December 9, 2012

"If this has worked, it's the easiest prank call we've ever made. Your accent sucked, by the way."

Here's the full audio of the prank call that led the person who was fooled by the call to commit suicide:



It's a completely ridiculous Queen imitation, and they obviously expected to be laughed at immediately. They were entirely unprepared for success. And they make it very funny.

How much outrage/blame/consequences should come down on these 2 djs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian?
The London nurse whose shocking death followed a cruel radio prank will be laid to rest in her native India was found dead after she was globally humiliated by two Australian deejays posing as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.
What was "cruel" about it? It's only cruel retrospectively because the woman — Jacintha Saldanha — killed herself, presumably out of humiliation for being so incredibly stupid and careless.

Should pranking end? Howard Stern has been doing calls like this for many years. And what about the prankster who claimed to be David Koch and got through to Governor Scott Walker? Many people found that hilarious. And I'll bet there are people who think it would be hilarious to say: It would have been even more hilarious if Scott Walker had reacted by committing suicide.

Pranking is what it is. Stupid, but potentially hilarious. It has a special role to play in puncturing pomposity, and if you listen through the Greig and Christian call, you'll hear the satire of royalty. Royalty deserves that! I don't know what all went through the suicide's head, but I suspect she took royalty very very seriously. Should we have more seriousness, more deference toward our superiors?

Which way lies suicide? I say more pranking, more satire, more laughs and unseriousness.

And by the way, the suicide, with her heavy respect for royalty, has laid a horrible burden on the very person she presumably intended to show respect for: Kate Middleton. But you know, it's possible the suicide intended to express hostility and to hurt the royal family, which she did, in fact, wound terribly. It should be a time of great joy for Kate and the rest of the bunch, but now everyone is talking about and sympathizing with this previously unknown nurse. There's much more to the story. How was Saldanha treated by her coworkers and supervisors? Isn't that the location of the cruelty?

103 comments:

chickelit said...

It would fun and humiliating to prank Althouse on something relating to chemistry--something which she knows little about.

MisterBuddwing said...

What was "cruel" about it? It's only cruel retrospectively because the woman — Jacintha Saldanha — killed herself, presumably out of humiliation for being so incredibly stupid and careless.

Word has it this woman was from India - is there absolutely no difference between picking on a native British/English speaker and someone from overseas?

I recall the recent story of a prankster who targeted a couple of Asian tourists, taking full advantage of the fact they didn't know English well - harmless fun?

You decide.

Ann Althouse said...

"It would fun and humiliating to prank Althouse on something relating to chemistry--something which she knows little about."

The way to avoid humiliation is to be aware of what you don't know and never purport to know what you don't know. That's something I'm good at. You don't realize how good I am at that... because I'm that good.

chickelit said...

I think you're very good at deception, Althouse.

LYNNDH said...

Did they ever say "Queen"? Or just "Grandmother"?
Some that laughed at the prank to start with forget that the security for the Royals needs to be tight, for the Irish IRA would think nothing of killing them.

john said...

Mr B - you don't make sense.

If it was a phone call, how would a prankster know if it was answered by a full British citizen who came from "overseas", or a full British citizen who came from London? By the accent??

MisterBuddwing said...

I also remember the charming story of a man who, aided by a young woman, would call couples on the phone. The young woman would pretend to be the couple's daughter, beg for help and end up screaming into the receiver before hanging up.

Of course, it's good to know that the Professor is self-aware enough to avoid being taken in like that (if only because, unless I'm mistaken, the Professor doesn't have a daughter).

Ann Althouse said...

"Word has it this woman was from India - is there absolutely no difference between picking on a native British/English speaker and someone from overseas? I recall the recent story of a prankster who targeted a couple of Asian tourists, taking full advantage of the fact they didn't know English well - harmless fun?"

First, listen to the audio. I suspect you haven't done that.

The pranksters -- who were themselves from "overseas" (Australia) -- didn't target someone they thought was vulnerable on language skills. They called the hospital -- a hospital elite enough to be taking care of the Duchess -- and they spoke to the person this extremely elite hospital had chosen to be their voice on the phone when their number was called. The pranksters "targeted" an elite, trusted, chosen gatekeeper.

If this hospital had in fact hired someone who was completely unsuitable to the job, it wasn't the djs fault!

DADvocate said...

The call itself seemed relatively harmless. But, as someone mentioned in a different post, was this some sort of violation of the British form of HIPA?

