In chapter 7 of The Psychopath Test, Ronson recalls a conversation he once had with a friend named Adam Curtis, who believes that journalists create stories out of fragments. Ronson wonders what other methods exist for finding “gems”. This leads him to a woman named Charlotte Scott, who worked on various reality TV shows that centered on broken families and twisted relationships. Her job was to find candidates who were “the right sort of madness”; and the way she did this was by finding out what type of medication they were on. For example, people on Prozac were “just mad enough” because they weren’t too depressed, yet were depressed enough to seek help. The risky side to this method, however, was that it often toyed with people’s families, including their children, and resulted in destroyed family lives, and even in some cases suicide. After hearing the stories of Charlotte Scott, Ronson concludes that his method is much better than hers.
What I liked most about these chapters, was how the characters mentioned each referenced something that I’ve seen or heard about it my daily life. For example, I thought it was interesting to hear about Charlotte Scott’s involvement with the shows like Jerry Springer, Wife Swap, and Extreme Makeover– shows that I watch! It was almost like a “behind-the-scenes” look at what goes on in the making of them. I guess I never really thought about how much these families are impacted all in the name of entertainment.