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Killing Me Softly
November 16, 2012 6:00 AM   Subscribe

Dumb Ways To Die. What it says on the tin. Courtesy of Metro Australia.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy (71 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Maybe not everyone's cup of tea (I found it only chuckle-worthy, with one or two eyebrow-raisers) but I do feel like PSAs are most effective when they aren't incredibly patronizing and when they don't beat you over the head with moralizing. I think this is a successful PSA in that sense.
posted by Scientist at 6:06 AM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's stupidly catchy.
posted by Mezentian at 6:06 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's going to interesting explaining to my daughter why I'm singing that chorus all day.
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:07 AM on November 16, 2012


I would eat 2 week old pie. And I wouldn't even ask the green.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:08 AM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


I read the comments:
Metro, First you fail at delivering punctual and safe public transport to Melbournians. Now you offend and ridicule the victims and family and friends of victims who have died on your tracks. Please keep in mind that not everyone who gets injured or killed on train tracks does so because they are "dumb".

I would argue that running the boomgates, dashing across the tracks after the gates have shut or standing on the otherside of the yellow line are, indeed, dumb.
posted by Mezentian at 6:10 AM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


The one who sold his kidneys seems quite pleased with the outcome. I'm gonna go for it.
posted by etc. at 6:16 AM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


I loved this song. Very cheeky!
posted by Renoroc at 6:18 AM on November 16, 2012


This was fun.

Americans have dumb PSAs.

I just heard that the Quay Brothers do a lot of TV commercials in Europe.

Nothing edgy for me, mate. I'm American.
posted by kozad at 6:24 AM on November 16, 2012


I watched this while taking a break from doing my own electrical work.
posted by I'm Doing the Dishes at 6:28 AM on November 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


OK, so I went and took a shower and got dressed and the chorus is still stuck in my head. Good job, Metro Australia.
posted by Scientist at 6:33 AM on November 16, 2012


A different approach from the very brutal driving safety ads they run in the Antipodes
posted by thelonius at 6:34 AM on November 16, 2012


I thought I'd cancelled "Spike TV"? This internet doesn't work.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:35 AM on November 16, 2012


hehe ... for some reason fork and work sound like false rhymes in Australian. Also ... sounds like Missy Higgins ... I wonder who the performer actually is.
posted by jannw at 6:36 AM on November 16, 2012


I wonder who the performer actually is.

I have been trying to figure this out since I stumbled on this. Seems to be something called Tangerine Kitty.

Also available to download as a Ringtone!
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:42 AM on November 16, 2012


Metro, First you fail at delivering punctual and safe public transport to Melbournians. Now you offend and ridicule the victims and family and friends of victims who have died on your tracks. Please keep in mind that not everyone who gets injured or killed on train tracks does so because they are "dumb".

So much for the stereotype of Americans being the only perpetually offended, pissy people...
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:45 AM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Death by earworm
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:47 AM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Please keep in mind that not everyone who gets injured or killed on train tracks does so because they are "dumb".

I guess you're counting "profoundly intoxicated" as its own category?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:49 AM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Now I know what a Darwin Award is.
Live and learn.
posted by de at 6:50 AM on November 16, 2012


If death is this twee I think I'll rather live.
posted by item at 6:58 AM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


I would argue that running the boomgates, dashing across the tracks after the gates have shut or standing on the otherside of the yellow line are, indeed, dumb.

The railroad industry does spend a huge amount of time and money pushing the message that every single death caused by trains is the fault of the victim. I remember seeing the Trouble On The Tracks documentary (link is to a pdf description because I couldn't find any video), which pointed that out, and since then it's been pretty shocking to see how every sort of safety PR from the railroad explicitly says that anyone who dies from a train accident is irresponsible and ignorant. Railroads are inherently dangerous and the companies that run them do everything they can to avoid having to pay to keep them safe and shift any sort of liability for accidents away from themselves.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:22 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


can you really die from using expired medication? I was told by a guy who's father-in-law was a pharmacist that medication hardly ever goes bad and even if it did it would just lose its potency. How big is the pharmaceutical lobby in Australia?
posted by any major dude at 7:22 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sounds like Edie Brickell.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:23 AM on November 16, 2012


I think this is a successful PSA in that sense.

