Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chapter 3!!!

In this chapter Jon Ronson provides a large amount of detailed information about the work done by Elliot Barker.  Most of the chapter took place in Oak Park, which was a mental hospital for psychopaths.  This is the hospital that Barker did his work.  Elliot Barker, and later Gary Maier, tried using a new type of therapy on his patients that he had learned from psychotherapist Paul Bindrim.  This type of therapy included the patients sitting naked in a room for several hours.  By the end of this therapy, the patients were thought to be better people.  This chapter also discussed psychopaths verse people who were sane.  If left in a room with a mix of normal people and psychopaths, the normal people were more likely to become insane than the insane were to become normal.  This was seen in Barker's father, who had tried to help psychopaths but had instead went crazy himself.  At the end of this chapter Jon Ronson tells us how much of a failure this program was.  The psychopaths that were deemed cured and let go had gone on to do very terrible things. 

I thought that this was a very weird chapter.  I did not really understand how this type of therapy would help people, but at the same time I thought it was a very interesting concept that physical nakedness could lead to emotional nakedness and openness.  I also was very interested with the sections of the paper that talked about the power of psychotic behaviors.  I find it very troubling to think that such a small population of psychopaths could potentially have such a strong influence over society as a whole.