Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ronson Chapter 6

In Chapter 6, Ronson investigates the Sunbeam plant in Shubata, Mississippi and is curious to see if former CEO Al Dunlap is a psychopath. Ronson talks to several people who knew him about his history with the company and hears that he is known for firing hundreds of people at the plant and seeming to enjoy it, eventually shutting the company down, and buying his way out of a lawsuit with a massive settlement. Ronson travels to Dunlap's mansion to interview him and find out if he passes the psychopath test. After revealing to Dunlap that he was questioning whether or not he is a psychopath, he proceeds to ask him other characteristics from Hare's checklist and Dunlap argues that the traits he embodies are simply characteristics necessary to being a successful businessman. Ronson is disappointed that Dunlap didn't exhibit some of the main psychopath characteristics such as juvenile delinquency, many marriages, and feeling no empathy because Dunlap claimed he cried when his dog died. Ronson meets up with Hare to discuss his findings and Hare reassures him that the characteristics that Dunlap is missing could still very well mean that he is a psychopath.

This chapter is interesting because Ronson is starting to seem very obsessed with finding psychopaths and a little too involved. I began to question the credibility of Hare's checklist because when Ronson and Hare discussed Ronson's interview with Dunlap, Hare seemed to have an excuse for every characteristic that Dunlap didn't have for how he might still be a psychopath. There seem to be a lot of loopholes in the checklist and it seems like anything someone does could somehow be considered a characteristic of psychopathy if you twist it one way or another, according to Hare and Ronson. They might be looking too far into what people are telling them. I am curious to see what happens later on in the book and if he ends up proving that the psychopath test works or if this is a point in the book where readers are supposed to feel like it doesn't seem completely credible.

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