Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sound Track of my Life!

"Where I'm From"- Jason Micheal Carroll

This song represents where I come from, and although it may not be any where special to other people, my hometown holds a big part of who I am. This song shows the values, school, and family life that I was apart of before college. This song will just never get old to me! :)

"Man! I Feel like a Woman!" - Shania Twain

Oh Shania! :) my childhood idol. This song reminds me so much of my childhood, as it was one of those songs that my whole family would listen to over and over again. Shania Twain is the only concert I have ever been too, and I was about 9 years old. This song was sung over and over for years and still to this day I play it on my iPod as if it was still at the top of the charts. For me, it's a family thing between my aunts, my cousins, my sister and my mom, and it will forever be on my life's soundtrack.

"Tonight" - Fm Static

I don't know what it is about this song. It just is I guess.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Research Practice!

"Together, these novels illustrate a tautology in the sense that in all classes of society women's feet became markers of their prestige, talent, and gender in a culture in which women's economic security depended upon marriage, and a good marriage was determined, in part, by the quality of the bound feet" (Susie 2007).

Susie, L. C. (2007). ". . .The binding altered not only my feet but my whole character":1 footbinding and first-world feminism in chinese american literature. Journal of Asian American Studies, 10(1), 31-II,115.

This source is an academic article that views chinese foot binding through Chinese American literature. In the past, I read a fictional novel that talks about foot binding and became very interested in the way it was portrayed. I'm not entirely sure as to whether the author of this article agrees with the ways foot binding is depicted in the particular novel I read, but I found that Susie (2007) makes many important comments on the types of ideas that I want to write about in my research paper. The specific quote above relates to the idea that foot binding was culturally seen as very prestigious and an important part of a woman in order for her to be married off. 

"Some scholars say footbinding deepened female subjugation by making women more dependent on their men folk, restricting their movements and enforcing their chastity, since women with bound feet were physically incapable of venturing far from their homes"(Lim 2007).

Lim, L. (2007, March 19). Painful memories for china. Retrieved from

This quote comes from and internet website, but I still think it is a primary source (I'll have to make sure). Anyway, it directly relates to the type of information that I am looking for in writing my research paper. The quote says that the binding of women's feet made them more dependent on men which relates directly to the cultural age of foot binding. The idea that women would not be able to run away shows that binding their feet almost created the sense of imprisonment of women. This is the type of research that I find very interesting and will play a big role in my research paper. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ronson: Chapters 10 & 11! The End!

In Chapter 10, "The Avoidable Death of Rebecca Riley," Ronson finally becomes aware of the riskiness of misdiagnosing mental disorders. The chapter starts with Ronson discussing the growth of the DSM and basically that it has turned into a joke because every possible behavior can diagnose some kind of mental disorder. With the popularity of the DSM on the rise, so many people were buying it and trying to diagnose themselves, which essentially benefited the drug companies. Although Spitzer, the creator of the DSM, believed in these disorders, Ronson makes it pretty clear that many of the so called "disorders" are a joke. This is seen in the case of Rebecca Riley. Many kids are being misdiagnosed with diseases like bipolar disorder just for being hyper children. The use of drugs just to keep kids from being annoying eventually leads to the death of Rebecca, and her parents are convicted of her murder for overdosing their daughter. 
After finishing the book, it has left me questioning the job of psychiatrist. It seems to me that they more or less guess as to whether a child, or anyone for that matter, has a mental disorder. With the DSM basically providing the means for anyone to be diagnosed, it is easy for them to find evidence for their diagnosis whether or not the evidence seems logical. Essentially, psychiatrists will never really know what one's "beetle" looks like, and it makes me upset that as a society we have done nothing to stop the labeling of people and the feeding of drugs as if they are candy. I'm shocked that this issue has never been brought up, and that the ambiguity of these "checklists" has never been seriously discussed. The idea of grey areas really brought me to question the world of psychiatry. At what point are psychologists guessing, because if I had to guess how many people fall into the grey areas, I would say pretty much the whole population. At the beginning of this book, I couldn't quite figure out the meaning or what Ronson was trying to say, but for me the last two chapters really validated his point and were my favorite to read. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chapter 8 and 9: Ronson

