Life imitates pop culture
October 10, 2010 7:04 PM   Subscribe

Looking to compile a list of movies/books/TV that have either the reputation for, or have actually been seen to have a negative influence on people's behavior.

For instance: the movie "Green Card" supposedly was the basis for many people making a decision to enter a marriage of convenience thinking that it would be easy money.
posted by Burhanistan to Media & Arts (37 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Child's Play 3
posted by fire&wings at 7:14 PM on October 10, 2010

Basketball Diaries, supposedly
posted by puritycontrol at 7:18 PM on October 10, 2010

There's the Juno Effect, in which the movie Juno was accused of glamorizing teen pregnancy.

Nonspecifically, movies have long been accused of glamorizing tobacco consumption which lead to the MPAA revising their rating system in 2007 to factor in depictions of smoking.
posted by jamaro at 7:19 PM on October 10, 2010

catcher in the rye
rocky horror

are you excluding video games on purpose?
posted by nadawi at 7:19 PM on October 10, 2010


The Program (I vividly recall hysteria over the whole, OMG don't lie down in the middle of the street!!#%!!!!!! thing)
posted by gatorae at 7:21 PM on October 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

The term is moral panic: Natural Born Killers, Basketball Diaries, etc.
posted by Paragon at 7:22 PM on October 10, 2010

> are you excluding video games on purpose?

No, they didn't cross my mind. But, yeah, they fall in the general pop culture category.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:25 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ayn Rand, as demonstrated by her blurb on the back cover of The Daily Show's America: The Book: “This is similar to my works in that anyone who reads it is sure to be an asshole for at least a month afterward.”
posted by HeroZero at 7:28 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Humane Societies hate dog movies like 101 Dalmations and such because it there's always idiots who see them, think "Puppy! Cute!" and buy a dog without considering the responsibilities.
posted by dobbs at 7:28 PM on October 10, 2010

The Anarchist Cookbook, the Field Guide to Monkeywrenching, and the Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla all have had reputations for encouraging violence and terrorism, and all have been commonly outlawed.

For sheer notoriety and negative influence though I'd have to suggest the Protocols.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:29 PM on October 10, 2010

I remember people talking about criminals copying that part from Money Train when it came out [article contains more examples].
posted by jeb at 7:34 PM on October 10, 2010

Heading back in time:

Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther (blamed for young men committing suicide)

W. H. Ainsworth's Jack Sheppard (supposedly inspired a famous murder)

In general, Victorian penny dreadfuls were blamed for all sorts of awful things (cf. the 20th-c. angst over comic books)
posted by thomas j wise at 7:44 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

2nding HeroZero (who has an awesome screenname, btw...)

Also, Catcher in the Rye
posted by chicago2penn at 7:52 PM on October 10, 2010

Well, the nod in the Field Guide to Monkeywrenching is obviously Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang. Excellent book.
posted by msali at 8:02 PM on October 10, 2010

Taxi Driver (or more specifically Jodie Foster) inspired an attempted assassination.
posted by phyrewerx at 8:08 PM on October 10, 2010

"The Warriers" and "A Clockwork Orange" inspired violent gangs. I remember when "The Warriers" came out. We were warned against going to see it -- that there might be violence in the theatre. Kubrick's family got death threats and so he forbid "A Clockwork Orange" to be shown in England (where he lived).

The "Thin Man" movies were criticized for glamorizing alcohol consumption.
posted by grumblebee at 8:12 PM on October 10, 2010

What about songs, do they count?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 8:14 PM on October 10, 2010

Yes, any consumable media goes!
posted by Burhanistan at 8:16 PM on October 10, 2010

The Game is the first thing that springs to mind.
posted by Ashley801 at 8:16 PM on October 10, 2010

24 has apparently done more than one would hope to shape Americans' views on "enhanced interrogation".

