Fake Steve on the Foxconn Suicides

Dan Lyons:

But, see, arguments about national averages are a smokescreen. Sure, people kill themselves all the time. But the Foxconn people all work for the same company, in the same place, and they’re all doing it in the same way, and that way happens to be a gruesome, public way that makes a spectacle of their death. They’re not pill-takers or wrist-slitters or hangers. They’re not Sylvia Plath wannabes, sealing off the kitchen and quietly sticking their head in the oven. They’re jumpers. And jumpers, my friends, are a different breed. Ask any cop or shrink who deals with this stuff. Jumpers want to make a statement. Jumpers are trying to tell you something.

I linked to the “hey, Foxconn’s suicide rate sounds high but it’s lower than China’s overall rate” thing not as proof that everything is just fine at Foxconn, but for context. Every suicide is shocking to the non-suicidal. Maybe there really is something profoundly wrong at Foxconn — jumping is indeed a spectacular, gruesome means of suicide — but the rate isn’t as high as some reporting on it would have you believe.

Friday, 28 May 2010