Blue Story and La Rochefoucauld

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La Rochefoucauld said that some people would never have fallen in love if they had not heard of it. Vue has made the decision to pull the film Blue Story on the day of its release. Because of a mass brawl involving knives and machetes carried by youths outside a cinema in Birmingham. They may have been rightly influenced by the words of La Rochefoucauld or Rene Girard for that matter. While it may be difficult to measure the unintended influence caused by a certain film, book, game or song, and while it may be as equally hard to prove in some cases, the Werther effect remains well known. The Werther effect is named after the book “The sorrows of Young Werther” in which the young Werther, after falling in love with a woman who is engaged, and eventually marries someone else and realises that she will never love him back, kills himself.

But what does this have to do with Blue Story and the recent mass brawl? The Werther effect shows that imitation happens with great effect, an effect not desired. The Werther effect now refers to the number of suicides which occur after publicity, whether in social media or on television. Dr Theodore Dalrymple explains that research shows that the suicide of a celebrity has a Werther effect four or five times larger than that of an unknown person. While pulling the film has led some to complain with valid points, it also seems fair to say, that the brawl having happened at the release of the film, is an example of influence and even imitation of a certain kind. Those who have become famous through social media, have an influence that is not always easily measured, and such companies as Google who will not always give you what your looking for, is shaping generations with their influence, just type in “straight couples” and see for yourself in Google images.

By Daniel Ralph

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