If you have ever seen the annual compilation of award-winning television ads from the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival (it used to get an annual release under the name Cannes Goods), you will know that Australia has a peculiar knack for memorable and effective PSAs. It may have something to with the employment of a mordant sense of humour where American PSAs seem always to use absolute earnestness -- it may be the cultural heritage of convicts in one country and puritans in the other, I suppose. Australian -- and to a lesser extent, New Zealander -- PSAs are often bitingly funny and macabre, where American PSAs I have seen tend to be funny or memorable only inadvertently ("this is your brain on drugs.")
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:41 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


can you really die from using expired medication?

IANAPharmacist but I guess maybe if you had some ghastly awful infection and took expired antibiotics and they didn't kill the infection you could eventually die from it? idk.
posted by elizardbits at 7:48 AM on November 16, 2012


OKOK, I won't take my toaster on the train..geez.
posted by obscurator at 7:56 AM on November 16, 2012


You remind me, ricochet biscuit, the Grim Reaper [1987] was memorable and effective.
posted by de at 8:01 AM on November 16, 2012


Hey, remember this? Dumb baby!

Hey, Metro Australia, maybe you ought to consider doing some due diligence instead of blaming the people killed by your trains.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:32 AM on November 16, 2012


Please keep in mind that not everyone who gets injured or killed on train tracks does so because they are "dumb".

Not knowing the history of fatalities on Australian rail transport, the only way I can imagine this statement being true is if they have a habit of running over their employees (as the Washington DC Metro does, or had a problem with doing a few years back). That's terrible, and is obviously a sign of systemic failure at many levels.

Everyone else, though? As I once heard attributed to a New York Central lawyer: "Look, the train does not go off the tracks, looking for victims." It's pretty easy not to get hit by a train. Somehow I doubt it's any harder in Australia.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:42 AM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Kadin2048: Everyone else, though? As I once heard attributed to a New York Central lawyer: "Look, the train does not go off the tracks, looking for victims

Shows how much he knows.

Having studied the topic intensively via repeated viewing of Thomas the Tank Engine, you need only ask the residents of Sodor what they think of the freewheeling machines of death in their midst.
posted by dr_dank at 8:52 AM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


This song would blend well with Bowie's Changes.
Turn and face the train...
posted by moonmilk at 9:04 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Please keep in mind that not everyone who gets injured or killed on train tracks does so because they are "dumb".

I'm willing to entertain this idea, but I can't think of any possibilities for this outside something like an actual train crash. People don't get dragged by doors any more, do they? So how do you get killed by a train without doing something that makes it your own fault?

Hey, remember this? Dumb baby!

Jesus that's brutal. The baby was fine, but that mother standing there clearly just screaming, thinking she'd just watched her baby get crushed in front of her... But, lady, I hold on to my hat when the train wind comes. I can't remember which system I saw these on (bart?), but I've seen warning stickers to the effect of "Trains are windy. Hold on to your stroller."
posted by cmoj at 9:09 AM on November 16, 2012


"Lord? Please don't let me die in a funny way."
posted by ColdChef at 9:14 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, Don Hertzfelt should sue them for ripping off the dance of the FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS HOLY MY ANUS IS BLEEDING critters.

(if you don't know what i"m talking about google "hertzfeldt rejected")
posted by notsnot at 9:17 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's pretty easy not to get hit by a train.

Well, apparently, not. Train Hits Veterans' Parade, Killing 4

This is really tragic and bizarre. How on Earth can something like this happen? Someone definitely screwed up really badly here; but it certainly wasn't the people on the float.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:26 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Trains are windy. Hold on to your stroller."

"Gravity is a thing. Slope the platform down away from the track instead of towards it."
posted by Sys Rq at 9:29 AM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Everyone else, though? As I once heard attributed to a New York Central lawyer: "Look, the train does not go off the tracks, looking for victims." It's pretty easy not to get hit by a train. Somehow I doubt it's any harder in Australia.

