Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Soundtrack to my Life

"Live Like You Were Dying"- Tim McGraw- This song is very personal to me because it was played repeatedly at my cousin, Kevin's, funeral last April when he passed away after a year and a half long battle with pancreatic cancer. I always thought this song was upbeat and gave a good message, but I never really thought to hard about it until I heard it at Kevin's funeral. When Kevin was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009 he decided to live every day to the very fullest since he knew he didn't have very much longer (just like the song). He accomplished some of the most amazing things and most importantly spread cancer awareness to numerous fire stations. Kevin was a firefighter, which was the likely cause of his cancer from breathing in all the smoke and debris. Every time I hear this song I think of Kevin and all the awesome things he accomplished when he was "living like he was dying" with no regrets and doing the things he always dreamed of doing. It inspires me to accomplish my dreams and to live every day to the fullest because you never know when it could be your last.

"All I Want For Christmas Is You"- Michael Buble- I am one of those people that only listen to Christmas music after Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Research Practice

"Tiger's story of repeated unsuccessful genital surgery is shocking, but not rare" (Preves, 2003, p. 31)

Preves, S. (2003). Intersex and identity: The contested self. Piscataway, NJ: Rutger's University Press

This is a book that it all about what it means to be intersex relating to hormones as well as the appearance of genitals. It contains a chapter that is solely on medical sex assignment. It seems like it will be very helpful for me as I am explaining the processes they have for cosmetic surgery. However, the book seems to hold a view that is against medical sex assignment and is for accepting who you are. The reasons I can tell this is because a few of the chapters titles are "Intersex Pride" and "Seeds of Change". Overall it will be helpful to give me background knowledge on this topic.

"In the majority of our sample of intersex adults the longterm outcome(of medical sex assignment) appears to be more favorable than some current rhetoric suggests" (Meyer-Bahlburg et al, 2004, p. 1618)

Meyer-Bahlburg et al. (2004) Attitudes of adult 46, XY intersex persons to clinical management policies.  The Journal of Urology, 171, 1615-1619.

This is an article that consists of a study that was done to find out the perspectives of people that had had medical sex assignment surgery. Their findings were that people felt positive about it, which is an opposing viewpoint of my last source. This article will give me something to compare the research that have a negative view on medical sex assignment. It will be very useful to me. It also seems pretty solid because people actually did research and it is published in a journal.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chapters 10 and 11

In chapter 10, The Avoidable Death of Rebecca Riley, in Jon Ronson's book The Psychopath Test, Ronson talks to the creators of the evolving DSM checklists and discusses the views that psychiatrists and the rest of the population has on the checklists. Ronson first sits down and talks with Robert Spitzer. Spitzer was fascinated with classifying people because he saw his mom see different psychoanalysis to try to figure out what was wrong with her, but they never could. So he created the first DSM that was just 65 pages and could classify people to different disorders. Spitzer started to take different ideas from numerous other psychiatrists and they kept adding to the DSM collection to the point that pretty much every person with a little behavioral problem was classified to some disorder. The effects of the new DSM was that much more medications were selling because people thought they needed drugs to treat their problems, therefore the drug industry was booming. Some people, like Gary Maier, believe that we are diagnosing too many people with disorders and medicating people too quickly. Spitzer has started to realize toward the end of the chapter that maybe the DSM suggests too many people have disorders when they are really reflecting normal behavior.

These chapters made me very upset! I think it might have been because I just got done taking a sociology test that sort of relates to this chapter. The book is talking about diagnosing people with mental illness, which is basically all guessing, and our whole sociology test was based on people's theories, that aren't even true for everyone. People everywhere are trying to understand how the brain works and if the beetle is really in the box. Well i don't think anyone will every really know what is going on so why don't they stop trying? Maybe it is all a way to create more jobs and get more money circulating in the economy. If people think they have a mental illness, they will think they need to see a psychiatrist, and the psychiatrist is getting paid, and probably going to refer them to get drugs. The drugs will be purchased from the pharmacist generating more money in the economy. Before the psychopath tests or DSM tests were around people were just fine, granted some people really do have cognitive disabilities. But people are making up the strangest disorders, like picking your nose. So overall I guess I just don't understand what a psychopath really is and I think there should somehow be a level of madness they need to surpass before they can be incarcerated or put on medication.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chapters 8 and 9

Jon Ronson, in chapter 8 of The Psychopath Test, examines the different episodes of madness from David Shayler to tell which episode was the "right sort of madness" according to the media. The first episode examined was the bombing of the carriage on July 7th. David Shayler was convinced that this bombing never happened. When a passenger of this carriage, Rachel North, expressed her turmoil in response to this event he didn't believe that Rachel even existed. He was convinced that people were making up this occurrence under her name on the internet and trying to make people believe the bombing happened through pictures and blog posts. Even when Rachel presented herself to David he still didn't believe her. The second episode was that he believed 9/11 didn't happen and it was just the United States putting on the whole attack. His third episode was that he claimed he was the Messiah and that everyone should follow him if they want eternal life. The episode out of these three that was covered most extensively by the media was his belief that 9/11 never happened. The media had established that David exhibited the "right sort of madness" that is interesting to viewers because they like to see people that are more mad than they are in order to classify themselves as normal.

