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

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Thu May 03 2001 - 20:45:42 BST

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    Subject: Re: Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics
    Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 21:45:42 +0200
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    Hi Vincent, you wrote,

    > I don't mean to over simplify your comments here, in this response, but
    > a bit pushed for time, and I think it deserves a response.

    << Thanks anyway to give it thought ! You and I we are in the same
    boat, and next week it will be worse... for me anyway !!

    > The second, again touching on what you say, is what if such a question is
    > irrelevant, since memetic (or other) characteristics of certain kinds of
    > practices are more engaging and compelling than others. The problem may
    be that to try and adopt those apparently engaging aspects in those forms
    > losing out, may undermine their initial aims, or simply not work in that
    > context. For example, glossy, sound-bite news programmes, styled like
    > game-shows may (or may not) attract audiences, but do they undermine the
    > purposes of news.

    << Yes of course, the same can be said about the female news reporter,
    in Russia I believe who undressed herself during broadcasting to get an
    audience. IMO, the value of the news will be weakened or lost, but on the
    other hand it could be that fractions of the stuff slips thru ' due to
    level of consciousness.
    But yes it would undermine the purpose of news...

    What would be the impact if the context of the picture ' Network '
    wherein Albert Finney plays a reporter who wants to commit suicide
    as the show wherein he stars is ' live ' on TV would become reality !?
    What woud be the impact if such event really took place !?
    Lets say, Terry Wogan anounces that he, after the next blooper, will
    kill himself... I wonder if the audience would not see it as a joke...!?

    Or, do you remerber, that guy who killed himself with a shotgun ' live '
    on USA- TV after he was endlessly pursued by the police !?
    The problematc of suicide was for a while a hot topic, but it faded away.
    IMO, if you are not directly involved, or you don't identify yourself with
    an actor or with the character he or she plays, you won 't explore the
    issues raised.
    On the other hand, direct involment, like those policemen who chased
    the poor guy, is not a reason either... I think.
    Policemen, in a way, and others, have to stay out of people's lives.
    Involment would lead to misjudgements and a more partial approach.
    You won 't get any sleep...

    And for the ' fanzines '.
    Don 't know any here in Belgium, never seen one and never heard that
    anyone was talking about one!!
    What I well know is that a few years ago that some actors of the soap
    ' Neighbours ' paid a visit to their fans over here. But that was one night
    But the number of fans who came to that gathering was enormous.
    What seems to indicate IMO that actors or the character they play
    do have some influence.
    But like I said, it is maybe merely a question of identification and invol-

    PS, Vincent, you mentioned some study works on soaps, including
    gender stuff, any references !? Thanks !!



    ( I am, because we are) just that Jazz

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