When I worked a mental health center, we couldn't say whether or not a person was a patient with us, whether or not they were on our premises, or any other information, no matter who was calling, including family members.

Hospitals seem to be able to give out whether or not a person is a patient and connect a phone call to their room, but not give out room number or patient condition.

How was Saldanha treated by her coworkers and supervisors? Isn't that the location of the cruelty?

It certainly seems possible her job could have been threatened and prospects for a new job in her field slim. It's hard to imagine her immediate co-workers harassing her too much, but her supervisors may have harshly reprimanded her. Being from India may have compounded any misunderstanding on Saldanha's part.

MisterBuddwing said...

If it was a phone call, how would a prankster know if it was answered by a full British citizen who came from "overseas", or a full British citizen who came from London? By the accent??

You're right. No way to know.

Ever see that TV commercial in which a man is tricked into believing he missed out on a big prize at a supermarket checkout counter because someone asked to cut in ahead of him, and he let him?

How can we know that the victim wasn't desperately in debt and saw a chance to climb out of that debt appear and disappear instantly before his eyes? We can't, of course.

So that makes it OK.

Ann Althouse said...

"Did they ever say "Queen"? Or just "Grandmother"?"

Again, the audio of the whole thing is right there, so you really should listen. The djs are fun-loving and give the listener many opportunities to see it as completely ridiculous, which is why the 2 nurses who respond seem so beyond-belief stupid.

I think the criticism needs to be directed at the hospital for hiring incompetents.

If these are the people protecting Kate, imagine the care other people are getting.

These djs are mere scapegoats.

Put the blame where it belongs.

(And the woman who killed herself is responsible for killing herself.)

kentuckyliz said...

If the hospital didn't train her properly about patient confidentiality, isn't it the hospital's fault and not the nurse's?

If British HIPA is that strict and locked down, I doubt a nurse would be put on the phone at all.

So WTF happened that this nurse ended up on the phone at all?

EDH said...

I don't know what all went through the suicide's head, but I suspect she took royalty very very seriously.

"I'd like to think that the last thing that went through his head, other than that bullet, was to wonder how the hell Andy Dufresne ever got the best of him."

rhhardin said...

The US now forbids prank calls on the air, except if somebody calls you with a wrong number, that call is fair game.

Imus Tom is dead (real audio)

Engineer Lou used to pass along the odd wrong number.

Feb 1, 2005

The humor is Imus dealing with the passive aggressive lady, and going meta and mocking himself for the history of those bits.

virgil xenophon said...

DADvocate (and Ann) put their finger on it when wondering about the possibility of Supervisory pressure/job-threats/reprimand. Of course the Hosp will CYA on this, so we will never know, but if I were a betting man--and I am--I know where I would put my money to explain a large part of the motivating factors that explain the Nurse's action.

Jaske said...

Prank calls are definitley very common on radio shows, there is one local station in my area that does several a week. This one is pretty tame compared with some that I've heard, and I don't think the DJ's should be blamed for this woman commiting suicide.

Off topic, but the cruelest prank I've ever seen was the Japanese sniper prank.

http://harrojapan.blogspot.com/2012/12/japanese-prank-sniper.html

MisterBuddwing said...

(And the woman who killed herself is responsible for killing herself.)

We've all seen "The Fisher King," haven't we? Jeff Bridges plays an acerbic shock jock who at one point fields a call from a regular listener, a disturbed fellow named Edwin. Edwin bemoans his inability to find love and vents his fury at the denizens of a yuppie bar. Jeff Bridges tells him, "They're evil, Edwin. They're repulsed by imperfection, horrified by the banal... everything that America stands for!
They must be stopped before it's too late. It's us or them."

Whereupon Edwin takes Bridges' "advice," goes to the bar and shoots up the place - and himself.
And a horrified Bridges, watching the story unfold on the TV news, sees his broadcasting career go out in a hail of bullets.

If anything like this happened in real life, would we hold the Jeff Bridges character totally not at fault for what happened? Would we instead put 100% of the blame on Edwin?

rhhardin said...

Put the blame where it belongs.

(And the woman who killed herself is responsible for killing herself.)


The audience for blaming is entertained by the narrative blaming the DJs.

That's why it's there.

That audience has to up its game.

Jane said...

Should pranks be stopped because they caused this suicide? No. But for the most part I find pranks exceptionally non-funny and generally mean-spirited. Maybe it's just me -- I also don't understand why the Three Stooges hitting each other is so hysterical, or why the people taking spills in the America's Funniest Home Videos or similar shows are so comical.

