Modal Dissonance
The Internet is for Porn

Shocking Amplification


I have of late - but wherefore I know not - lost all my mirth.

Shakespeare may have understood it and built it into Hamlet, but male depression is still a kind of forgotten problem. Like any aspect of culture, problems are either salient or they are not. Anorexia is highly salient, men's depression is not.

There are probably quite a lot of sociological reasons for why this is, to do with the visibility of the famished female form in the media and the perception that suffering silently is more manly. But as CALM point out, being silent isn't strong and occasionally we need to raise the profile of issues that otherwise get ignored, both to raise funds for the charities and to help address the problems themselves by normalising them.

Last week a poster by men's health charity CALM came under attack for being insensitive - it used the 7/7 bombings to highlight the fact the 3 men under 35 commit suicide every day in the UK. You can see the criticism and the poster here.

And I agree with Naresh that this parallel is insensitive to the victims and familes and anyone affected by the attack. He asks:

Which raises the question: why did they not do research to gauge how inflammatory the poster was going to be

But....isn't that the point? Isn't this supposed to be inflammatory? Isn't it supposed to invite debate? And, in pure communication terms, isn't this specifically designed to amplify the effect?

I didn't see the poster, but I did see the media coverage and because of that I had a look at the site, and came across this campaign they are running to get companies to donate £100 each to keep the consumer campaign going.

So now I'm going to see if I can't squeeze a ton out of my lot, and I'm posting about it here to encourage you to do the same. Without the media furore, none of this would have happened.

Charities have very small budgets. They HAVE to be thinking of ways they can amplify them.

I don't think we should be directly insulting to the memories of anyone...

[Note: although they ran an execution previously that compared the UK male suicide rate to the number of British soliders that have died in Iraq and no one batted an eyelid so I wonder who decides what's morally appropriate and wonder if perhaps it's the press simply leveraging the ongoing fear of terrorism to sell more papers rather than taking a moral stand but that's beside the point]

...but if it saves some lives by driving up the profile of a problem that has been thus far ignored and getting CALM some needed donations, then I would say O & M [who produced the ad] should be congratulated.

CALM website