Label had the opportunity to hear author Jon Ronson talk about his book The Psychopath Test at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham. The talented journalist and filmmaker combines comedy and reality to provide an in-depth study on psychopathy and insanity.
On October 4th, Jon Ronson walked onto the stage to loud applause. Talking about his book The Psychopath Test he mentioned that there are 374 different mental disorders and he joked that he had about “Twelve of them including anxiety disorder and nightmares.”
The Psychopath Test begins by focusing on the case study of a man named Tony. Tony faked a mental illness to avoid prison, and never managed to convince the institution he wasn’t insane after that. Ronson said “Faking madness is item eight on the checklist for Psychopathy.” Tony also showed a reluctance to interact with the other patients. Ronson commented, “Only in Broadmoor (the institution) would not wanting to hang out with serial killers be weird.” He also gave a couple of worrying statistics. One percent of the general public is a psychopath as well as four percent of CEOs and business leaders.
Speaking about interviewing Al Dunlap, a retired corporate executive, as a case for psychopathy he said “I asked him to go through a checklist under a giant oil painting of himself.” Grandiose sense of self-worth: check.
Ronson has had his fair share of interesting encounters. He was following up a story on individuals who dress up as heroes and who literally chase crime. “There was a gang of armed crack dealers, two superheroes and me in a cardigan.” Recalling the memory he said “I just nodded in agreement and hoped they remembered to shoot around me.”
Label asked Ronson whether he preferred documentaries or writing. “Documentaries are more fun because you’re travelling with more people but there’s a freedom to writing. If it deserves a big readership it will get it.” His new book Lost At Sea is a record of the best of his adventures meeting people. Some are hilarious, some are slightly worrying but they’re always fascinating.