Even if victim behavior is the cause of accidents, that's not an excuse to forgive systematic choices that make those accidents possible. To use an analogy, let's say elevators were designed in such a way that a distracted or foolish person could fall out of one. If it was so easy to fall out of an elevator and die that thousands of people died in elevator accidents, you could blame it on the people who fell out of elevators. Or you could place some blame on the elevator industry for having safety standards that allow thousands of people to die every year. Safety is about designing systems that cut down on accidents based on real human behavior, and sometimes people make mistakes or don't follow the rules. That's Murphy's Law, if you design a system where someone can screw it up, someone will eventually screw it up, and when screwing up means someone gets killed that's a huge problem with your system.

So how do you get killed by a train without doing something that makes it your own fault?

The gate doesn't come down because of a malfunction and you assume that it's okay to cross, the crossing doesn't have a gate and the other warning devices don't function, the crossing doesn't have any sort of warning system at all and you don't see or hear the train for some reason, etc. Or you are a kid on a school bus and get killed from the bus driver making a mistake and getting hit by a train.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:38 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Australian Rail Safety Video
posted by de at 9:49 AM on November 16, 2012


I watched this while taking a break from doing my own electrical work. posted by I'm Doing the Dishes at 8:28 AM on 11/16




At the same time?




How....efficient.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:50 AM on November 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


Or you are a kid on a school bus and get killed from the bus driver making a mistake and getting hit by a train.

This is why school bus drivers (here in B.C. anyway) are required to come to a complete stop, open their door, and listen for any train, as well as look.

Reading about the tragic accident in Texas last night, it sounds as if the driver of the rig that was hit violated a fundamental rule of crossing railroad tracks by proceeding onto the tracks before there was room on the other side to allow the entire vehicle to clear. Witnesses are apparently saying that the crossing-warning activated, and then the crossing bar came down onto the flat-bed of the truck, which was stopped on the tracks. If so, this was a gross failure on the part of the driver.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:57 AM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


So how do you get killed by a train without doing something that makes it your own fault?

Hmm, how about proceeding with traffic along a 4-lane, 45 mph arterial, crossing an intersection where the rail line knows its "Train Detection System" is malfunctioning, but instead of making prompt repairs, or posting warnings to motorists, they've simply told the train crews to stop before the crossing. But not adjusted their schedules to allow them to actually do so. So, of course, it didn't happen. All this in a 3 week period where the same line, in the same metro area, suffered at least two other crossing malfunctions and one derailment.

Trains are perfectly safe to have in your neighborhood when the lines maintain the infrastructure and the safety equipment properly. when they don't, people die
posted by CHoldredge at 10:22 AM on November 16, 2012


The Union Pacific has been known to make very prompt repairs to their crossing gates. Specifically, right after the accidents happen but before the federal investigators show up.
posted by ckape at 10:36 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure I saw that 2-week-old pie thing in AskMe a while back...
posted by drlith at 10:46 AM on November 16, 2012


That said, ignoring or circumventing correctly operating crossing signals is stupid. (I'm on a few railroad-related forums where people point out and complain that somehow showing people smoking in movies is discouraged but running a car through a crossing an just barely avoiding getting hit is apparently just fine.)
posted by ckape at 10:48 AM on November 16, 2012


Several people have died from getting "sucked in" to a passing train while walking along train tracks; you have to be fairly close for it to occur, but I think it's a stretch to classify that as "dumb".
posted by Challahtronix at 11:24 AM on November 16, 2012


The story of the veterans getting struck by the train has left me heartbroken and numbed.
posted by ColdChef at 11:32 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of the "My Anus is Bleeding" section of Rejected by Don Hertzfeld. Did I mention it's NSFW? It really goes without saying, but yeah. I mean YAY! THIS IS FUN!
posted by plinth at 11:52 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Speaking of train deaths, see this lovely spot in my home town? This is a railroad crossing, which at time I was living in town, had no barriers at the railroad crossing. Every few years or so, there was an accident of train v. car. At one point, I saw an article in the paper about the most recent one and there was a brief section about how there was no barrier because of expense. I mentioned that to my mom and she said, "doesn't matter - they're not accidents. People choose that intersection to commit suicide." Oh.
posted by plinth at 12:04 PM on November 16, 2012


>Several people have died from getting "sucked in" to a passing train while walking along train tracks; you have to be fairly close for it to occur, but I think it's a stretch to classify that as "dumb".

