The Cookie Jar Effect

March 23rd, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We have long held a theory we call the Cookie Jar Effect. Quite simply, it is that people want what they are told they cannot have. There are many corollaries to this theory, including the one that suggests opposition increases revenue. People are more likely to try to read, watch, or hear art that someone feels is offensive. Our more cynical side often thinks such controversies are nurtured by the artists, but that may be because we have so little faith in the kindness of strangers.

Maybe this is why we immediately wonder if Chinese censors are secretly working for the people. By now it must be commonplace knowledge that banning something in China creates a large underground market (or is it possible that the censors adhere to their bans to the point that they don’t realize such a market exists? Must contemplate this more.):

Though there is no printed discussion of the novella due to the ban, readers are downloading it from Internet sites and blogs, most of which make it available without any comment. The editors of the literary magazine in which it was originally published in January, Hua Cheng, have been disciplined and refuse to be interviewed, but sales of their March issue are rumored to have doubled.

File Under: Books/Mags/Blogs