Monday, October 31, 2011

Summary of Something Borrowed by Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell's main point in "Something Borrowed" is that taking someone else's ideas/ words is wrong. He supports his ideas by telling stories that correlate to taking other people's things, such as ideas, picnic tables, and song melodies. The primary story focused on was of Dorothy Lewis and how her life was switched around to be incorporated in a Broadway play called "Frozen."She was asked to do a talk-back for the play and realize that it had stole aspects of her life without permission. She felt upset and violated. The author of "Frozen" took stories from the new and other sources, such as Lewis' book, to make up the plot of her play. She didn't think it was wrong because she considered it news, and therefore, available to the public. Later, she realized what she did was wrong and apologized, along with some legal transactions. Another example Gladwell used was the Beastie Boy's song "Pass the Mic." The Beastie Boy's used a musical segment without asking for permission from the artist. Gladwell also pointed out that Beethoven's da-da-da-daaaaa has been used over and over in other musical selections. Is this wrong? Gladwell observed that no person can own a segment of notes because it can technically be played in different chords or different speeds that make it different than before. However, stealing someone's words is plagiarism, especially when they are switched around, turning into a situation called slander. 
I agree with Gladwell. Songs are often replicated or similar with beats. With beats, or a segment of notes, the new artist doesn't need permission because no one can own the beats or notes. All artists get inspired by something, which eventually is portrayed in their final piece of work. However, artists only get in trouble if they take the words from the original artists mouth without permission. This is the same for book or ideas. It is called plagiarism. The authors or artist feel like something has been stolen from them, which it has. It is unfair for the new writer/ artist to take something that is apart of another's life, especially when it is turned to slander. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Chapter 6 "Night of the Living Dead" & Chapter 7 "The Right Sort of Madness" (Ronson (2011))


The main idea of chapter six, “Night of the Living Dead,” was to describe Al Dunlap as a psychopath. The chapter starts with John Ronson touring Shubuta, Mississippi. Shubuta was a small town kept alive by a Sunbeam company that made toasters; now, it is a dying town. Sunbeam had several horrible CEOs; Al Dunlap happened to be the last, shutting the plant down. Dunlap was hired by companies, such as Scott and Sunbeam, to fire employees and shut down businesses. Ronson visited Dunlap’s mansion in Florida to interview him and assess if he was a psychopath. Dunlap’s house was filled with statutes of predators, gold, and large pictures of himself. Dunlap scored high on the test, only missing traits such as promiscuous sexual behavior.  However, Dunlap referred to most of the psychopathic traits as Leadership Positives. Later, Ronson tells Hare about his interactions with Dunlap. Hare confirms and explains some of the points Ronson was confused about, such as Dunlap crying over his dog’s death. Ronson also interviewed an anonymous man, named “Jack” for the chapter, about Dunlap’s affair with business. Jack dug up research reports on Sunbeam. Ronson couldn’t understand the text and had the reports sent to the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies be explained. Ronson realized that in order to get away with power one has to be boring.

Both chapters were interesting. I agree with Ronson that Dunlap was a psychopath. Leaders can be ruthless; many have to be in order to make sacrifices for the betterment of their position. Dunlap’s theory on being Leadership Points is bogus. It does not prove that he is a better person because he believed he was being a leader. I have arguments for chapter seven, “The Right Sort of Madness.” If someone were emotionally unstable, why would someone endanger their lives by putting them on a TV show? Yes, the show has to go on, but it doesn’t have to jeopardize someone else’s well-being. If there are any medications involved, the person should be left alone, not toyed with. I know that this is the type of thing that still happens with TV shows, but it should be stopped. Corrupt people do not need the attention. They need help.

Does sex trafficking occur in the United States?

Tonight I attended a presentation by Mara Hvistendahl to gather FlexPoints for my Human Sexuality Class. Hvistendahl wrote a book called "Unnatural Selection: Sex Selection and Asia's 160 Million Missing Females." During her discussion, she mentioned that the unbalanced men to women ratio increased sex trafficking. I have heard about sex trafficking earlier and was interested but never did any further research. I assumed it only happened in Europe ("Taken" featuring Liam Neeson) and Asia.

When I returned to my dorm, I typed 'Sex Trafficking in the United States' into my Google search and my screen blew up with dozens of websites discussing just this. I was sort of shocked. American is suppose to be some sort of ideal country, but obviously its just as sketchy as other countries. Then questions started coursing though my brain. I want to know who does it, who are the targets, is it mostly female or are boys trafficked too, what is the market, who are the clients, is the government involved at all, are there any survivors, and so on.

My den is probably going to think I am some sort of sex fiend by taking Human Sexuality, writing on legalizing prostitution, and now this! I can't help it that it's interesting! Hopefully this will work for my paper. I'm super excited!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chapter 4 "The Psychopath Test" & Chapter 5 "Toto" (Ronson (2011))


“The Psychopath Test” main idea was learning and describing the psychopath test on which the book is based. Ronson contacted Bob Hare, an influential psychopath psychologist, and was introduced to Hare’s seminar about the checklist.  Ronson attended, though he was skeptical of the idea of a checklist to find psychopaths.  Before introducing the list, Hare discussed how he became interested and early findings of his career to Ronson. The checklist Hare formatted consisted of twenty common-characteristics of psychopaths. Hare used examples for his seminar including Woodcock, Karla Homolka, Jack Abbott, and Case Study H. Hare also used a gruesome face to explain to his crowd what psychopaths do not feel. While leaving the seminar, an accident happened outside the building. Ronson drives away, but begins to think he is a psychopath for not caring about what was going on; however, he was swerving all over the rode. Hare pointed out that he was affected by the accident and not a psychopath after all. Ronson felt empowered by his newly found knowledge and wanted to test it out, which leads the reader into Chapter 5 “Toto.” “Toto” is about Ronson’s first meeting and an interview with Toto Constant.

I was so happy to finally know what the checklist was! It was too suspenseful waiting to be introduced to it! I enjoyed how Martha Stout, one of the people Ronson interviewed, Ma addressed the reader. I was trying to assess myself, deciding if I was a psychopath or not. I like people to like me, just as Toto does. I have a tendency to appear fake to people I do not like instead of stating what I really think (Item 1: Glibness/ Superficial Charm.) I have manipulated my parents’ decisions many times (Item 5: Conning/ Manipulation.) I have impulses to buy things or eat treats because of a lack of control (Item 14: Impulsivity.) Am I a psychopath? No, I am not. Because I recognize that I am doing these actions and can reflect on them, I am not a psychopath. Thank goodness.