Thursday, February 22, 2007

Play music...not with peoples' lives

While in my car, I usually either listen to one of the 5 CD’s I haven’t changed since I put them in there (which was when I bought the car 3 years ago) or to NPR. But one morning recently, I’d had enough of Postal Service and had already listened to the morning news round that was on it’s second go of airtime on NPR. So I turned my radio to one of the local radio stations, one that has a very popular morning show. And I quickly realized why I haven’t made a habit of this...

I’m not sure if it was luck or planetary aligning karma, but at the exact moment I turned to the station, one of the two morning DJ’s began speaking, with absolutely NO knowledge, on this 'great' new weight loss procedure: The Stomach Balloon. It wasn’t so much the “Oh! My! God! I am, like, totally going to get that! What a totally, like, fantastic idea! Eat all the food you want, like, and get full faster! I TOTALLY want one!” that annoyed me. I mean, it was annoying to hear a perfectly grown woman speaking with all the aptitude of a 13-year-old who knows better but just wants to be cool. And forget the fact that this balloon, while it may be a temporizing measure for weight loss, it does not change one’s lifestyle. Anyone who’s lost weight and kept weight off knows that it’s the healthy decisions that you make everyday going forward that make it happen. Not some balloon you put in and then take out a few months later. Anyway, what was really annoying about the segment, was that this DJ then said, “Where can I GET one of those?? Oh?!? They’re only in Europe? Hmm…maybe I’ll just go home and swallow a balloon!”

Oh, for the LOVE. I envisioned a whole bunch of desperate overweight women beginning the day with a seemingly harmless morning radio show and ending it with a visit to the ER. Thankfully, at least to my knowledge, there were no adverse events due to that extremely ignorant broadcast.

The reason this broadcast bothered me is because I think that TV and radio has an obligation, to a certain degree, to report responsibly. Which is to say, that if they don’t know about something, something that could harm someone, they should either NOT talk about it, talk about it but with the disclaimer that they are perhaps not well-informed, or investigate it properly before talking about it. Seems like common sense to me. In an ideal world, where the truth sells more than sensationalism, of course....

And in this ideal world, things like what happened in Sacramento, California recently wouldn’t happen. The morning DJ’s on a popular radio station there held a “Hold your wee for a Wii” contest in which the contestants had to drink as much water as possible without urinating or vomiting. Little did these DJ's know, even water is not innocuous. And despite the fact that a nurse even called into the show and told them that drinking too much water could be dangerous, they continued on with the contest. And because of it, a 28-year-old wife and mother of three small children died. All because she drank so much water that she decreased the osmotic pressure of her blood which, among other things, causes brain swelling that can be, and in this case was, lethal. And all for a Nintendo Wii.

I think Robert Browning put it best: “Ignorance is not innocence, but sin.”


Jay said...

I hate radio djs. I hate the insipid talk. I don't know the last time I even turned on the radio, for precisely this reason.

Waspgoddess said...

I heard about that woman dying, it's ridiculous that someone as stupid as that dj was allowed to carry on despite the obvious risks.

I only listen to radio 4, a wonderful British invention, full of wit and sarcasm and devoid of stupidity.