You have to be super close. Like illegally close. I worked on railroad tracks one summer and had to take a safety training and yeah, the vast majority of people who get hit are basically just standing or walking on the tracks and forget to keep an eye out for trains. It's hard to believe people could miss an approaching train so we tend to think something more malicious is at work but its really not.
posted by fshgrl at 1:17 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is such a fun song. I've played it at least six times now. :)
posted by Malor at 1:35 PM on November 16, 2012


burnmp3s: I would argue that running the boomgates, dashing across the tracks after the gates have shut or standing on the otherside of the yellow line are, indeed, dumb.

The railroad industry does spend a huge amount of time and money pushing the message that every single death caused by trains is the fault of the victim....
You've done an awful lot of commenting, without providing any evidence whatsoever that the train companies are wrong to blame the other parties in the accidents.
Flashing lights or lights with gates do improve safety at grade crossings, but they do not prevent all collisions. Approximately half of crossing collisions occur where such active warning devices are installed and operating as intended. And, nearly one-quarter of all crossing collisions involve the motor vehicle striking the side of a train that is already fully occupying the crossing. Source. (emphasis added)
This indicates that between 50-75% of all collisions with trains are caused by people who are, in a word, acting dumb. (Note this doesn't mean the rest were showing any intelligence, either.)

I'm not suggesting that train companies aren't capable of villainous fraud; they hire humans, after all. But by-and-large it's almost impossible to be hit by a train if you are paying attention and heeding the caution signals.

There's a strong possibility that 4-gate signals will become mandatory in upcoming years (one gate for each lane on each side); this will essentially prevent dodging the gates when they are down. Of course, it won't help rural risk-takers where there's no gate, but it's a big step that will greatly reduce fatalities.

Full disclosure: my job involves ensuring safety in passenger trains.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:35 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


PareidoliaticBoy: It's pretty easy not to get hit by a train.

Well, apparently, not. Train Hits Veterans' Parade, Killing 4
FTA:
Marge Langley, who has lived in Midland since 1954, said the last fatal accident at a train crossing in town that she could recall was "about 30 or 40 years ago when some teenagers on their lunch hour ran a stop sign."
30-40 years without an accident, and that caused by stupidity. Not a lot of 2-road intersections have a safety record that good!

Again, the vast majority of train accidents are caused by outrageous stupidity on the part of the pedestrians or non-train vehicle operators. Some train accidents are the fault of the operating companies or the installers (looking at you, China - but given the nature of their government, we may never know what really caused it).

If it makes anyone feel better, all train systems that can cause fatalities are required to fail "safely". So, if you cut a brake line... the train's brakes all engage. If a signal doesn't respond to the train, the train plans to stop before the signal... including worst-case conditions of one brake unit failing altogether while ice covers the tracks and the computer and mechanical relays take the longest possible process time. Some older crossing traffic signals are not designed "talk back" to the cab, however, so the train can't react to a broken signal. These are on the way out. Thankfully.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:48 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is the artist who wrote the song North American? Because they don't have moose or grizzlies in Australia, do they?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:19 PM on November 16, 2012


Is the artist who wrote the song North American? Because they don't have moose or grizzlies in Australia, do they?
I was wondering the same thing - they don't have rattlesnakes, either.
posted by kickingtheground at 2:29 PM on November 16, 2012


Or piranhas.
posted by fshgrl at 2:49 PM on November 16, 2012


Now you point it out, it is a bit odd that all of the deadly wildlife in that song is from North America, considering.
posted by ckape at 2:57 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not 'Metro Australia' either; Metro is the name of Melbourne's metropolitan rail service.

For context, this ad comes on the heels of a train accident in Melbourne caused by a truck apparently trying to beat the train over the crossing by going around a functional boom gate.. Investigation (specifically, amateur footage taken a couple days before the accident) has shown that this was unbelievably common practice at that specific crossing.

