Monday, October 31, 2011

Something Borrowed

In the article "Something Borrowed" by Gladwell, Gladwell asks whether plagiarism examines the effect plagiarizing has on not only the person that stole a piece of work but the person that was stolen from.  He goes about this by describing the story of how his article recapping the life of a psychiatrist had been stole by Bryony Lavery in her Broadway play "Frozen."  He talks about how the author of this play incorporated pieces of her story from many different stories and articles she had read, and did not consider it stealing at the time.  She thought that Gladwell's articles had been purely news and that she was allowed to take his words.  The play had many similarities to the life of Dorothy Lewis, the psychiatrist that Gladwell had written about, and the similarities were glaring.  He also looked at how music can be related to plagiarism and how fine of a line there is between stealing and simply having a product with similarities. It's hard to say that one artists owns certain notes when so many different things could be made from those same notes.

I thought that this article really showed, not only how important it is to understand plagiarism, but how thin of a line there can be when defining plagiarism.  I had always known how complicated of a topic plagiarism was but I had never thought of it in the context of music.  I also never realized that someone like Lavery would be able to get away with something like that for so long when it is evident that the similarities were so obvious.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chapter 6 and 7

In chapter 7, it started out with Jon Ronson talking to a man named Adam Curtis.  They talked about how Jon Ronson was spending so much money and time inspecting Al Dunlap.  Adam Curtis said that Ronson is probably making Dunlap seem crazier than he actually is, "You take a little bit of craziness from up there, and a little bit of craziness from over there, and then you stitch it all back together." Ronson is kind of upset by this because Curtis was critiquing him, and also criticizes journalists and says that all they are doing is searching for "gems," crazy people.  This conversation makes Ronson rethink if Al Dunlap is actually crazy, but justifies that he is because any psychopath could score a zero on some parts of the psychopath checklist.  Next he talks to Charlotte Scott, who was an idealist who had tv shows about peoples many problems.  She talked about how her job dehumanized her to peoples problems and made her insensitive.  She had her own way of doing the Bob Hare checklist, she would ask what type of medication people were taking which would tell them if they were "just the right type of craziness." Ronson then told a story of a girl that went on Extreme Makeover.  Her whole family said on film that she was ugly and then the girl was cut from the show and no longer was going to become pretty.  It caused the family to have so many problems, and even resulted in an overdose and death

I thought that these two chapters were very interesting and kind of freaky.  They explored the type of psychopath that functions perfectly well in society and even runs important companies.  I also had never thought of reality television in the way that Ronson described it, and once he described it that way it fit perfectly.  Again these paragraphs shows how thin of a line there is between being sane and being insane.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

3rd blog!!!

What should the minimum punishment be for receiving a DUI and should this be enacted after the first offense?

I would really like to and be interested in studying if any states have strict minimal punishments laid out for drunk driving.  Driving under the influence is something that I have personally seen the negative effects of, and despite the efforts to make the negative effects more publicized, I think that there needs to be a law put in place that does more than give a ticket to someone who is driving under the influence.  I think I would start by looking up which, if any, states have strict and well known laws regarding this topic.  Then I would research any statistics that show if having strict policies lower the amount of DUI's or frequency of them.  I could also start by looking at how many accidents and/or fatalities there are yearly that involved a drunk driver.  I think that I will be able to give statistics that show just how dangerous it is to have drunk drivers on the road and how serious of a situation it is.  I also think that I will find information, even if it is statistics from another country, showing that having stricter punishments in line that people know straight forward, will lower the amount of drunk driving accidents.  Questions that may arise are: how harsh of a punishment is too harsh? Should each case be looked at separately/can you group all of the perpetrators in one group and give them all the same minimum punishment? Should these laws be the same for all age groups?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chapters 4 and 5:)

In the fourth chapter of Jon Ronson's book The Psychopath Test, Ronson further develops his knowledge of the characteristics of a psychopath.  He meets with Bob Hare, who studies psychopaths, and who came up with the psychopath checklist test.  Bob Hare describes many of his experiences with psychopaths.  One story he told explained how psychopaths don't feel pain.  Early on, Hare conducted a shock test, which was able to single out the psychopaths because they did not fear the shock that was coming to them, even after being shocked several times.  Hare also comes up with the psychopath checklist which was developed to be able to characterize and identify psychopaths.  Bob Hares teaches Ronson how to use and understand his test, and now Ronson will be able to use this and apply it to understanding Tony's situation.

Chapter 4 kind of freaked me out reading about the psychopath test.  I feel like many of the items on this list could be applied to many people in society, even if in a less serious case.  Chapter four made me realize that psychopaths may not be all that far away from regular people, which is kind of a scary thought.  I also found chapter 5 to be very interesting.  Toto was a very manipulative and at first was able to pretty easily fool Ronson into believing he was not a psychopaths.  The ability for psychopaths to make people believe them, even if it is not for long, is a very interesting and concerning thing.