The CSI Effect (linking to the wiki for a good brief) refers to the idea that CSI and other forensics-based shows have made Americans (and thus juries) more interested and more weighted towards solid forensic evidence (which often does not or cannot exist).
posted by quadrilaterals at 8:17 PM on October 10, 2010

"P.C. Wren was responsible for wrecking the domestic felicity of several upper-class European families by writing his 1924 novel Beau Geste, which persuaded some troubled adolescents that a romantic destiny awaited them amid desert sands..."
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:20 PM on October 10, 2010

Supposedly watching Dexter drove this teen to kill.

As for video games, there's plenty of notoriety surrounding the Grand Theft Auto franchise.
posted by Anima Mundi at 8:22 PM on October 10, 2010

D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation (1, 2) .
posted by magstheaxe at 8:52 PM on October 10, 2010

The Communist Manifesto (depending on whom you ask)
posted by bardic at 9:17 PM on October 10, 2010

Helter Skelter
posted by Fortnight Bender at 9:20 PM on October 10, 2010

Dungeons & Dragons RPG (Satan!)

Heavy Metal Music, specifically Judas Priest's "Better By You, Better Than Me" & Ozzy Osbourne's "Suicide Solution" (Suicide AND Satan!)

Video Games like Grand Theft Auto (Violence! Rape! Traffic Violations!)

Just about every super hero comic book made back in the early 50's, including Batman & Robin (Homosexuality!) and Wonder Woman (Feminism! Bondage! Lesbians!)

Raves (Drugs!)

The movie "Kids" (Drugs! AIDS! Teenage Sex!)

The movie The Wild One (Biker Gangs!)

Rock & Roll music, Elvis Presly's music in particular (More Teenage Sex! Juevenile Delinquincy!)

The Beatles (Long Hair!)

Prince's "Darling Nikki" (Dirty Words & Super Sexy Fun Times!)

* takes break to give virtual finger to Tipper Gore & PMRC*

Pokemon cartoons (Convulsions & Seizures!)

Pedobear (Pedophilia!)
posted by KingEdRa at 9:29 PM on October 10, 2010

I knew a guy who watched a lot of Penn and Teller's Bullshit and developed what I believed to be some pretty bad opinions. YMMV, depending on how you feel about libertarianism.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:40 PM on October 10, 2010

As a teenager, On the Road and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas both piqued my interest in a life of drifting, drugs and degenerate behavior. I have heard it said they did the same for others..
posted by Ahab at 11:12 PM on October 10, 2010

The song, 867-5309 inspired many people to call up and irritate the people who had that phone number IRL. Generally, if a phone number is shown in a movie they have to make it start with 555 or else people will call it.
posted by Ashley801 at 11:23 PM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

William Borrough's Naked Lunch was originally suppressed for obscenity, and general depravity. Recent editions have a forward recounting the controversy.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:03 AM on October 11, 2010

Clinton gave Monica Lewinsky a copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.

First link posted also says he gave one to Hillary.
posted by invisible ink at 2:11 AM on October 11, 2010

Seconding Ayn Rand novels.
It's true; it really will make you a raging asshole.
posted by elleyebeebeewhy at 7:51 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

There was an incident during the heyday of Beavis and Butt-head wherein Beavis lit his hair on fire and in so doing allegedly inspired a young child to do the same. IIRC the parents had left this child alone at the time.
posted by AugieAugustus at 8:46 AM on October 11, 2010

Mein Kampf.
posted by rjs at 12:17 PM on October 11, 2010

The Program originally contained a scene where several players lie on the yellow center line of a highway. The scene was cut from the film after young people died while imitating the stunt.
posted by epj at 2:37 PM on October 11, 2010

Video Games:
Grand Theft Auto will make you steal, rape, kill.
World of Warcraft will make you antisocial and ignore your family/friends/life/etc.
Manhunt will turn you into a murderer.

Harry Potter teaches kids witchcraft!

Board Games/Tabletop Games:
Dungeons & Dragons will make you join a cult and worship dark forces?
posted by ninjakins at 4:55 PM on October 11, 2010

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