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. 

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