The video maker known as madtimeinmadison admits via email that his latest offering is "kind of over the top and dramatic but my idea was to scare people...." It might just do that.
The video, posted last week on YouTube, makes a series of shrill statements prompted by a recent report that Madison's water contains chromium-6, a known carcinogen. Statements like, "I pay 5,000 fucking dollars in property taxes every year and I can't even drink the water without getting cancer - stomach cancer?"
This is the video's main message: People who drink the water in Madison will get (graphically depicted) stomach cancer and die. Viewers are urged to call the Water Utility and mayor's office to complain about the "poison running out of the tap," and to consider not paying their taxes.
The man behind madtimeinmadtown, who doesn't want to be named (no wonder), says "anyone who knows me is not going to take [the video] that seriously," but adds that he considers it to be a serious issue.
Tom Heikkinen, the Water Utility's general manager, calls the video "long on fear and short on science," adding, "I do not think it is responsible to spread fear and misinformation about the safety of Madison's public drinking water supply."
Heikkinen notes that the Water Utility has just begun its own testing program for chromium-6, and directs residents to a city website (PDF) which concludes that the levels of this contaminant in Madison water are "not believed to result in any known or expected risk to health."
Watching madtimeinmadtown's video, meanwhile, might make you stark raving mad.