Chip S. said...

You seem to be rejecting any question of comparative negligence, Althouse.

Pranking people you know, or have a good idea about, is good fun. You have a pretty good idea of how they'll react.

People generally understand that you've got to consider the potential downsides from people's reactions to being pranked. E.g., you should be careful about pranking old people, since the chance that they'll go into cardiac arrest is nontrivial. And you'd have to be a borderline sociopath to prank patients in a mental hospital.

In general, I don't find radio pranks to be funny, b/c they seem intended to get cheap laughs from credulous strangers. And in this case, it appears that the jocks found a black swan of credulity and vulnerability.

Ann Althouse said...

"Should pranks be stopped because they caused this suicide? No. But for the most part I find pranks exceptionally non-funny and generally mean-spirited. Maybe it's just me -- I also don't understand why the Three Stooges hitting each other is so hysterical, or why the people taking spills in the America's Funniest Home Videos or similar shows are so comical."

Imagine the pushback if you proposed banning the 3 Stooges!

There is no humor that reaches everyone. Charlie Chaplin had detractors.

phx said...

Personally I'm not much for pranks or practical jokes. Not a big fan of the 3 Stooges either.

Hagar said...

The audio has nothing to do with Ms. Saldanha; she was just the switchboard operator who patched the call through to the Duchess' ward.

Furthermore, the police has just noted her death as "suspicious." They have no immediate indications of either suicide or homicide; the lady may just have keeled over from a heart attack.

It is unfortunate that Ms. Althouse contributes to the world-wide eexercise in jumping
prematurely to unwarranted conclusions.

Ann Althouse said...

"You seem to be rejecting any question of comparative negligence, Althouse."

This isn't a negligence case, but if it were...

You're trying to talk about ethics, not negligence.

If you want to talk "comparative," talk comparative PR.

That's what's going on here.

The emotional manipulation around suicide is on the surface. Let's penetrate.

Coketown said...

They're both too attractive for radio, anyway. This might be the break they've been waiting for.

And yeah. The nurse overreacted. Who commits suicide over something like this? I doubt that divulging details of Kate's morning sickness is a capital offense in Britain. But that's a nurse for you. They overreact to everything, and their solution is always to just plug in an IV and panic.

So next time I call the butcher to ask if they have pigs feet, or the grocer to ask if they have Prince Albert in a can, or a random number to ask if their refrigerator is running--I do each of these at least once a week--should I be on guard in case one of them decides to blow their head off because the notion of being HAD was just too overwhelming? NO! What a sick, twisted society we would live in if we had to guard our sense of humor because the most probable outcome to its expression was suicide.

Pogo said...

Killing yourself over a prank seems incredible.

But India is a shame-based culture. And if she grew up under those tenets, humiliation may provoke suicidal thoughts.

Celebrate cultural diversity.

MisterBuddwing said...

What a sick, twisted society we would live in if we had to guard our sense of humor because the most probable outcome to its expression was suicide.

Tell that to the DJs. Word has it they're undergoing intensive counseling.

James said...

Is such pranking even legal in the U.S.? Radio deejays certainly don't do it anymore and I recently heard two prominent Milwaukee deejays say it was now illegal to call someone and put them on the air without their knowledge. Perhaps they were referring to an FCC regulation rather than an actual law.

The person who called Scott Walker wasn't an on-air personality and the call was recorded rather than broadcast live.

I remember living in New York in the early 80s when Don Imus regularly pulled such pranks.

James said...

With a name like Saldanha I'm guessing she from Goa rather than the actual sub-continent. I worked with several Goans at the U.N. and they all had Portuguese last names and were staunch Catholics.

Shouting Thomas said...

Everything and anything that causes any harm to anybody should immediately be prohibited.

Because that will fix the problem.

dogzilla said...

I think pranks are generally cruel and stupid rather than amusing. Much of what passes for humor anymore doesn't seem terribly funny.

Not everyone is thick-skinned or clever.

Naturally, the hospital must review its protocols with staff to prevent any further loss of life or compromised patient privacy.

Blaming the dead nurse, or absolving the the DJs...I don't have that answer. This story has simply caused me to reflect upon where my own impact might be cruel or hurtful, and resolve to do things differently.

MisterBuddwing said...

Everything and anything that causes any harm to anybody should immediately be prohibited.
Because that will fix the problem.


I hear you. It would be absurd to ban driving just because someone might get hurt in a traffic accident.

