Heather Michon

Heather Michon
June 25
Follow me on Twitter @heathermichon

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 20, 2009 9:03AM

A "Balloon Boy" Apologia

Rate: 11 Flag
Now that the "Balloon Boy" saga has been well and truly uncovered as a hoax, I've had to seriously question my blog post of last week. Should I rescind what I wrote? Delete the entry? Apologize?

After a lot of re-reading and soul-searching, I can honestly say: no.

I still believe that developing-news stories like the alleged Flight of the Falcon show that there is still a warm, beating heart in our body politic. We may spend most of our time screaming and shouting and carping at one another about this or that, but when confronted with stories of fellow citizens in peril -- particularly the smallest and most fragile of our citizens --  our default position is concern.

Maybe that just means I'm a huge sap, but it gives me hope that we're not quite out of steam as a culture or a people.

I still believe that it's hypocritical to damn the "info-tainment" culture while tuning in by the millions. A TV comes with a handy little device called an "off" switch. You can use it, or not. Ultimately, the choice is yours. There's plenty of "real" news and quality entertainment out there, provided you want to take the time to seek it out.

I still believe that same hypocracy is seen in our attitude towards those who seek the limelight. In this case, it's clear that Richard Heene's desire for fame is just part of a wider personality disorder, and that he needs serious and sustained help if he's ever going to be a decent father or husband, but he represents the most extreme end of the spectrum. There are hundreds, even thousands, of otherwise sane individuals who simply want to escape anoymity. While most of us will never try out for "American Idol," how many among us can say we really want to live out our lives as invisibles? 

And yes, I still believe that Falcon Heene is a naughty little monkey. Just look what he did to his daddy's grand plan.

Well done, young man. Well done.


Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
While you may still believe that developing-news stories like the alleged Flight of the Falcon show that there is still a warm, beating heart in our body politic, I think it shows the lack of critical thinking in the media and the viewers.

My sister-in-law and I came upon this story late in the day while searching for something else on the web. We briefly browsed the story and the video and looked at each other kinda perplexed. What's the big deal here, we said? And even with my old fractured physics education, I could tell that clearly, there was no one in that balloon. This is so fake, I remarked.

The media hyped the story because they knew you guys would come. I think it was irresponsible reporting. But I am going to put more of the blame on the media, because I have higher expectations of them. Yeah I know, hope spring eternal...
I feel really bad for these kids. I wonder about the mother too. Is the father running this show (ie. his family)? It's not funny to pull a prank like that for publicity.
Indeed well done young man...hopefully we will see some good come out of this for these kids. (Rated).

And, I do like your perspective that we all "were in it together" for a few collective moments. I am thankful the authorities continued to pursue it further.

In terms of the media, I am still undecided...it seems silly to be thankful for the moment of common shared decency and then horrified by all the "attention" being paid to it. However, I think many people don't want to live a life of publicity at the level of television, I think that is about degree. I would be happy to be recognized by my family and friends, as I think many other might too. Just a thought.
Have you seen Jeanie Moos' report on CNN? The outtakes before the family's interview with Wolf Blitzer have the little guy asking his father, "Who the hell is Wolf?" Yes, he said it. If anything, these parents need to be sentence to parenting classes.