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Night of the Living Dead & The Right Sort of Madness

Chapter 6 is a view of Ronson's quest in finding psychopaths, as he looks into Bob Hare's accusation that most CEOs are psychopaths, and his journey takes him to meet Al Dunlap. Shubuta, Mississippi is home to the old Sunbeam toaster company. Shubata is now virtually a ghost town that once had a thriving future. The old Sunbeam company had nearly six hundred workers. Ronson was able to receive a tour of the old company from its current occupant. Robert Buckley, an exuberant rich man who blew the company's money, first ran Sunbeam. Next came Paul Kazarian, a foul tempered boss who cared about his workers' rights.After Kazarian, Al Dunlap came into power at Sunbeam. He was notorious for closing many Scott tissue plants and feeling joy out of firing people. After Dunlap's reign at Sunbeam ended due to legal troubles, Dunlap agreed to pay $18.5 million dollars and promised to never head a company again. Ronson then travels to Florida to meet Dunlap, where he is amazed by Dunlap's vast collection of gold-plated objects and predatory animal sculptures, which Dunlap explains their spirits are what has helped him succeed. In the midst of their interview, Ronson tries to evaluate Dunlap using the psychopath checklist, many of which of the traits Dunlap denies having. After the meeting, Ronson checks back in with Bob Hare, and the two of them discuss the meeting with Dunlap.
I found Chapters six and seven to be very interesting, as they profiled influential company leaders as psychopaths. I thought it was bizarre that in chapter 6, Ronson puts great emphasis on Dunlap saying "If you want a friend, get a dog." After Dunlap first says this, Ronson explores all of the instances in which people have said similar phrases about friends and dogs. Next, in chapter 7, I thought it was really cool how the producer admitted to making fun of most of the people, and how most reality television shows try to focus on people who are mentally unstable or psychopathic. It's funny, also, how many people have caught on to the obsession of picking out psychopaths, as now Ronson's wife shares a similar habit.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Research Question?

Does advertising and media have an effect on eating disorders?

I chose to research this question because I find eating disorders to be very complicated so I believe there will be a lot of research available for eating disorders alone, as well as media's effect on it. Also, one of my cousins are currently suffering from an eating disorder, so I think it would be interesting to see if media played a role in the development of that. I would start to look for information by first defining what a eating disorder is, possibly the different types, and the common causes and effects of eating disorders. After I established those main points, I could start researching if media has an influence on eating disorders, if the way actors and models are portrayed give young people bad self-image? I believe that the possible answer to this question might be yes, young people do strive to look like what they see on TV, as it is "ideal." It would be interesting to research this topic for the whole world, because culture might have an effect on it's influence. One possible problem I might encounter would be is the change in body shape over time in media. Have people, perhaps, gained weight in order to look more like their favorite celebrity?
I might not be able to get a one hundred percent yes or no answer, but I feel like I will at least be able to see if media has even the littlest effect on young people and eating disorders.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Toto & Night of the Living Dead

Throughout chapter 5, Ronson continues his quest to determine what makes up a psychopath while constantly analyzing items on the Bob Hare Checklist, and also interviews Toto Constant. Chapter 5 begins place at Coxsackie Correctional Facility, a perplexing prison with no visible guards, no signs. Home to only one thousand prisoners, Ronson intends to interview just one, Emmanuel "Toto" Constant. As a back story, Ronson explains that in 1997, Toto was leader of a far right paramilitary group in Haiti, the FRAPH. The FRAPH terrorized supporters of left-wing president, Jean Bertrand Aristide. FRAPH was a vicious group, and as Toto as their leader, they killed hundreds of people ranging from ten to eighty years old. But then in October 1994, as Aristide was restored back into power, Toto fled to America. But soon after he was arrested and deported back to Haiti, Toto claimed that the CIA funded FRAPH. Out of fear, the U.S. released Toto and he was given a green card. Ronson remembers Toto fake crying in a past interview, and found it strange that he had to force remorse. During their Coxsackie interview, Ronson proposes to Toto that perhaps he is a psychopath. He ponders the question, was it because of malfunctioning relationship between the amygdala and the central nervous system? At the end of the chapter, Ronson comes up with the conclusion that maybe psychopaths don't understand whats going on emotionally, but they understand something important has happened.
Chapter four was a bit confusing as Ronson provided so much information on Bob Hare and his checklist, but the info was a nice background to the test and what it determines. Chapter five on the other hand was a different view of psychopaths as Ronson conducted an interview with Toto. I wonder though, is Ronson so preoccupied with who else is a psychopath because maybe his a psychopath himself? I also think Ronson and his fellow psychiatrists are too critical of the other people and constantly scrutinizing people to determine whether or not they're psychopaths.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Psychopaths Dream in Black and White..

In this chapter, Jon Ronson researched and reviewed all of the ways psychopaths could be "cured," mainly under the care of Elliot Baker. Elliot Barker used Paul Bindrim's concept of nude psychotherapy to strip the psychopaths both physically and emotionally. Baker used LSD in the first marathon nude psychotherapy session, where the patients became each others psychiatrists. When Baker took a leave of absence, a hippie named Gary Maier came in and took over, but was eventually asked to leave. It was believed that they were gentle psychopaths conspiring to spoil everything, while the psychiatrists were conspiring to spoil everything. Psychopaths are born the way they are, they dream in black and white, and generally they can't truly be cured.
I was very bewildered by this chapter. It confused me, but at the same time I found it to be quite interesting. Although I find the idea of naked psychotherapy very bizarre, I think it has really makes sense. If someone can be stripped down, it makes them a lot more vulnerable. I also found it pretty crazy to know Gary Maier now lives somewhere in Madison! A quote I saw in the reading caught my attention, "They're your personal property and you make them dance for you." This quote was about Elliot Barker's involvement in his treatment of the psychopath, but I think it struck me because of how true it is. It angered me a bit to see that these rapists and killers were let back into society after being "cured," as most of them went out to re-offend. I think if they're going to be let back out, they should all go to a place like Elliot's farm where they're able to live normal healthy lives without affecting others. Overall, I really liked this chapter! :)