But if I caused harm with my car, and I was found to be negligent, I'd have to face the consequences, wouldn't I?

Chip S. said...

Shouting Thomas said...
Everything and anything that causes any harm to anybody should immediately be prohibited.

Change "prohibited" to "properly priced" and you'd have a decent argument instead of a silly strawman.

It'd be a tautological argument, but at least sensible.

James said...

I looked it up and there's a fairly recent FCC rule and stations can be fined up to $25,000 for violating it:http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/broadcast/telphon.html

"The Commission's rule regarding broadcast of telephone conversations is set forth at Section 73.1206 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. § 73.1206.

Pursuant to this rule, before recording a telephone conversation for broadcast, or broadcasting such a conversation simultaneously with its occurrence, a licensee shall inform any party to the call of the licensee's intention to broadcast the conversation, except where such party is aware, or may be presumed to be aware from the circumstances of the conversation that it is being or likely will be broadcast. Such awareness is presumed to exist only when the other party to the call is associated with the station (such as an employee or part-time reporter), or where the other party originates the call and it is obvious that it is in connection with a program in which the station customarily broadcasts telephone conversations. "

Clyde said...

I'm glad that I don't listen to stuff like that. I can find my humor elsewhere, thank you very much, and the time I spend driving around can be put to better use listening to sports talk radio, political talk radio or music.

If you like it, well, knock yourself out. It's a free country, for the moment.

Libertarian Engineer said...

@Jane - The Three Stooges are in a controlled setting with no real victims. It is acting. As a six-year old growing up watching them and other 'violent' shows such as Looney Toons, I knew the difference even then.

OTOH, I agree that pranking can be taken way too far. From simple embarrassment at being the butt of a simple joke; laugh at yourself, for Pete's sake. To truly destructive mean-spiritedness where only the cruel would be comfortable.

I think that 99% of the time it is easy to tell the difference. When in doubt, be nice and do the right thing.

The Blonde is, IMHO, correct in her perspective on this thing. The pranksters were obvious; the gatekeeper incompetent. And what stable person would commit suicide in these circumstances?

Inga said...
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Inga said...
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Inga said...

The nurse may have had a passive aggressive desire for revenge to harm Kate for placing her in a position of great shame. What a sad and strange mark to place upon that baby's head.


john said...

Back on the block when us kids used to prankcall grocers with "You got Prince Philip in a can?", and we hardly ever got the punch line because we were by then rolling on the floor with laughter and spitting our milk out our noses; but being kids we never considered that some of Prince Philip's British subjects might become extremely distraught at his being trapped so.

Coketown said...

Tell that to the DJs. Word has it they're undergoing intensive counseling.

No. Word has it their station is offering intensive counseling as a face-saving measure. And probably any counseling they're receiving is to cope with the sudden outcry and death threats rather than their guilt over an unstable nurse offing herself.

Chip S. said...

What a sad and strange mark to place upon that babies head.

I'm visualizing you as Madame Defarge talking about the Evremondes.

Rabel said...

Hagar points out that the nurse who possibly committed suicide was the switchboard operator. Not the one who was subjected to the silly accents and chatter between the "Queen" and "Charles" other than the initial one sentence request. She was filling in temporarily at that position and most likely was instructed to forward calls to the appropriate ward.

I have to say that calling her stupid and incompetent in this situation seems a little ugly. Possibly Althouse misunderstood which nurse was the suicide as the second nurse should have seen through the prank.

Coketown said...

Oh my GOD! Ah hahahaha! HAHAHA!!!! Those two are hilarious! "When are you going to walk those bloooody corgis?!" Come on! What dopey sticks in the mud don't see the humor in this? They have great on-air chemistry together, too. If I were in my car listening to that I'd be delighted--perfectly delighted.

I hope they return to the air. And I hope their station streams their segment online, because I would be an avid listener. We shouldn't be shamed into giving up such great cultural fodder because some people are too sensitive.

William said...

I think the British royal family is one of the most elaborate practical jokes that's ever been played on humanity. The joke is wearing thin. It's cruel to make that befuddled old woman dress up in all those ridiculous outfits....I get the joke and see how silly it all is, but too many people, like this nurse, are not in on the joke. "Yes mum, we gave her an enema and now have a bedpan full of jewels to add to your collection."

AReasonableMan said...

Rabel said...
I have to say that calling her stupid and incompetent in this situation seems a little ugly. Possibly Althouse misunderstood which nurse was the suicide as the second nurse should have seen through the prank.


