Finished The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, the offbeat journalist who also wrote "Them: Adventures with Extremists" and "The Men Who Stare at Goats". Ronson looks at how psychopaths are diagnosed, meets an alleged psychopaths in Broadmoor who wants to be released, takes a course in identifying psychopaths, then starts trying to apply it. Towards the end of the book he expand the topic to look at how psychological conditions of all kind are diagnosed.
Pretty interesting book, written in his usual self-deprecating style. It's also thought-provoking as to which of the people he meets can be classed as psychopaths. However, the book doesn't really scratch the surface of the main issue where psychology has moved from a category view to a spectrum view, where many mental illnesses are regarded as being the extreme ends of a spectrum of traits we all possess to varying degrees.
Worth a look if you like his stuff, but not unmissable.
Jon Ronson TED talk (unwatched).
Latest Teaching Company course was Plato, Socrates and the Dialogues by Michael Sugrue. Good overview of the dialogues, how they work and why they matter. Observes quite a few things that I hadn't noticed, and gives useful pointers of things to look out for. For instance, moving up/down metaphors are important, whenever Plato mentions mathematics he's seeking or referring to ultimate certainty, the sun as a metaphor. Not totally convinced about the theory that Socrates is supposed to be a new Odysseus.
It's well worth accompanying the Dialogues with something like this. I think there's too much irony and too many cultural references for the dialogues to be really intelligible to a modern person without much preparation. E.g. if you don't know that Alcibiades was a much-reviled traitor, you just don't know to be suspicious of anything he says.
Overall, informative and well-presented, worth a listen.
What I'm Watching
Saw The Crazies on DVD. 2010 remake of the George Romero movie, where inhabitants of a small town are driven violently insane.
Pretty good, proficient action-horror. There are some nicely paranoid moments as you're not sure who's getting crazy when. Does get a bit more formulaic towards the end, as things get more like a standard zombie movie, and he overdoes the tied-down-and-helpless trope that worked really well at the start.
Overall, decent genre movie.
Had two job interviews for different jobs last week (I'm losing my job some point). Haven't heard back from one. The other has led to another interview on Monday, where I have to give a short presentation on a researched topic. Finding it a bit stressful and time-consuming coping with two processes at once, but good to get some interview practice in.
Socioeconomics. Cameron's consistent error.
For much of its history, misogyny was not the style of the party of Lincoln. For most of the twentieth century, the GOP was ahead of the curve in bestowing women’s rights. When the Nineteenth Amendment granting suffrage was ratified in 1920, roughly three-quarters of the 36 state legislatures that did so were controlled by Republicans. In 1940, the GOP mandated that women be equally represented in its national and executive committees—a standard not imposed by the Democrats until more than three decades later.Articles. The invention of the shoelace and collapse of the shoe-buckle industry. New Yorker ponders Daily Mail. John Lanchester on Karl Marx. Christopher Priest complains about Clarke awards shortlist, via. 1944 advice on How to Pick the Right Girl.
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