Totally fascinating piece at Mental Floss this past week. From “Blame the Media: 6 Disorders Caused by the Internet, TV, Magazines and Movies”:
1. Truman Show Delusion
Until a studio light fell from the “sky” near his house, Truman Burbank lived a perfectly normal life. Then he found out that his entire life was spent on the set of a TV show, and everyone he ever knew was in on the ruse.
The movie The Truman Show came out in 1998, and by 2002 brothers Joel and Ian Gold (a psychiatrist and assistant professor of psychiatry, respectively) were meeting patients convinced that their lives were recorded and broadcast 24/7, and that everyone they’d ever known was in on it. One man, certain he was being fooled by crafty actors and elaborate sets, traveled to New York after 9/11 to see Ground Zero for himself. He’d assumed the attack was part of his show, and that seeing the towers standing would be his proof. Another sought asylum from his show in a Manhattan federal building.
Truman Show Delusion’s name didn’t come around until 2008, and was coined by the Gold brothers after a number of patients cited the movie as a direct parallel to their lives. Over 40 cases have been verified, mostly in white men ages 25-34.
And that is but one of the actual mental disorders that have been connected to media in recent years. There’s also mass hysteria conveyed by the Internet, genuine depression caused by finding that real places — such as Paris — are not the fantasties that film and TV present to us.
What new mental illnesses or disorders do you foresee media fostering?
The question is, I suppose: What fantasies of film and TV are too strong for some people to recognize as fantasy?
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