RE: Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics ( Lon gDraft)

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Wed Apr 25 2001 - 12:22:30 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics ( Lon gDraft)
    Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 12:22:30 +0100
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    > <Couldn 't it not be that what the media standards are concerned that
    > the double standard of the public plays a far more greater roll than we
    > expect !?
    > After all, the conflict between the public interest and what the public
    > really wants aren 't particularly compatible like you rightly write, but
    > are
    > in fact
          in contradiction which eachother.>

    Certainly what people say is acceptable, and what they then do can be very
    different things, which is important.

    On the other hand this issue of public interest versus what the public are
    interested in is a problematic distinction for me. If one sees these as
    contradictory, then what is the solution? Left to their own volition, the
    public tends to avoid serious issues and politics and what not, and favours
    escapism and entertainment (in very general terms of media use that is).
    so, the only way to get people to engage with their responsibilities as
    citizens (i.e. to be interested in politics etc.) is to coerce them or
    "educate' them in some way.

    But this can be highly ineffective. Making kids read Shakespeare in school
    is clearly an example fo this kind of thing- but does it make most people
    like Shakesspear and pursue his work after leaving school? Not at all (not
    in a general sense). But West Side Story is still a firm film favourite.

    I think we have to meet audiences half-way, and acknowledge that
    accomodating audiences' preferences needn't completely undermine civic
    culture. Leonardo di Caprio in 'Romeo and Juliet' (following my example)
    would be a good illustration here- movie stars, music video style, but
    dialogue taken directly from the play. Best of both worlds or worst of it?
    Similar arguments could be made about TV talk shows like Jerry Springer-
    exploitation of marginal groups for audience voyeurism, or vibrant forum for
    such groups to express their concerns in ways familiar to them and


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