Jon Ronson is an award-winning writer and documentary maker. He is the author of many bestselling books, including Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie, Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries, The Psychopath Test, The Men Who Stare at Goats and Them: Adventures with Extremists. His first fictional screenplay, Frank, co-written with Peter Straughan, starred Michael Fassbender.
Read the first chapter from SO YOU'VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED
Watch Jon Ronson's TED Talk about the lives ruined as the result of high-profile social media shaming, based on his book So You...
We all like to think we're decent people, but all too often we get carried away on social media. Take the quiz and find out if you're...
Win a pair of tickets to hear Jon Ronson talk about the phenomenon of public shaming, the subject of his new book, So You've...
Them began as a book about different kinds of extremists, but after Jon had got to know some of them – Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen – he found that they had one oddly similar belief: that a tiny, shadowy elite rule the world from a secret room.
In Them, Jon sets out, with the help of the extremists, to locate that room. The journey is as creepy as it is comic, and along the way Jon is chased by men in dark glasses...
In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the US Army. Defying all known military practice – and indeed the laws of physics – they believed that a soldier could adopt a cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls, and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them.
They were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren’t joking. What’s more, they’re back and fighting George Bush’s War on...
Jon Ronson’s subjects have included people who believe that goats can be killed by the power of a really hard stare, and people who believe that the world is ruled by twelve-foot lizard-men. In Out of the Ordinary, a collection of his journalism from the Guardian, he turns his attention to irrational beliefs much closer to home, investigating the ways in which we sometimes manage to convince ourselves that all manner of lunacy makes perfect sense – mainstream...
In part one, read about the time Jon inadvertently made a lewd gesture to a passing fourteen-year-old girl late at night in the lobby of a country-house hotel. And about his burgeoning obsession with a new neighbour who refused to ask him what he did for a living, despite Jon’s constant dropping of intriguing hints. And about the embarrassment of being caught recycling small talk at a party.
In part two, read some of Jon’s longer stories, which explore manifestations of...
What if society wasn’t fundamentally rational, but was motivated by insanity? This thought sets Jon Ronson on an utterly compelling adventure into the world of madness.
Along the way, Jon meets psychopaths, those whose lives have been touched by madness and those whose job it is to diagnose it, including the influential psychologist who developed the Psychopath Test, from whom Jon learns the art of psychopath-spotting. A skill...
In 1979 a secret unit was established by the US Army. Defying all known military practice – and indeed the laws of physics – they believed that a soldier could adopt a cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls, and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them. They were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren’t joking. What’s more, they’re back and fighting the War on Terror. So unbelievable it has to be true – this is...
Jon Ronson has been on patrol with America’s real-life superheroes and to a UFO convention in the Nevada desert with Robbie Williams. He’s interviewed a robot and asked her if she has a soul. He’s travelled to the Alaskan theme town of North Pole (where every day is Christmas Day) to investigate a high school mass-murder plot. He’s met a man who tried to split the atom in his kitchen and another who’s preparing to welcome the aliens...
In the late 1980s Jon Ronson was the keyboard player in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band. Frank wore a big fake head. Nobody outside his inner circle knew his true identity. This became the subject of feverish speculation during his zenith years. Together, they rode relatively high. Then it all went wrong.
Twenty-five years later and Jon has co-written a movie, Frank, inspired by his time in this great and bizarre band. Frank is set for release in 2014, starring...
With an introduction by Russell Brand
What if a tiny, shadow elite rule the world from a secret room? In Them Jon Ronson sets out to find this room, with the help of the extremists – Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen – that believe in it. Along the way, he is chased by men in dark glasses, unmasked as a Jew in the middle of a Jihad training camp, and witnesses international CEOs and politicians participate in a bizarre...
From the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Psychopath Test, a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most underappreciated forces: shame.
'It's about the terror, isn't it?'
'The terror of what?' I said.
'The terror of being found out.'
For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting...
When Ronson wrote about the injustice of Justine Sacco’s trial by Twitter, he found that he too became a target of an internet witch hunt. How did we become unpaid shaming interns for companies that don’t care about us?
In December 2013 a PR woman called Justine Sacco tweeted to her 170 Twitter followers: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get Aids. Just kidding. I’m white!” The joke was intended to mock her own bubble of privilege, but while she slept on the plane Twitter took control of her life and dismantled it. She became the worldwide number one trending topic that night: “We are about to watch this Justine Sacco bitch get fired, in real time, before she even knows she’s being fired”, and “Everyone go report this cunt @justinesacco”, and so on, for a total of 100,000 tweets. Justine was fired, her reputation mangled. I recounted her story in my book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. The chapter was excerpted in the New York Times Magazine. I’ve been keeping a diary of what happened next.
Condemnation began hesitantly at first, a little uncertain, like a consensus waiting to form: “The article did nothing but bring her back into the spotlight when we’d all moved on,” somebody tweeted. “Her dad is a billionaire,” someone replied. “I’m not too worried about her.” (Her father isn’t a billionaire. He sells carpets.) “That tweet didn’t ruin her life,” someone added. “Justine Sacco has a new job. Give me a break already.”
