October 27, 2009

Balloon Boy

Richard Heene and the entire Heene family are a bunch of asshats. There. Post complete. Cactus out. Talk to you tomorrow.

Okay, wait. This isn't the time for me to become less verbose.

Beth and I were in NYC, getting changed out of our rain-soaked clothes and ready for dinner on a couple of Thursdays back when we flipped on the TV and saw the Balloon Boy story unfolding. Both Beth and I called bullshit immediately (actually we called whatthefuck first, then bullshit). At dinner that night Marshall filled us in on the latest - that the kid had been hiding in the attic the whole time. We still called bullshit. More.

I don't say I'm awesome or toot my own horn a lot. Because that's creepy and uncool. But I will say that I'm adept at three things - I can spot a hit song a mile away, play a pretty mean guitar, and I'm a good judge of people. (Oh, wait, I've got a nice ass. But this isn't about my ass.) The first two things are irrelevant (though the Balloon Family did release a single via YouTube that you should really check out if you, you know, hate music and love seeing people embarrassing themselves in front of a global audience) but I kind of knew from the moment I saw him that Balloon Dad was full of shit. And I'm somewhat amazed that anyone believed the story at all. I put a lot of stock in that whole do not judge lest you be judged line of reasoning but sometimes judging is okay (and fun). That's why I'm comfortable saying Richard Heene and his wife are terrible people.

These are people who used their children in the hopes of personal gain. These are people who diverted emergency manpower and resources as well as public sentiment in order to satisfy their desire for fame. These are people who told their kids to lie to cops. These are people who made the television talk show rounds for nearly 48 solid hours in the aftermath of this potential tragedy, keeping their kids up all night and early in the morning to do so and not relenting when Balloon Boy puked on camera. Instead of taking a break, they got him a bowl.

It is unbelievable to me what some people will do for fame. Especially considering the consequences. Have Jon and Kate taught us nothing?

(Hey, where are you going? That's not rhetorical - have Jon and Kate really taught us nothing? Why is everyone so anxious to be famous? Have you ever wanted to be famous? For what?)

Posted by Chris at October 27, 2009 6:52 AM

I caught the story late. Came into it just before the crash landing.
My BS moment was when the video of the "accidental" launch was aired. Really? How convenient to have had the camera rolling.
I watched that video with the sound off, and the dad was completely acting. You could tell by how often he looked at the camera.

Posted by: Roses at October 27, 2009 7:28 AM

I only read about it while I was at work through CNN but it smelled fishy from me as well. I kept saying to people at work, he's probably playing at a neighbors house and nobody has bothered to check.

Once it all came out, I was pissed. In NH if you go up into the mountains with a Tee Shirt and shorts on in October, expect that if you need to be rescued you are getting a nice bill from the state. Criminal charges as well as restitution for the manpower that it took to try and "rescue" the boy is indeed needed.

Posted by: Dee at October 27, 2009 7:55 AM

We were on our way to an appointment so I read it on my (aren't they awesome?!) IPhone. When I read that the older brothers were watching it take off/inflight from the roof I called bullshit. THEN I heard WIFE SWAP and I totally called double bullshit.
I take just about everything I see/hear with a grain of salt. Especially anything to do with reality tv! My husband's employee told us we HAD TO watch some video on YouTube - a guy thought he won the lottery! but it was a fake ticket! but he didn't know it! he called his boss and called him names and quit! and told his wife he hated her! We found it, I watched like 5 seconds and told my husband his employee needed his head examined if he actually thought that was real.
People will do anything to get noticed.

Posted by: NancyJak at October 27, 2009 7:55 AM

That made international headlines, by the way - the BBC had full coverage and it even made the Dutch news. What were they thinking?

Or is it a question of all publicity is good publicity? ... Children are not a currency in that.

I have no interest in being famous. I'll settle for recognition for when I've done something good. Now just to come up with said deed. :)

Posted by: Hannah at October 27, 2009 8:03 AM

It took me all of about 20 seconds to say "publicity stunt". What about what the parents are teaching those kids!
I saw a smidge of the last episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8 last night with Kate answering questions. They asked her what she wanted to do now that the show was over? She said, "Go into show business". You mean, she hasn't been already?

Posted by: Maribeth at October 27, 2009 8:18 AM

Yep, I thought the same thing myself. And when the boy slipped during the interview, I nearly wet myself laughing.

Um, yeah, we can't comment on your butt dude.

And I would love to famous for writing a best-selling novel!

Now what about you??

Posted by: Theresa at October 27, 2009 8:49 AM

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm one of the gullibles who was sick to my stomach until they found the boy in the attic. I just could not shake that image out of my head of that little boy suffocating up there in that balloon. I cried for him. I cursed the parents that were so unfit that they left a six year old alone with that sort of temptation. I went straight to bad parent without making the mental leap to publicity stunt. So I am now doubly outraged by the parents. I can't even wrap my head around that desire. Or the ability to use your children to meet it. They are the perfect example of one of the major things that are wrong with America right now. Stupid fame monkeys. I believe they need to be billed for the rescue services without a doubt.

