David and I spoke with Jon Ronson about his new book, Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries. Jon is the author of several first-person narrative books that David and I love: Them: Adventures with Extremists, The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, and The Men Who Stare at Goats, (which was made into a movie by George Clooney). If you are unfamiliar with Jon's work I recommend that you get your hands on every book he's written.
Lost at Sea collects 22 Guardian articles Jon's written over the years, and they are fascinating portraits of people and groups a few standard deviations away from the middle of the normalcy bell curve.
Subjects include: Insane Clown Posse and their announcement that they are born-again Christians who have encoded secret messages in their songs for the last decade, the billionaire transgender woman who invented satellite radio and her attempt to create a lifelike robot of her partner, the culture of Indigo Children, a British pop star's fascination with UFOs and aliens abductions, the contents of Stanley Kubrik's archival boxes, the tiny town of North Pole, Alaska, where Christmas is celebrated 365 days a year and where a group of high school students were caught trying to duplicate the Columbine high school massacre, a profile of Neuro-linguistic Programming co-creator Richard Bandler, a Children of God offshoot that donates kidneys as part of their religious practice, a profile of psychic Sylvia Browne, and many more stories. I was enthralled by every one.
David and I spoke to Jon last year on Gweek. Listen to that episode here.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.