In chapter 8, "The Madness of David Shayler," Ronson talks about the idea of how everyone is always scared they're going mad, thus the media epics people who are just the right sort of mad and a bit madder that we are. Therefore, we become entertained by them because we know we're not as mad as they are. Ronson starts the chapter by telling a story about a woman named Rachel North, who was a victim in the Piccadilly line tube bombing on July 7. Although, she survived, 26 people from her train car were not as lucky. The aftermath left Rachel finding it very difficult to forget and move on, so she started a blog where other victims of the bombings could talk about their stories and experiences to help cope and support each other. However, Rachel began noticing unknown writers (conspiracy theorists) posting on the blog that they did not believe her story and that the "bombings" were essentially a hoax by the British government who wanted people to believe that it was terrorists bombings to hide the essential "manslaughter" due to an accidental power surge. Ronson talks about David Shayler, the main conspiracy theorist. North who is obviously upset and hurt that these people did not believe her story nor believe she was even a real person, planned to prove them wrong. When she attended one of their club meetings, she came across Shayler, a spy who was once a hero in the eyes of the British, but was now known more for his conspiracy theories. Ronson then goes to interview Shayler where he essentially reiterated the fact that Shayler is crazy and messed up. The chapter ends with Ronson's idea that people like Shayler are the right sort of mad that leave the "regular" people relieved in knowing that they aren't as mad as him. 

I totally agree with Ronson's statement that the media epics people who are just the right sort of mad, and I found the end of chapter 8 to be extremely interesting. Particularly, his statement that, "When we serve up the crazy people, we were showing the public what they shouldn't be like....Maybe it was the trying so hard to be normal that was making everyone so afraid they were going crazy." This, to me, has summed up a lot of what the book has been about, hopefully I'm not too far off in thinking this. I think that the checklist also plays a role in this, especially when being administered to someone who knows they are being tested. They try so hard to be normal, that it ends up creating this fear and idea that they are actually going crazy. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Something Borrowed!

In Malcolm Gladwell's essay, "Something Borrowed," he discusses plagiarism and considers what is copied and how much is copied to determine the legality of the situation. Gladwell questions when it is wrong to borrow. The main topic that Gladwell focuses on is about a play called "Frozen" written by a Byrony Lavery, who essentially steals the identity of a real person and portrays it in the play. Dorothy Lewis, a psychiatrist that has studied and worked with serial killers for over 25 years, hears of the play from many friends that all essentially tell her that she must see the play. In reading the script, Lewis finds that her "life" was stolen and written in the form of the play "Frozen." Then, Gladwell discusses plagiarism in the music industry. He found that many artists are upset when they hear similar note sequences in other artists' work; however, this isn't really considered plagiarism because the notes are essentially not owned by anyone because many people may copy someone but not realize they are doing it due to limited note choice, etc. Thus, Gladwell uses this music analysis to try and comprehend whether Lavery's play "Frozen" could be considered plagiarism even though she made it into her own story. All in all, Gladwell questions what constitutes plagiarism, and takes into account that words will be used over and over again without any knowledge of them being used before.

In reading this article, I found myself questioning whether I actually understand what Gladwell is trying to say. At one point I thought he was saying that plagiarism isn't necessarily a one note thing, and that there can be many exceptions to the rule, as seen in the music example. Before reading this, I would have argued that any type of copying or borrowing of material would be considered plagiarism unless properly cited; however, I feel like this article contradicts many of the things I thought about plagiarism. Honestly, I just feel confused, and I don't know whether Gladwell says its okay to "plagiarize" or not okay, or what the special cases there are. Just confused.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chapter 6 and 7!

In chapter 6, "Night of the Living Dead," Ronson visits Shubuta, Mississippi, a dying down due to the closing of the Sunbeam, a local plant, that made toasters. After many thriving years, the plant was drug down by a series of CEO's, most notably however, was Al Dunlap, the last CEO of Sunbeam. Essentially, he was the reason for the plant's failure. He was a ruthless man who fired his employees out of pure enjoyment. A psychopath, you ask? Well, that is exactly what Ronson wonders about the Mr. Al Dunlap. After learning of Dunlap and his tactics as a CEO, Ronson visits his mansion in Florida. When Ronson first arrives at the luxurious mansion, he notices the collection of "predatory animal" statues located throughout the house. These statues and self portraits were the first indicator to Ronson of Dunlap's psychopathic ways, and the Hare Checklist is put to the test once again. Scoring high on the majority of the checklist, Dunlap defended himself by saying that his "psychopathic" traits were being misinterpreted. According to Dunlap, his traits reflect that of a leader, and was so convincing that Ronson was unsure as to whether or not he was actually a psychopath. In confusion, Ronson then visits Bob Hare who clarified to Ronson that one doesn't have to score high on all characteristics of the checklist in order to be a psychopath.