I thought these two paragraphs were quite funny because they were so absurd. In chapter 8 it showed the crazy thoughts of David Shayler and how the media covered those thoughts. The only thing i was questioning was whether his thoughts on the 9/11 attacks were just covered more because it was a much bigger event that affected more people or if it really was because that was deemed "the right sort of crazy". This chapter also made me think about how the world kind of feeds off of other people's madness. For example, people watch the crazy people on shows, like Jersey Shore and Wifeswap, and it makes them feel better about their own lives because they aren't as crazy as these people are or have as many problems as the people on TV do. As I read chapter nine I felt myself sort of get annoyed with Bob Hare and how he just calls everyone a psychopath. The concierge just yelled at Jon Ronson for using his phone and Bob thought the was a psychopath. I also felt bad for Colin Stagg because he didn't even have anything to do with the murder, but he was getting interrogated by an undercover policewoman for being a witness just because he fit the qualifications of a murderer according to Paul Britton. I just don't understand how that can happen to a person without any substantial evidence supporting his belief of Stagg being the murderer.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Something Borrowed

In "Something Borrowed", Malcolm Gladwell asks whether plagiarism charges should ruin someone's life by describing a personal story about the plagiarism of the Broadway play "Frozen" by Bryony Lavery. The play was about a psychiatrist that studied serial killers. It turns out that Lavery had taken much of what was put into the play from a profile done by Gladwell about a psychiatrist named Dorothy Lewis. Gladwell continues to describe different situations in which 'copying' is okay and when it is not okay. He describes that if a few chords in a song are similar it isn't considered plagiarism because the original piece wasn't necessarily the first piece to ever contain those chords. Gladwell explains that the line is fuzzy when trying to determine when music is being plagiarized, but for writers it is never okay to copy someone else's work. When referring to the play "Frozen", Gladwell explains that reference needs to be given to the original author of the information because it was them that came up with these creative ideas. Dorothy Lewis was also offended by this because the play was basically on her life and people recognized that, and then there were scenes in the play where her character committed things that Dorothy had never done, like having an affair. Even after all this hardship was caused over Lavery plagiarizing Gladwell's work and Dorothy's life, Gladwell realizes that it isn't the end of the world and Lavery had purely plagiarized by accident.

I thought this article was very interesting and I didn't realize that some of these things were considered plagiarism. I can understand where Gladwell is coming from in this piece as he describes his frustration and then later comes to terms that it is okay. I would be very upset if phrases that I had used ended up in a Broadway play without any attribution to me at all. However, I can understand where Lavery is coming from when she exclaims that her creativity just went loose while she was reading Dorothy's profile and she didn't realize that it was considered plagiarism to use the personality traits in the play. I also feel like stuff like this happens all the time. Students use little phrases from articles and books all the time without making any reference to the author, but because this play was on Broadway and the media was attracted to it, it became a huge ordeal. So I think this piece has made me more aware of what information I am taking out of other sources and made me realize that I need to give attribution to who really came up with the ideas.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chapters 6 and 7

In Chapter 7, "The Right Sort of Madness", in Jon Ronson's book, The Psychopath Test, analyzed the way he had been choosing the interviewees for his book by talking to a woman that has worked in TV production named, Charlotte Scott. Scott was on the writing committee for multiple TV shows and worked with choosing the people to go on the shows. The people she needed to find were people that were "just mad enough" for entertainment purposes. She explained her process of finding mad people was to ask the people who were applying what medications they were on. If the person was on prozac then that meant to her that the person was just mad enough because it showed they were depressed enough to show they needed help. She couldn't put people that were too mad in these reality situations and mess with people's lives, especially children. She explained how choosing people that were too mad could cause horrible situations, such as suicide. So Jon Ronson realized as he left Charlotte that his method of finding a "gem" psychopath was much safer and less harmful.