Posted by: Sara at October 27, 2009 9:40 AM

Oh I am so with you on this one. I missed all the hubbub on Thursday (working) but Friday morning, he and the family were on the Today Show and Matt Lauer was talking to them, and Heene did ALL the talking. The wife was apparently not allowed to speak. And at one point, he started to get choked up and say "maybe I am too rough on Falcon." And I cried bullshit. He was playing every one from the start. Asshat...perfect description.

Posted by: Candy at October 27, 2009 9:49 AM

Normally, i am pretty quick with discovering a fake. But I just could not imagine any parent doing this! Awful!

Posted by: Nadine at October 27, 2009 10:26 AM

I wouldn't mind being famous for actually doing something, music or writing or whatever, but I wouldn't want to be "everybody knows you on sight" famous. That just seems like a pain!

Posted by: Heather at October 27, 2009 10:30 AM

I heard about it but didn't really think about it much. I mean, kids disappear and are maligned every day. Horrible, but that's where my mind was on Friday. Oh, and I was developing H1N1, so that's my excuse for a lack of humanity.

When I heard on Sunday it was all fake, I just went, "Oh, figures."

I hate the news crews for considering it worth air time in the first place when thousands of children are missing and exploited in much more awful ways that we need to prevent.

I hate the parents for feeling their children are chattel that they can do with as they please.

Chris, if it's any sort of brotherhood/sisterhood bond that I feel with you, it's the bullshit meter we have. I've been complimented on mine by people I don't know very well who are in positions of power. I think mine has made me glad I don't have a TV anymore, though. It keeps making too much noise every time I turn a TV on.

Famous? I'd like to be remembered for solving a real problem or bringing some sort of enlightenment to the world. But if not that, I'd be happy being a rock star. ;)

Posted by: alektra at October 27, 2009 11:14 AM

I saw it late when they were looking for the boy. To see it all unfold since has made me sick as it has been a non-stop story for the most part in The Denver Post. I'm just following it in the paper, I can't follow nonsense like this on television.

As for Jon and Kate, I feel those two need tons of therapy and a timeout. They need to get their act together and realize how much this constant news media blitz and back & forth is going to negatively affect their children. Divorce is hard enough on kids under normal circumstances.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at October 27, 2009 11:19 AM

so i took one look at that balloon and assumed it was an attempt to make people think they'd seen a flying saucer gone wrong.
but i have to admit that i did NOT believe that the boy being in the balloon was supposed to be part of the original hoax. for one thing, i thought it would be impossible to get a kid with that apparent level of ADHD to comply with a scheme. and when i saw the video of the launch i thought the family would have been idiots to voluntarily provide additional evidence of their own hoax.
and then it turns out the poor kid couldn't handle the scam and messed it up. and the family WAS that idiotic...

Posted by: kati at October 27, 2009 11:25 AM

I would want to be famous for a real talent like computers, music or sports, but nothing else. If given the option to have my 15 minutes of fame in the form of "news" I would gladly take a pass. The thought is sickening, really. I value my privacy too much for something lowly to invade it.

Posted by: Brad at October 27, 2009 12:19 PM

I would want to be famous for a real talent like computers, music or sports, but nothing else. If given the option to have my 15 minutes of fame in the form of "news" I would gladly take a pass. The thought is sickening, really. I value my privacy too much for something lowly to invade it.

Posted by: Brad at October 27, 2009 12:19 PM

I was one of the sheep who believed it until I learned of the family's background, etc. And I'll admit, even then I withheld judgement...in the back of my mind, there was a shred of plausibility even considering the boy's "for the show" comment. I guess I'm a truster. :) But having read about the affadavit in which the mother admitted everything, I'm livid about how much of everyone's time and how many resources they wasted, playing with the emotions of dummies like me worldwide who were watching the live coverage in abject horror. And of course the teaching children to lie part. What a disgusting, moronic stunt.

I'd want to be quasi-famous for art or music, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. ;)

Posted by: reen at October 27, 2009 2:16 PM

I want to be famous for winning a HUGE lotto mega millions jackpot and making donations to charities....

Posted by: Rose Winters at October 27, 2009 2:37 PM

Have J&K (I can't type out their names in full) taught us nothing? Clearly not if we're still talking about it - or the next "it".

I am reminded of the jingle Lisa Simpson wrote: "Just don't look! Just don't look!" And then the giant logos-come-to-life just die off.

Now the SIMPSONS! The Simpsons have tried to teach us loads. If only we would listen...

Posted by: harmzie at October 27, 2009 3:15 PM

the mr. and i called bullshit too. we may have also indulged in a few 'those crazy Americans' eye rolls.
i have a feeling there is going to be a whole generation of university students who write their thesis' on all this stuff.

Posted by: Cri at October 27, 2009 3:26 PM

I've wanted to be famous before, if it's a result of a particular skill or talent. Who doesn't want to be "the best" at something.
But the whole balloon boy stunt? That was horrendous. Fame at that kind of a price shouldn't be anyone's desire.

Posted by: Amy at October 27, 2009 9:18 PM

I also called bullshit from minute one. And was embarrassed that the entire country dropped everything to watch that fucking Jiffy Pop container fly all over.

I never EVER want to be famous. I can't stand being scrutinized, and I'd probably tell someone important to go fuck themselves on live TV. That's just who I am!

Posted by: Stephanie at October 27, 2009 10:03 PM


Posted by: Angela at October 27, 2009 11:36 PM