Blog: Dave LeggettTimes we live in

Dave Leggett | 16 February 2007

If people want to kill themselves a number of options are available to produce either that outcome or the 'plea for help' in which you likely get discovered before you are actually toast. I gather someone has made a film about people jumping off the Golden Gate (sounds voyeuristic to watch, and maybe it is a bit, but the director says he's trying to find out about the lives of the 'jumpers').

Once you have taken that fateful step off a sufficiently high point, there's no way back and it's game over. 

But it's a classic image isn't it? The jumper looking down on to a crowd of curious onlookers - some shouting 'jump!' and others 'don't do it!'. I am sure it's a scene we've all seen played out on TV a hundred times.

Volkswagen took the deceptively simple idea of someone wanting to end it all by jumping off a ledge and used it in a TV ad in the US. Not the funniest thing imaginable in the way it was executed, but harmless enough I'd have said. Does it have anything to say about mental illness and suicide? I don't think so.

Upsetting people and causing offence is not a good thing, but that's not what's going on here. This looks like self-serving interest groups getting totally carried away. Disappointing that VW caved in like that.

Maybe the lawyers at VW could foresee litigious hassles ('he was working through his troubles just fine, your honour, and then that VW ad came on just after dinner; he went straight out and jumped from the 18th floor...'). Bonkers.

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