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September 1996, Week 3


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 19 Sep 1996 10:52:19 -0600
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Peter S. Latham comments:
"However, that's not to say that a film cannot stimulate immitative actions
by those already disposed to agree with its values.A recent horrrible
example is the real-life incineration of a news stand vendor based on a
fictional incident in (I think) the film MONEY TRAIN."
The problem with any studies of the effects of racisim/violence/sexism/et al.
in film is that a) such studies rarely look into the kind of complicating
factors that Peter mentioned elsewhere in his post; b) the sampling process
itself is always going to be problematic (not to mention following up the
study with objective observations!), and c) you run into the kind of true,
but anecdotal, examples mentioned above (there was also the case of the kids
who went and lay down in the road because they saw it in a movie).  In the
last case, you could trace similar examples all the way back to Goethe's
SORROWS OF THE YOUNG WERTHER, which supposedly inspired a rash of suicides
among young men.
I don't think cause-and-effect can ever be directly measured, but one *can*
take what ought to be a common-sense approach.
But sense, alas, is none too common.
Don Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)
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