I agree with this, only I would say extremely ugly given the misunderstanding on the part of Althouse regarding this woman's role in the affair. My sympathies go out to this woman's family. She was no doubt psychologically fragile but few people can reasonably expect to experience this level of humiliation and ridicule in a normal life.

Mitchell the Bat said...

A society is judged by how it treats its most gullible members.

Rabel said...

I'll add that tying up hospital resources, even momentarily, for fradulent and self-serving reasons is a despicable thing to do.

Not funny at all.

edutcher said...

Of course, the 2 morons who convinced a couple to have sex in St Patrick's and then phone in while they were doing it, were fired but got a satellite radio gig.

Ann Althouse said...

you'll hear the satire of royalty. Royalty deserves that

They do?

As Americans, we may think that, but the British royal family embodies all the traditions of a country a couple of thousand years old in which a lot of its citizens still take a lot of pride.

Lefties and other uneducables aside, it would be a little like lampooning Pearl Harbor over here.

Shouting Thomas said...

I think the British royal family is one of the most elaborate practical jokes that's ever been played on humanity.

Read Mark Steyn's latest on the relative costs to the taxpayer of the British royal family and our first family.

dc said...

"And the woman who killed herself is responsible for killing herself."
The responsibility lies not with the person who screwed up but with the person or organisation that can be sued for the most money.
Althouse should know that
What kind of lawyer is she anyway?

Derek Brown said...

You postulate (I wanted to say spout of) all the time about theology despite having no idea what you are talking about.

leslyn said...

Althouse said....And I'll bet there are people who think it would be hilarious to say: It would have been even more hilarious if Scott Walker had reacted by committing suicide.

Can't think of any.

You seem to be erecting a moral, or at least ethical double standard.

The nurse's reaction, if she did commit suicide, you say was "for being so incredibly stupid and careless." And you speculate additional, completely unsupported nefarious reasons at the end of your post. In other words, you paint her as, in simple terms, a bad person for dying, perhaps even a perpetrator.

Yet you imply that if Scott Walker had killed himself due to his phone prankster, Walker would be a victim. And that any hilarity at his death would be from bad people.

So: the nurse was a bad person, but Walker would have been a victim.

There have been a few commenters that have treated the nurse's death with hilarity--what of them?

You advocate more pranking, more hilarity.

So are those commenters who make fun with the nurse's death good, while those who would jeer because of Walker bad?

I think you pick your victims. Those you see as weak can be torched; those you favor must be protected.

In other words, you're a bully.

leslyn said...

Coketown said,

What a sick, twisted society we would live in if we had to guard our sense of humor because the most probable outcome to its expression was suicide. (Emphasis added.)

Do you really believe this Coketown? That your pranks should be protected even if you knew that the object would be likely to commit suicide?

leslyn said...

Althouse appears to forget a basic principle in negligence, that is: you take your victim as you find them.

Hagar said...

Again, to date no evidence has been published to indicate that Ms. Saldanha did not die of natural causes.

And when my sister recently was hospitalized for a medical emergency in England, I was very relieved to be able to talk to the nurse on watch to find out how she was doing.

Chip S. said...

I was very relieved to be able to talk to the nurse on watch to find out how she was doing.

You raise an important question.

How do prank calls to hospitals affect the future willingness of nurses to talk to strangers asking for information about patients?

Leland said...

I don't blame the DJ's for the death. That is definitely not of their doing. Otherwise, it is still fraud. The nurse is trained to take care of patient's health. The nurse doesn't need to be trained in media relations to aid the patient. If the DJ's were punished, the NHS could save money from hiring employees to handle media relations for those rare occasions when a member of royalty needs care and thus some extra special treatment unrelated to healthcare.

Hagar said...

After this, I think it unlikely that I will be able to either find out about her condition or pass a message that I have called.

And I think this whole thing would be a non-story, but that the call came from Australia and Rupert Murdoch grew up in Australia, and you see how that works?

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Obviously the nurse had other preexisting problems (mental problems) if she was that quick to commit suicide over a prank phone call. Imagine if everyone who ever received a prank phone call killed themselves! Most of us would all be dead.

Give the DJs (who were in the wrong place at the wrong time) back their jobs and move on.

Cedarford said...

