RE: Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Tue May 01 2001 - 14:38:52 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics
    Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 14:38:52 +0100 
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    Hi Scott,

            <I'm not sure what you're saying here, but I have noticed soap opera
    > magazines ("fanzines"?) displayed at the grocery store. Somebody must be
    > buying this stuff. Maybe things are different in the U.S. than other
    > places.
    > I wonder if one were to open one of these magazines how many websites
    > would
    > be advertized.>
            Yes there are soap magazines here in the UK too (although they're
    relatively new). I've not done any systematic analysis of them. The point
    I was making that the demographic of fans significantly influences the modes
    of activity used by those fans. Sci-Fi fansa routinely have used technology
    to explore their interests- e.g. using video for early slash fiction, and
    the net for discussion lists etc. In the soap audience, the
    characteristics, traditionally have been very different- of a group of fans
    whose knowledge and intimacy with their interests are every bit as strong as
    S/F fans, but who have never in significant numbers engaged in stereotypicla
    fan culture. This may in part be due to the nature of what they're fans of-
    ongoing serial narratives, that when successful continue indefinitely (or
    for 30 years or so in the case of the UK's 'Coronation Street'). Unlike
    Star Trek, where the fans kind of have to write their own stories because
    there were a finite number in the first place, soap fans get something new
    once a week, twice a week, or even daily.

            <Isn't professional wrestling kinda like a male soap opera? I
    > memeticists would be onto this popular form of "sports entertainment". I
    > suppose Vince McMahon could be considered a "memetic engineer"
    > extraordinaire.>
            Wrestling's real!

            <The only tolerable soap was "General Hospital" and that was only on
    > rare occasions. The Luke and Laura thing was overplayed. BTW, Rick
    > Springfield and John Stamos started on GH (not that those are very good
    > selling points). IIRC Demi Moore did too, but I'd have to double check
    > that.>
            Dallas was fun- and Sunset Beach was one of the most bizarre things
    on television I've ever seen (but was also fun).

            In the UK, our soaps tend to be more working class and worthy- but
    good for that. Arguably one of the best media fiction treatments of HIV has
    been on 'Eastenders'.


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