Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Psychopath Test Chapters 8 & 9

In chapter 8 of The Psychopath, Ronson begins the chapter by describing a series of events that occurred with a woman named Rachel North on July 7, 2005.  While on the line tube in North London one day, an explosion occurred in the carriage that Rachel was in, injuring and killing many of those around her.  Following this traumatic event, Rachel began blogging in an attempt to cope with what she had recently experienced.  However, this soon turned sour as a few conspiracy theorists began suggesting that Rachel was not a real person.  Rather, they argued that she was a fictional character invented by the British government and that the explosion had all been created by the government in order to cover up an accidental power surge.  Rachel’s irritation soon turned to rage as she grew tired of trying to prove her existence, and finally she decided to attend one of their meetings that was being held in a pub. There, she realized that the leader of group was actually a man whom she had previously admired named David Shayler.  Shayler was a former MI5 spy who received publicity for going on the run after passing secret information about his agency’s attempted assassination. He caught the public eye several more times over the years as he proclaimed his strange conspiracy views with the world regarding 7/7 and 9/11.  Though the public was at first intrigued with his ideas, they soon lost interest when he proclaimed to be the Messiah.  According to Ronson, this is because society is only interested in the right sort of mad – the kind of madness that’s just crazy enough that they fear of becoming it themselves.

I wasn’t particularly fond of the chapter 9 all that much, but I really liked chapter 8.  I have to admit that I chuckled to myself at some of things Ronson said and received several awkward looks from people in the quiet study room around me. For instance, I thought it was hilarious that he nonchalantly mentioned that he happened to be looking himself up on Google when he found out about Rachel North. His openly somewhat narcissistic attitude kills me. I love his writing style and I’d really be interested in reading some more of the other books he has written.

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