There are already a lot of
"pranks" that society has said merit really tough punishment on the freedom-loving prankster out for a laugh

1. The old false fire alarm prank.
2. The ever-funny calling a co-worker posing as a doctor saying lab errors in her tests indicate now she has cancer and she needs to go to the hospital IMMEDIATELY for further tests. How humiliated will she be when she learns she was suckered!!
3. Bomb hoax calls can be very funny prank to some people!
4. Texting the husband a woman you despise with a prank "tip" she is sleeping around can be ridiculously good fun if hubby buys into it.
5. A clever prank like editing a video to make someone look like a racist is pretty neat.
6. Posing as a cop and pulling people over for field sobriety checks is a laugh,,,so why is that so illegal!



Palladian said...

I relish the opportunity to say this: I agree with Zachary Paul Sire!

Palladian said...

The British, however, are not very good at moving on.

Palladian said...

Elton John will eventually write a moving tribute song about the nurse.

Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
enderud said...

Listening to these two morons giggling as they made their call, I found nothing that would amuse anyone with an IQ above 80.

Ann Althouse said...

"I have to say that calling her stupid and incompetent in this situation seems a little ugly. Possibly Althouse misunderstood which nurse was the suicide as the second nurse should have seen through the prank."

Nope. I knew it was the first one.

Ann Althouse said...

That's why, for example, I said (in the comments): "The pranksters -- who were themselves from "overseas" (Australia) -- didn't target someone they thought was vulnerable on language skills. They called the hospital -- a hospital elite enough to be taking care of the Duchess -- and they spoke to the person this extremely elite hospital had chosen to be their voice on the phone when their number was called. The pranksters "targeted" an elite, trusted, chosen gatekeeper."

Hagar said...

AND THERE STILL IS NO INDICATION MS. SALDANHA COMMITTED SUICIDE!

Ann Althouse said...

Leslyn said "Althouse said....And I'll bet there are people who think it would b'e hilarious to say: It would have been even more hilarious if Scott Walker had reacted by committing suicide.' Can't think of any."

Oh, bullshit. In Madison? Give me a break. After all the hatred expressed toward him during the "uprising." And note that I didn't say if he actually committed suicide. I said they'd laugh at the joke of saying "It would have been even more hilarious if Scott Walker had reacted by committing suicide." Madison is full of people who would laugh at that joke. I wrote it out because it was so obvious people around here would go for that wisecrack.

"You seem to be erecting a moral, or at least ethical double standard. The nurse's reaction, if she did commit suicide, you say was "for being so incredibly stupid and careless." And you speculate additional, completely unsupported nefarious reasons at the end of your post. In other words, you paint her as, in simple terms, a bad person for dying, perhaps even a perpetrator. Yet you imply that if Scott Walker had killed himself due to his phone prankster, Walker would be a victim. And that any hilarity at his death would be from bad people."

Seriously, you need to read better. That's all just so badly thought out that I am not going to pick it apart for you.

But I will say what I've said many times about suicide: It is murder. The killer should be called a killer, and killers are held responsible even when other people have made them angry or sad. I know it upsets people to hear that, but I want the message to reach the people who might contemplate suicide: You will be committing murder. It is morally wrong.

And it's a hostile thing to do to other people.

Ann Althouse said...

This theater of sympathy for the self-murderer encourages suicide.

Stop it.

Joan said...

Palladian, these days come few & far between, but I also relish them. Zachary's right, completely -- no need to say more.

Inga said...

"How do prank calls to hospitals affect the future willingness of nurses to talk to strangers asking for information about patients?"

12/9/12 1:45 PM

Nurses in the States know that the quickest way to be disciplined or fired is to violate HIPAA laws.

Coketown said...

Do you really believe this Coketown? That your pranks should be protected even if you knew that the object would be likely to commit suicide?

I can't imagine a possible prank one could pull where the LIKELY outcome would be suicide. Even the college student who jumped off the George Washington bridge when his roommate recorded his one-night tryst. That was an obvious case of him overreacting. Really. He'd rather die than be embarrassed. There's no helping people like that.

If you can name a single prank that one could pull in which the likely outcome is for the target to COMMIT SUICIDE over it, please fill me in. My imagination doesn't soar that high. But I think you're just continuing your habit of being a dumbshit, speaking out of your ass--or heart--rather than thinking first.

Amartel said...

The pranker on Howard Stern made some spectacular calls over the years, including the one during the OJ standoff. Also some really dumb ones just to keep his name alive I suppose. I haven't listened to Stern since he went on Sirius and started taking himself so serious. Still, fond Bababooey memories of yesteryears.

