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Monday, January 22, 2007

Gruesome Stupidity

Someone has posted a six-minute tape of excerpts from a Sacramento radio show from the morning it  held a now-famous "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest.

A contestant named Jennifer Strange tied, apparently of water intoxication, after taking part.  Now,  according to news reports, there's word of a pending lawsuit, there might be criminal charges and the station sacked 10 people.

The excerpts are amazing. At one point, a female voice asks, "Can't you get water poisoning and like, die?" and "Maybe we should have researched this."

A woman calls to warn the hosts about the risks of water intoxication, but she's ignored. Strange, meanwhile, seems chipper but reports having a headache and an expanding belly that reminded her of being pregnant. Not too long later, she was dead.
-- Water Intoxication Death: Tale of the Tape [Wired]

I keep reading the updates on this awful fiasco and keep coming up dry on what to say. I thought the guy who thought it was brilliant to place empty chairs in front of crowd of people wanting a PlayStation 3 was a prizewinner for stupidity - but this really, really sinks to a new low.

Yeah, water intoxication is not widely known about. But it's not that rare. And even if it was so remote that only doctors knew about it - that the radio station would first oblivously skip consulting one and then having the show laugh off free medical advice? It's a level of incompetence that simply boggles the mind ... or moreso, it's outright scary. It's frightening to think that any group of people could be so dumb as to risk the lives of so many people in such a short period of time. It's stupidity so tight and dense as to be lethal.

Unless the liability form Strange signed included a paragraph on the dangers of water intoxication - I'd say the Strange family may well be the owners of a slightly used radio station when this is all said and done. Hopefully the outcome will be severe enough against the station that future shows will think ... at least once ... about what they do in the future.

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