Sunday, October 30, 2011


In "Something Borrowed," Malcolm Gladwell tells his personal story involving plagiarism in a Broadway play, along with other cases of plagiarism throughout the music industry. Gladwell explains how he was shocked to find such similar quotes, references and scenes in the Broadway play, "Frozen" with the works of himself and Dorthy Lewis on serial killers. Gladwell says that words belong to who wrote them but also that words can have different meanings and contexts behind them. He asks the question of when somebody's work no longer belongs to them and where the line should be drawn with taking ideas, words, clothing styles, or music rifts. In some ways, someone copying another persons work can be a form a flattery and a compliment to ones' ideas. Gladwell also questions whether it is plagiarism if the same words are used but they are used to tell a different story. He considers taking ideas or music notes and twisting them to make them your own, a form of art creativity.  Plagiarism is quite a complex issue because there are so many people out in the world that it is highly unlikely that you are the only one that ever thought in a particular way, or played some notes on a piano, or wrote a freshman English paper on a controversial issue. There will always be a hazy line.

I enjoyed reading this piece. I actually looked up the songs that were referenced to see the comparison in the music. It blew my mind.  I realize that it would be very upsetting to see someone using all of your personal life stories or works of writing and research without asking your permission first, because you worked so hard on that research and findings and finding the write ways to word everything perfectly and then someone just comes and takes it as their own, after you did all the hard work? It would annoy me. I actually had someone in high school that would always ask me where I got my clothes or shoes or accessories and then the next week would come wearing something almost exactly as I just had. In a way, it is flattering because obviously someone likes the way you dress, or think or whatever. On the other hand, suddenly what you wore is no longer unique, or the idea you had for a Halloween costume, now suddenly everyone is wearing it. It is a very frustrating thing but in most cases, there is no way to say that YOU were the first one to ever have the idea.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Night of the Living Dead

In the sixth chapter of Jon Ronson's, The Psychopath Test, we are introduced to Al Dunlap. Al used to be the CEO of Sunbeam, a company that made toasters, and he quickly shut it down. Al was known for enjoying firing people and closing down plants. Jon went to meet Al Dunlap at his mansion in Florida. All over the mansion were statues of predator animals and large oil paintings of Al, his wife Judy, and their two German Shepard dogs.When Ronson went on to explain how being so successful and interested in the predatory spirit can be seen as psychopathic, Al seemed reluctant at first. He soon agreed to be asked about the personality traits. Al's responses were always business or leadership "positives." He never seemed to think any of these traits were bad. Although, Al was in a committed loving relationship for 41 years and had some sense of emotion, the other traits were scored very high.

Again, I find these chapters intriguing. I can vividly picture Al Dunlap's mansion with all the statues, paintings and gold. I wish I could go meet some of these people in person. The more and more I read this book, the more I am starting to believe that you could call anyone a psychopath if you really look in to things. The case with Charlotte, she had to find bookings for reality tv shows by listening to saddening stories. She eventually had to learn to get past those feelings of remorse. Even sharing the story of the boy who cut his wrists with her on the phone,m didn't seem too shocking to her. Is Charlotte a psychopath now cause she only care about her job and has no remorse or emotions? The more I think about it, I feel that a lot of the people I know are psychopathic .

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Research Topic

What effect does recycling have on our planet?
How can recycling benefit our planet and those who inhabit it?

This should be a simple question to answer. There are so many informative websites, books and organizations that promote recycling and helping "save" the planet. I have already looked into this topic and found valid sources and quality information about different form of recycling and the ways in which those help save natural resources, decrease landfills and reduce carbon emissions. I have a passion for learning more about the environment and how to help preserve what so many take for granted. My brother is a vegan, so his carbon footprint is by far smaller than mine. I seek to find other ways in which i can reduce my carbon footprint, such as recycling. There are so many recyclable items that many people don't even notice. My goal to to make these options more evident to people with little knowledge on recycling.

This could possibly be a hard task to accomplish, most people don't like to change their ways that they are currently set in.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Psychopath Test

In the fourth chapter of Jon Ronson's, "The Psychopath Test," we finally see exactly what the psychopath test entails. Bob Hare is the person of interest throughout the chapter. Bob created what is now the Hare PCL-R Checklist, this checklist consists of 20 behavioral characteristics in determining if someone qualifies as a psychopath. The electric shock test was mentioned often as a method in determining psychopaths and their brain anomaly compared to non-psychopaths. The same idea can be portrayed through a series of images where one is suddenly a gruesome picture. Non-psychopaths are shocked and disgusted by the photograph or the electric shock, while psychopaths feel no fear, guilt or remorse. They do not have consciences. Bob Hare also warned how psychopaths are everywhere,CEO's and politicians you see everyday. Martha Stout gave advice to Jon to tell wives of psychopaths to leave them, because you can't hurt someone who has no feelings. By the end of the course with Bob Hare, Jon Ronson could now spot psychopaths much easier and his skepticism was considerably lower.

I officially keep loving this book more and more. I honestly was getting kind of scared when reading about how certain things people say and do, go back to the Hare Checklist for psychopaths. I feel like I know a psychopath and I am sort of freaked out, a lot. I think I might trick them into taking a psychopath test and analyze their behaviors now, wow, I am a freak. The line that stuck out most for me while reading was on page 114 when Martha said, "...ninety-nine percent of us wandering around down here are having our lives pushed and pulled around by that psychopathic fraction up there." I also found it funny that Ronson was happy to know that something was in fact identifiably wrong with him. In the chapter, "Toto," I was so fascinated by how convincing Toto was that he was "normal?" Then, finding out the truth behind what he meant and everything just came together. I feel like I am a psychopath spotter now, Ha. If Echoes of my Silence (which is an awesome name for a memoir) is a real book, I am so reading it.