Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ronson- Ch 8 & 9

          Chapter 8, “The Madness of David Shayler,” describes how society selects the “right” kind of madness for entertainment, such as in the case of David Shayler, to inform people what not to be like. Ronson begins by telling the story of Rachel North and the explosion on the Piccadilly line tube on July 7, 2005. 26 people died in Rachel’s carriage alone, and there were four bombs in all. Rachel found that writing about her experience in a blog helped her heal, in a way, and other survivors of the accident found her blog online and contacted her. However, conspiracy theorists claimed that Rachel North did not actually exist and that the government invented her to make the British people believe that a terrorist attack had happened instead of an accidental power surge. Once of these conspiracy theorists was David Shayler, an MI5 spy, who became famous for being on the run after he told Mail on Sunday secret information about an attempted assassination. Initially, Shayler was somewhat of a hero to the people of Britain, but he eventually became infamous for his conspiracy theorist views on the 7/7 bombing, 9/11, and believing that he was the Messiah. Shayler went from being somewhat interesting because of his views to completely crazy in the eyes of the people. Ronson interviewed him multiple times and found on his last visit that Shayler was still quite mad. The chapter ends with Ronson mentioning that there are different types of “madness,” and London society chooses the type of madness that they deem interesting and acceptable in society and rejects those who seem too extreme in their madness.

            I didn’t really see how this chapter related to psychopathy like the other chapters. It involved madness, but I didn’t know if Ronson was implying that Shayler was a psychopath or if he was just adding madness to the mix of psychological disorders that plague his anxiety. Chapter 9 was also a bit confusing because of Briton’s profiling history, but the parts where Hare and Ronson discuss the Psychopath Checklist in relation to falsely accusing someone as a psychopath or murderer eventually made more sense by the end of the chaper.

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