One somewhat odd side effect attributed to the movie Avatar is depression and thoughts of suicide. Apparently when some folks see the movie, they find the return to reality to be a rather negative experience. Hence the depression and thoughts of suicide.
Of course, there is the obvious question of how widespread this phenomena actually might be. After all, the folks in the media tend to focus on what is likely to gain the greatest attention. There is also the other obvious question of whether or not this is an effect specific to Avatar. After all, it seems likely that people get depressed by the contrast between the worlds of fantasy and the real world.
Naturally, it is tempting to dismiss such depression as the mere weeping of nerds who are sad because they cannot have a big, blue girlfriend and ride dragons. After all, there are many people who face far more serious problems (for example, the folks in Haiti).
However, it can be argued that such depression (however silly it might seem) does cause real suffering for those who experience it. Perhaps they can ease their pain by working towards a better world. After all, having a purpose and staying busy can do wonders for that sort of depression.
It certainly says a great deal about our world that people can be driven to depression by a science fiction movie.
Although I saw Avatar, I did not suffer from any depression. Of course, this might be because I have been a sci-fi fan and a gamer for years, so perhaps I have a tolerance for switching between fantasy and reality. Or perhaps it is because Avatar, for all its impressive effects, is just a movie.
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