This poor nurse - something was not right with her to begin with. Which is sad to say since it concedes that cynicism, class contempt, and hardened unaccountability is now the expected norm. OTOH, it is impossible to resist taking a flamethrower to the baying mob of scolds and goody-two-shoers.

MisterBuddwing said...

This theater of sympathy for the self-murderer encourages suicide.

Stop it.


IMHO, simply talking publicly about suicide encourages suicide. Dispassionate news stories about suicide encourage suicide.

And yes, even blog entries that call suicides "self-murderers" encourage suicide.

IMHO.

MisterBuddwing said...

Give the DJs (who were in the wrong place at the wrong time) back their jobs and move on

The *DJs* were in the wrong place at the wrong time?

chickelit said...

It's nearly impossible now to google "prank leads to suicide" without bringing up the present case.

Googling "gay teasing suicide" yields countless hits unrelated to this case.

Hagar said...

But you can google "Saldanha, police" and this comes up:

Police have not yet determined Saldanha's cause of death, but people from London to Sydney have been making the assumption she died because of stress from the call.

RJ said...

DJs who make prank calls are assholes. They are trying to exploit the good intentions or good natures of people.

That's all you need to know.

Grantavius Kennarius said...

The radio station concerned has a history of very dubious pranks. Making a 13 year old girl tell about being raped was their previous low- [actually still their worst 'prank']. One must understand the context of the station's previous behaviour to understand why the Australian public have reacted as they have.

Hagar said...

But does not explain Ms. Althouse or the commenters on this thread. And she, a law professor!

ken in sc said...

India has a high power distance culture (see Hofstede), Australia does not. The idea that someone would be overawed by the thought that they were speaking to the Queen would be lost on an Australian. Many Indians, especially females, would feel strongly compelled to defer to authority--even pretend authority.

Sunslut7 said...

Ann,
The middle ages are over. Its time to wind down the British monarchy and its aristocracy. Its time has long past.

The Windsors are no more relevant to our time than the British Empire. The empire is long gone. It outlived its time.

The commonwealth is a poor substitute. Let the comedy that is the commonwealth end and the monarchy with it.

Let Britain be replaced with four or five or six small republics that are scaled to its resources.

Good- bye, global military force, fare-thee-well MI-5 & MI6, so long imperial relics and culture of yester-year. Let the island races return to their historic and natural federation of small states: England, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Northern Ireland and Manx.

Amartel said...

Duchess Sunslut, 7th of her name, is Not Amused by the lingering twilight of this Evil Empire. It is becoming tedious.
Attention Windsors and Other Island Races and Relics: Disband and return to your prior irrelevancy this instant.
Duchess sez.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't care one way or another about whether the Brits stick with the old remnants of royalty. It's branding. A PR thing, right?

But if they are doing it, real people are involved, and they're getting respect and dignity to the extent that it's the deal that's cut.

Not worth committing suicide over.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

How many deaths did Howard Stern or the guy pranking the doofus WI gov contribute to?

Come on. Bringing up those in relation to this case just underscores how amateurish the Aussie callers are. They misunderstood their audience. Clearly.

FedkaTheConvict said...

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4688596/first-pic-of-hoaxed-nurse-revealed.html

Her London hospital blasted the “appalling” stunt yesterday — as Jacintha’s colleagues reeled. She is understood to have been found hanged.

Her lifeless body was found on Friday at nurses’ quarters next to the private King Edward VII hospital in Marylebone, central London.

leslyn said...

Someone very close me committed suicide. I won't go into their story except to say the that it was tragic. Not the result of a "prank" as it's called here, but of intentional deceit.

The funeral was packed out. People standing, on the stairs, in the outdoor porch. People who had to leave because there was no room even there. In January. That's how much respect this person had.

Call it self murder if you will; I don't care. It was some form of murder.

I respect this person's decision. And I still love them.

leslyn said...

Althouse said,

[Suicide] is morally wrong. And it's a hostile thing to do to other people.

Sometimes, Althouse, you are wrong.

Not just about the situation I mentioned. But several others I can imagine.

You're not the moral arbiter of suicide, nor do you know an individual's frame of mind, nor how the act will always be received.

Coketown said...

Someone very close me committed suicide. I won't go into their story except to say the that it was tragic. Not the result of a "prank" as it's called here, but of intentional deceit.

You're so full of shit. You and Inga both have this uncanny knack for having the pitch-perfect anecdote for any situation. You're regular Sophia Petrillos. Except she at least admitted to making things up.

