Babel is immensely popular in Japan, in part thanks to a memorable and powerful role by Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi. But, reminiscent of a memorable incident caused by an episode of the Pokemon cartoon series a decade ago, a number of Japanese have been sickened by a one-minute scene in Babel involving a visit to a club in which strobe lights flash for about a minute. The phenomenon has prompted the posting of a health advisory on the distributor’s website and on posters at theatres showing the film. (Yahoo! News) While strobe-induced seizure activity is a well-known phenomenon in patients with preexisting epilepsy, it is quite rare. In contrast, this has some of the hallmarks of communicable hysteria. It is a little different from the Pokemon incident, which affected viewers simultaneously without forewarning, and which probably attracted a much larger viewing population.
“Switzerland is one of the world’s richest and most tranquil countries, but it also has more suicides than most. This may show that money doesn’t buy happiness, but some Swiss also blame the guns.” (Yahoo! News)