Monday, October 17, 2011

Chapters 6 & 7

            Chapter six of The Psychopath Test illustrates the influence of Al Dunlap, CEO of Sunbeam (among many other companies), on the once thriving town of Shubuta, Mississippi and depicts Ronson’s interview with Dunlap as he attempts to label Dunlap as a possible psychopath. Al Dunlap is known as a rich and powerful man who enjoys firing people from companies. He once fired a man who had worked at Scott for 30 years and asked the man why he would want to work somewhere that long. Ronson characterizes him as a psychopath because of his lack of empathy, as well as numerous other characteristics he possesses that parallel Bob Hare’s Psychopath Test checklist. For example, Dunlap’s mansion is full of statues and paintings of predators, showing that he is conning/manipulative. However, Dunlap thinks that all his negative qualities that should label him quite clearly as a psychopath are actually qualities of a leader. Ronson ends the chapter wondering if Dunlap really is a psychopath or if the people who supported him, such as the buyers of stocks, were the true villains.

            Chapter six was interesting because Ronson introduces people of power and wealth as psychopaths. This wasn’t particularly surprising to me because there are a lot of wealthy jerks out there, and since not all psychopaths are necessarily dangerous, Al Dunlap seems to fit the category perfectly. Although, I was somewhat confused as to whether or not Ronson believed him to be a true psychopath by the end of the chapter. Chapter seven fascinated me even more because of Charlotte Scott’s way of treating guests on TV shows as entertainment rather than people. It left me thinking that she was made into a psychopath through her work because of her eventual lack of empathy for the guests, but I’m pretty sure that that isn’t possible…. 

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