Petunia said...

Good lord, what a ridiculous post. Ms. Saldanha was not "incredibly stupid and careless". All she did was put the call through. She's not the one who gave out the Duchess' personal information.

"This theater of sympathy for the self-murderer encourages suicide."

Complete and utter bullshit. And unbelievably insensitive toward people who have problems, personal, emotional, mental, and/or physical, that may make suicide seem to them a viable option.

D.E. Cloutier said...

You are forgetting about the concept of face in Asia.

If you don't know about it, you can start here:
http://goasia.about.com/od/Customs-and-Traditions/a/Saving-Face.htm

The woman's suicide didn't surprise me. Years ago, a Vietnamese man killed himself after he received a ticket for a stupid driving mistake in Southern California. And suicides over the "loss of face" are far from unusual in Japan.

Unfortunately, most Australians are almost as provincial as most Americans.

You live in a global village, folks. Learn about your neighbors.

Inga said...

Coketown, who the hell are you to say what anyone says here is true or not? You don't know any of us personally, you know no details of our lives, yet you give yourself the authority to say who is telling the truth or not? You have no special discernment powers.

You don't like personal anecdotes because...why? Don't like people here being real?

I've read your comments now for over a year and you basically don't have anythingof substance to contribute to the conversation. Your dumb humor or snark, or accusations are something you are pulling out of your ass to discredit people here who are sharing parts of their lives. Why don't you try to learn something from those anecdotes instead of attempting to dismiss them as fiction? Because you are a shallow human being, that's why.

shiloh said...

hmm, if Kate miscarries are the pranksters liable ...

btw, "because I'm that good."

Althouse isn't very good at presidential predictions. ok, ok, she never claimed ;) to be good at intuitive presidential analysis. In lieu of astute political thought ((( wishin'/hopin'/prayin' ))) will suffice!

sabeth.chu said...

These two nurses, including poor Ms. Saldanha, did not get into trouble because of royalty. They got into trouble because they were indiscreet, and on the hospital's telephone line too! The college of nurses, or whatever they have in the UK, would have given Ms. Saldanha a reprimand, and the fact would have been entered into her personal file. Also, her mistake was replayed and replayed and replayed to an international audience.
So while it's a convenient place to slam the concept of royalty, it's rather the concept of public shamelessness that's the point of the story.
And of bottomless sillyness too - just think of two peoples who try to harrass a pregnant woman who lies ill in hospital, and end up harrassing a nurse at the end of her night shift, and then everybody thinks that's funny!

Maybeline said...

I agree with Ann about the acceptability of a prank. The difference here is that the prank pulled a person who is not used to dealing with the public eye right into the public eye. And in this age the public eye can be the entire world. It's too much. I am glad that the DJs are taking this seriously. They are devastated.

AReasonableMan said...

It is rare that I am in agreement with the majority of the posters on this site but I agree with the majority that this post by Althouse was more than a little off. Her apparent anger against suicides seems personal rather than rational and completely ignores the role of depression, anxiety and other mental disorders in triggering suicides.

Amartel said...

Coketown is right about the progressive boo-hoo chorus and their pitch-perfect emotional anecdotes. Even if true these anecdotes do not lend credibility. Don't pretend to be an expert just because you once knew someone who committed suicide, etc.

furious_a said...

If anything like this happened in real life, would we hold the Jeff Bridges character totally not at fault for what happened?

To about the same degree of fault we'd hold the more ghoulish bystanders shouting for the man on the ledge to "Jump, already!".

OTOH, a funny prank with an unfunny ending; OTO, the pranksters did the hospital a service by "testing the fences" and exposing a weakness. What if the callers had been, say, an IRA splinter group?

Joe R. said...

I think the history of these DJs is relevant: http://www.tmz.com/2012/12/10/australian-radio-station-2dayfm-kate-middleton-prank-djs-fired-history-of-pranks/
You never know someone's history when you are 'pranking' them. It seems a form of narcissistic entertainment at best and depraved indifference at worst. Regardless of who the target is, you are assuming that you have the right to someone else's time and emotional energy in order to manipulate them for your own enjoyment.

Leland said...

So now we know the nurse hung herself, and it was apparently about the incident. Shame on her for doing such a selfish thing and not thinking about her family.

But I'm happy the DJ's lost their job. If you want to find out the condition of someone sick and in the hospital, have the decency to be honest. Don't trick the staff whose job it is to heal people, not handle lying media personalities.

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