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The Craze

Where the panic is a rush away from a perceived threat, the craze is a rush toward some satisfaction. As Smelter observes [1963, chap. 7), the craze may be superficial (miniature golf, Monopoly, Hula-Hoops, Frisbee, celebrity fan clubs; skateboards, video games) or serious (war crazes, nomination of a President); it may be economic (speculative boom), political (bandwagons), expressive (dance steps), or religious (revivals), to mention only a few types. Flagpole sitting, dance marathons, jigsaw puzzles, canasta, and" chain letters have all had their moments. The craze differs from the ordinary fad in that it becomes an  for its loiterers. As this is written, the video garne is a craze, but it may no longer be a craze by the time students read this. Many crazes involve some kind of get-rich quick scheme. The Holland tulip Craze of 1634 bid up the price of tulip bulbs until their value exceeded their weight in gold. The Florida land boom of the 1920  pushed land prics to levels fantastically beyond any sound economic valuation. In the craze, the individual gets caught up in a mass hysteria and loses ordinary caution. Speculators sell to one another at climbing prices until some bad news pricks the bubble or until so many susceptible persons have joined that no new money is entering the market; then confidence falters, and the market collapses in a frenzy to unload holdings [Mackay, 1932J. Since the craze seizes only a fraction of the population and is a time-consuming preoccupation, it generally wears itself out quite quickly. Some crazes disappear completely; others subside and endure as a less frenzied activity of some people.

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