Have you ever wondered what the line is between crazy or sane? Is there a way, a definitive test, that can tell for sure whether or not a person is crazy? If you take the time to study psychology and specifically the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, you are sure to find out that you can easily be diagnosed with some level and type of mental disorder. This line of questioning is what begins, in my opinion, one of the best TED talks I have viewed. In his speech, Answers to the Psychopath Test, writer and filmmaker Jon Ronson takes the listener on an amazing journey that explores the strange and maddening world of psychopathy.
Right from the beginning there are several ideas from the Communication: Principle for a Lifetime, textbook that overwhelm the listener, and add to the successful delivery of the speech. The first idea, even before Ronson begins speaking, is the use of attention-getting support material. The stage is a dimly lit bright red circle with Ronson standing in the middle. Behind him are two support assistants providing lighting, visual, and sound presentations. In big ominous letters on the wall behind Ronson are the initials DSM alluding to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual which he refers to in his opening.
Ronson's speech starts with a personal story intended to connect the listener, and shed some light on what got him thinking about the idea in the first place. In analyzing this first part of the speech, as described by authors Steven A. Beebe, Susan J. Beebe, and Diana K. Ivy in Communication: Principles for a Lifetime, Ronson's presentation type falls into the category of a presentation about ideas (Beebe 364). As he speaks he connects the listener to a short chronological history of the DSM, and explains how it has grown into a dangerous classification of society. While he is speaking, Ronson is careful in his use of hand gestures. At first, he brings the hands close to his face in a semi-symbolic expression of thought. He then uses this body language to slowly move his hand from a big circle to the front in a small circle, symbolizing a transition from anecdotal story to definition of topic.
While he is speaking the initial DSM lettering behind him is now replaced by animation characters, and low musical sequencing that support and bring to life his definitions and understanding of the ideas he is presenting. At the same time he is careful to keep the symbolic circling gestures of his hand close to his body, and when presenting a self diagnosis, opens his hand out to the listener as a symbolic gesture of giving.
Transitioning from the opening sequence, he then develops his idea by introducing his reaction to his questions and story. Ronson then introduces the process by which he appealed to a resource outside of the psychiatric world to get an opinion. The transition into who he went to for skeptical questioning was introduced by first, a mention of the meeting within the transition from his opening, and...