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.