Friday, 20 November 2009

The dangers of opera

So, is it that folks who prefer death to dishonour are more likely to attend opera in the first place, that opera encourages folks to think suicide a reasonable option in case of dishonour, or some kind of augmentative thing where the former kind of folks have their initial preferences built-upon by opera?

Clearly the healthists need to keep a close eye on opera. Caplan's Amore Infernale ought to be banned immediately, before it can ever be staged. We could commission a study on the social costs of opera, declaring some level of opera consumption irrational by definition and then measuring the proportion of opera watched by such harmful opera fans. There could be mandatory counselling sessions for folks attending the whole Ring Cycle.

From Death Studies, 2002:
The influence of music-based subcultures on suicidality has been the subject of much debate but little scholarly research. While previous work has documented that suicide is a remarkably frequent cause of death in opera, it has not explored the related consequences on opera's audience. In particular, the possible influence of the opera subculture on suicide acceptability has been largely unexplored. Suicide in the case of life without honor, the "Madame Butterfly Effect," is a theme in opera. Persons who are drawn into and/or influenced by the opera subculture of honor are hypothesized to be more accepting of suicide in the case of dishonor to one's family. Data are from the national general social surveys (N = 845). A multivariate logistic regression analysis finds that opera fans are 2.37 times more accepting of suicide because of dishonor than nonfans. Only two variables, religiosity and education, are more closely related to suicide acceptability than opera fanship. These are the first empirical results on the subject of opera and suicide acceptability.

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