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.

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