In response to both chapter 6 and 7, I was intrigued by the number of CEOs that were psychopaths, and I found it very interesting yet disturbing how television has been formulated to create "entertainment." I always knew that T.V. was fake, but I can't believe the way that shows like Extreme Makeover treat people. Also, in chapter 6, I found that Al Dunlap's way of portraying himself as a positive and influential leader was very interesting. Like Ronson, I thought he was very convincing, but in the end all signs pointed to him essentially being a psychopath.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Research Question

How has Chinese culture defined women over time?

In high school, I read a book titled Snowflower and the Secret Fan, and it got me really interested in how gender is viewed in China, specifically in women. With some background knowledge on the subject, I knew that there would be many areas to research. Because I'm so interested in the subject, it would be much easier to write 10 pages of information on it than something that has no interest to me. Also, I know some of the ways women were subjected in the past, but I am unfamiliar with what has changed and why.  To start, I would probably talk about the violent history of women in a Chinese culture that preached male preference. I expect to talk about the ways in which Chinese culture surprised women. For example foot binding, arranged marriages, etc. When it comes to what caused the change, (I'm expecting that there has been some sort of change in these beliefs) I'm guessing that modern culture and society has had a big influence, as well and modern ethics and morality. I'm not sure what types of problems may arise, but essentially, I just find this topic extremely intriguing and it's something I genuinely want to learn more about.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Psychopath Test (Blog 2)

In chapter 4 of the Psychopath Test, John Ronson introduces his readers to the idea of how to detect a psychopath and the man behind the detection. Bob Hare created a list known as the PCL-R checklist. This checklist is what psychologist use to determine whether or not someone is a psychopath; the same test used to diagnose Tony at Broadmoor. By performing test like electric shock, Bob Hare could weed out the psychopaths from the non-psychopths. To do so, the individuals who showed no fear or anxiety prior to the shock were labeled psychopaths. By attending one of Hare's costly conferences, Ronson learned about these tests as well as the PCL-R checklist itself. Ronson finds himself very fascinated with the checklist and thinks of himself as an expert psychopath detecter. In chapter 5, we see Ronson putting his skills to the test by using the checklist to determine whether or not Toto is a true psychopath. Ronson also learns that psychopaths are often the people that one would least expect, like those who have a lot of power.

Oddly enough, I was pretty fascinated by these two chapters. Practically the entire time I was reading,  I found myself performing the checklist on myself. Obviously, I don't think I am a psychopath and was reassured by one of the psychologists that if I was questioning myself, then I wasn't a psychopath. The checklist is just so interesting that I think it forces us to question ourselves, much like what Ronson was doing during chapter 4. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Psychopaths Dream in Black-and-White"

In chapter 3, Ronson enlightens his readers by revealing a new type of therapy that psychiatrists use to ultimately "cure" psychopaths and schizophrenics. Under the care of psychiatrist, Elliot Barker, the psychopaths are subjected to an epic 11 day, raw, nude, LSD-fueled physchotherapy session in order to "work through their madness." Inside the capsule, psychopaths at Oak Ridge would undergo a natural course of intervention or as Ronson would say, "a mass LSD trip," thus allowing their madness to burn itself out. Once, successfully cured, Ronson studied some of the former psychopaths who were released from Oak Ridge. His research showed that there was a very high rate, almost 80%, of the "cured" psychopaths that re-offended showing that Elliot's treatment methods were not successful. 

I found this chapter to be very interesting, yet creepy in many senses. It definitely kept my interest at all times; however, I found it difficult to relate and understand the exact emotions of the psychopaths, for obvious reasons. The idea of nude therapy sessions was extremely bizarre and a technique that I never knew existed. Near the end of the chapter, I was pretty surprised at the amount of re-offenders and their specific reasons for re-offending. I think those reasons, for example Woodcock's reasons, was something I didn't expect, but I felt that maybe that kind of behavior is what makes them a psychopath to begin with. This chapter definitely proved that psychopaths have no empathy and are not remorseful at all.