There's no argument that the train system is perfect, and there is an ongoing level crossing upgrade program. But if people weren't so stupid, we would undoubtedly have far fewer accidents around trains.
posted by jacalata at 3:13 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


We don't have piranhas, either. I need accuracy in my Public Service Announcements!
posted by crossoverman at 3:37 PM on November 16, 2012


I came here to mention the accident that jacalata just mentioned. For some context, I doubt anyone in Melbourne watched this without thinking of the recent accident.

Re: pie, they probably mean Australia meat pie, not sugary fruit pie! Two week old unrefrigerated meat pie would be a no-go even on AskMe, no?

Re: grizzly bears, piranhas and rattlesnakes: this has been popping up on my Facebook and Twitter feeds from friends all over the world. It was most likely intended as a widely shareable, international video, and, by this metric, it's certainly a huge success!

(Now to get "Dumb ways to di-ie" out of my head...)
posted by third word on a random page at 3:48 PM on November 16, 2012


As a Canadian, I noticed the misplaced fauna as well. I mean, dress up as a moose? Bit of an alarm bell there, eh? On closer examination, one might expect to see wombats and wallabies and drop bears and such. Maybe there's a reason that the little characters resemble nothing else so much as they do beans.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:52 PM on November 16, 2012


OK, I think I've listened to that song 10 times now.

Not visible in the youtube video is the Abbey Roady album cover (from campaignbrief, which also has a poster with the lyrics).
posted by moonmilk at 7:25 PM on November 16, 2012


[re the parade float collision] Someone definitely screwed up really badly here; but it certainly wasn't the people on the float.

Well, it wasn't the fault of the people on the float, but it was certainly the driver of the float. The float vehicle was straddling the tracks when the lights and gates activated.

There's no safety device (other than a bridge, I suppose) that will prevent a collision in that case.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:42 PM on November 16, 2012


No mention of subway surfing? Because that is the ultimate in dumb and commonplace where I live. Are all Melbourne trains above ground?
On my phone so it's hard to link:(.
posted by swooz at 1:01 AM on November 17, 2012


Swooz, pretty much -- Melbourne has an extensive tram system, and trains are only underground for a few stations in the City Loop.
posted by third word on a random page at 3:33 AM on November 17, 2012


I wonder whether Tangerine Kitty are also responsible for the authentically twee Woolworths in-store music Tom Ellard ranted about.
posted by acb at 6:59 AM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


So,when I posted this yesterday, it had 7000 views. Right now its at 1.5 million. I'd say that's one effective advertising myself.

Sadly, over in Egypt, 50 schoolchildren were killed in a train collision while we were chuckling about this ad. In this case, it's being reported that the crossing guard was asleep, and that the barrier and lights weren't activated.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:20 PM on November 17, 2012


Sadly, over in Egypt, 50 schoolchildren were killed in a train collision while we were chuckling about this ad.

I just read that and.... between that and the Texas float, I think we can conclude trains are way more dangerous than we realised.
posted by Mezentian at 6:53 PM on November 17, 2012


It disturbs me that Tom Ellard's rant, while four years old, is still so fresh and relevant today.
Apart from the fact I had no idea Woolworth had their own radio station. Ever.
posted by Mezentian at 6:56 PM on November 17, 2012


I know two people who've been killed by trains: one was a teen being stupid and the other was a suicide. With one exception, all the other train deaths I've heard of in Australia resembled one or the other of those two incidents. The exception was a wheelchair that got stuck on the rails - not anyone's fault, just a really awful accident.

Since you can't really advertise for people to choose some other method of suicide, I really don't have a problem with the safety advertising focusing on stupidity. The little bean without kidneys is my favourite from this one.
posted by harriet vane at 2:33 AM on November 18, 2012


This was playing when I was waiting at the Myki gates this evening under the clocks. It's fair to say I was not humming. The Yarra Trams rhino posters still brought a faint smile though.
posted by hawthorne at 3:39 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cool Things to Find

A really good parody of this song from Cinesaurus (via Boing Boing)
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:47 AM on November 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I teared up a little when Curiosity helped Discovery.
Just a little.
posted by Mezentian at 3:09 AM on November 29, 2012


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