Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Madness of David Shayler

           In “The Madness of David Shayler,” Ronson meets with David Shayler, a retired spy for an Islamic Fighting Group. After attempting to assassinate Muammar Gadhafi, he decided he didn’t want to be part of an agency involved in assassinations, and so he leaked information to a newspaper. He spent time in jail, was released, became a conspiracy theorist, and eventually convinced himself he was the Messiah. The biggest conspiracy theory that he believed in was that the 7/7 bombings on a London train didn’t really happen, that it was simply a power surge. This prompted Ronson to get involved with Rachel North, a survivor of the attacks. After the attacks she began to blog about her experience with terrorism; Shayler and his followers created a campaign that said everything her blog said was false and that she didn’t really exist, that it was multiple people writing under one name. Towards the end of the chapter, Ronson evaluates the different incidences of Shayler’s madness and how much attention from the media they gave him.
            I found these chapters to be really engaging and intriguing. When Ronson is meeting with Rachel North and he had to almost give her reassurance that she did in fact exist just showed how much Shayler’s accusations had affected her. I also found the end of the chapter really interesting when Ronson shows how each of Shayler’s stunts gained him varying amounts of media attention. And finally, when he finally discovers the right sort of madness, “Those that are just a bit madder than the madness we all fear.” In the chapter “Aiming a Bit High” I got a little confused as to what was going on with the story of Colin Stagg and the murder of a young woman. 

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