Chapter 6 and 7 were very interesting to me because they investigated a new type of psychopath, one that hasn't been caught and is living amongst us and running corporate companies. I also find it interesting that the people that are psychopath living in society fit Bob Hare's list of characteristics as well. For example, Al Dunlap demonstrated characteristics of predator prey by having numerous lion and tiger sculptures. But then Jon Ronson mentions in chapter 7 that some of the characteristics Al displayed weren't at all psychopathic, such as his great efforts to succeed in school when he was young and that he went to a very prestigious school. So anyone around us here at UW-Madison could turn into a psychopath at any moment.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

3rd Blog Assignment

Does cosmetic surgery of the genitals done in infancy have a positive affect on intersex individuals?

This question seems like it would be very interesting to research because it's a topic that not a whole lot of people know about. It is also quite controversial because there have been so many people who have suffered because of their reconstructed genitalia. Therefore, much of the information that I would find on this topic would be pathos, forcing emotion on people. I could start looking for answers by first finding statistics on the satisfaction of intersex individuals on their cosmetic surgery, and then find out the source of the statistics. The primary sources that would be most helpful would probably be case studies of different individuals from a random sample of intersex people. The answers in these sources would probably be life stories about someone that has had surgery or the findings after analyzing the data from the a case study. A question that I might like to answer would be: How is life like for intersex individuals that didn't have reconstructive surgery? I would really need to find information on the positive affects and negative affects. I might have trouble finding information on the positive affects of cosmetic surgery of the genitals because the people that have been negatively affects have more of an opinion on the issue and are much more vocal about it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Psychopath Test. Chapter 4

In chapter 4, "The Psychopath Test", in Jon Ronson's book, The Psychopath Test, Ronson describes the process he went through with Bob Hare in order to understand the characteristics of a psychopath and how to detect them in society. Bob Hare starts out by telling Ronson about his early discoveries with shock testing. These shock tests could determine if someone was a psychopath because they wouldn't show any fear leading up to the shock and would not be expecting the pain even the second time he told them it was coming. When electric shocks were outlawed Hare held a conference for people who were interested in identifying psychopaths so they could put together a list of criteria that would characterize someone as a psychopath. They came up with the Hare PCL-R Checklist. Hare then taught Ronson how to use the checklist by looking at numerous case studies and identifying the characteristics that classified someone as a psychopath. Jon Ronson will now use the information that Hare taught him about identifying psychopaths to his quest, but he has to be careful because he can't trust anyone.

Chapters 4 and 5 were also quite interesting sections in The Psychopath Test. I was wondering if the list that Bob Hare describes in chapter 4 that he created to identify a psychopath is universally used by doctors and psychiatrist to diagnose a psychopath. I also find it interesting that as Jon is learning about these traits of a psychopath that he is questioning his own self and wonders, at times, if he is a psychopath. In chapter 5 I find it very interesting that the people know that Toto did all those murderous acts in Haiti, but yet they just sent him to Queens without any real punishment. Toto also demonstrates the same behaviors as the psychopaths from Oak Ridge because he fakes to try to get out of this institution.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Psychopaths Dream in Black and White

         In chapter 3 of Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test entitled "Psychopaths Dream in Black and White", Jon Ronson tells of his journey through the studies of Elliot Barker to answer the question: How could psychopaths be cured? Elliot Barker was a psychiatrist in the 60's that took a year long trip to explore the diverse therapeutic communities. From each place that Barker visited he took a little bit of therapeutic techniques with him. Until he came to the Oak Ridge hospital in Ontario for the criminally insane patients, where he put all his findings into action. He set up "The Capsule", which was a room where patients were secured, completely naked and required to talk about their feelings. This capsule appeared to heal these psychopaths that were held in Oak Ridge, and in time they were released back into society. Almost immediately after being released these psychopaths went right back to committing crimes, such as rape and murder, once again. This technique of curing psychopathic behaviors created by Elliot Barker turned out to be an aid to these criminally insane patients, teaching them to manipulate themselves to act normal.

         This chapter was very interesting because of the fact that the whole time they explained a process that was developed to end psychopathic behavior by sitting in a room naked with other psychopaths, but then at the end it was decided that this process didn't help at all and actually taught criminals how to manipulate themselves even more. Another part of this chapter that was interesting to me was the descriptions of Kingsley Hall. I was extremely baffled while Ronson was talking to Adrian Laing about how different one schizophrenic can be from another. He described the room of one schizophrenic to be adorned with silk drapery and costumes compared to another schizophrenic patient who was kept in the basement where they smeared feces all over the walls. I thought these two patients seemed on two opposite sides of the spectrum, but then i realized that they both were actually very similar, in that they both were very creative. Each schizophrenic just expressed their creativity differently. The differences of symptoms in 2 very similar diagnosis is something that intrigues me and I want to learn more!