Related: What happened when I confronted my cruellest troll
© Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2016. Photograph: Annie Kuster for the Guardian
Instagram superstar, comic, rapper ... and plagiarist, too? Meet Josh Ostrovsky, aka the Fat Jew
The internet sensation and now memoirist Josh Ostrovsky, aka the Fat Jew, is 15 minutes late to meet me, which is annoying because he’s actually chatting with a friend right outside this coffee shop window. He’s wearing a hoodie, novelty sunglasses and a gold necklace that reads “Life” in Hebrew. He’s a big man with a shaggy afro which, when he spends time on it, can be manipulated into a kind of unicorn’s horn. Today it’s not a horn. People recognise him. Passersby look impressed. We’re in an area of Brooklyn called Dumbo, and I’m sitting inside the cafe with two of his publicists, who insist on being present throughout the interview. It is all weirdly corporate, given that Ostrovsky’s an Instagram comedian; but last March, Time magazine named him one of the “30 most influential people on the internet”.
He started out as an entertainment reporter and a member of the rap group Team Facelift, but since 2013 Ostrovsky has become increasingly famous for his vastly successful memes and viral videos. On Instagram, as @thefatjewish, he has 6.4 million followers. Fans include Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Kanye West and millions of teenagers. Consequently, as Time explained, “brands have started to pay him for exposure to that audience”; these brands include Stella Artois, Burger King, Apple and Budweiser. Some of his videos are perceptive and funny: for example, when he staged a spinning class for homeless people on Citi Bikes that weren’t in use (“Indoor cycling is not available to everybody. I want the homeless people of New York to have really gorgeous bodies.”). When the Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer incurred the internet’s wrath for shooting a much-loved lion while big-game hunting in Zimbabwe, Ostrovsky posted on Instagram a photograph of the cowardly lion from The Wiz with the caption: “Going to start dressing like a Lion. That way cops know that if they kill me. White people will avenge me.”
I was one of the first people on the internet to sit in food. I never put my name to it or said “This is me”’
The experiences we do are what people wish they could do. Like riding around in a convertible with a llama in New York
At the end of the day I’m Jewish and pretty nice. I’m just trying to party
Related: 'Overnight, everything I loved was gone': the internet shaming of Lindsey Stone
© Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2016. Photograph: @thefatjewish
Mark Hogancamp nearly died after being jumped by five men in 2000. After waking from a coma with no memories, he developed an extraordinary coping device: he built a miniature town in his garden where he reimagines the horrors of war
Mark Hogancamp woke up one day in terrible pain in an unfamiliar room. His memory was gone. He looked up at the ceiling and tried to piece together what had happened. He knew it was 1984, he was in the navy and that this was Ibiza, but that was all he could work out. Maybe he had been beaten up and robbed the night before. How long had he been passed out? Eight hours?
There was a man standing over Hogancamp’s bed. “Do you know what year this is?” he asked Hogancamp.
© Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2016. Photograph: Mark Hogencamp © 2015 Mark Hogencamp/Artist Rights Society (ARS), NY
Tariq Ali, Johann Hari, Naomi Klein, Laurie Penny and Jon Ronson make joint statement criticising co-curator of Festival of Dangerous Ideas for including supporter of asylum policies on its board
• Naomi Klein and Tariq Ali attack festival co-curator over Australia’s asylum policy
Related: Naomi Klein and Tariq Ali attack festival host over Australia's asylum policy
We are thrilled to be in Australia this week for the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and are all greatly looking forward to our respective events at the Sydney Opera House.
Related: Naomi Klein tells Q&A: Australians should rise up in protest over Nauru detainees
© Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2016. Photograph: Putu Sayoga/Getty Images
The reality TV star and columnist mocks autism, but says her daughter is ‘on the spectrum’. She derides the ‘National Hotel Service’, but has epilepsy so severe it puts her in hospital. Is Katie Hopkins for real, asks Jon Ronson
Most people will do anything to avoid being hated, but Katie Hopkins seems to run frantically towards hatred. Take the 18 days of her life beginning on 29 March. She started with a series of tweets mocking depression: “UK has seen a 500% growth in anti-depressants since 1991. Like being bullied, being depressed is a fashionable thing to be… The ultimate passport to self-obsession.” A week later, she moved on to dementia: “1 in 4 hospital beds are taken up by someone with dementia. The National Hotel Service.”
Ten days after that, like a spree killer growing increasingly frenzied, she provoked an international incident. “Show me bodies floating in water… I still don’t care.” This is how her 17 April column for the Sun about migrants began. Migrants were “a plague of feral humans”, turning British towns into “festering sores”. And then: “Make no mistake, these migrants are like cockroaches… They are built to survive a nuclear bomb.” She suggested drilling holes in the bottom of their boats.
‘I know I’m stronger than most people I know.’
‘If people on Twitter say, “I’m going to stab her”, I don’t mind. That’s irrelevant nonsense’
Most of my outrageous things are an emphasised version of a real truth
'Most of my outrageous things are an emphasised version of a real truth'
© Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2016. Photograph: Bohdan Cap for the Guardian