Balloon Boy Saga is Instructive

For those of us who watched the live feed of the so-called Balloon Boy drifting aimlessly over the flatlands of eastern Colorado, our hearts were in our throats. How long could the little boy survive? Is he warm enough? What if he crashes? What if he runs into power lines? How can they bring the thing down safely?


Now we know the truth. The boy was not in the balloon. And we have not seen a warm and fuzzy American family with an uplifting or amusing story of an experiment gone awry, but a creepy, manipulative bunch that is cold and unlovable. There even is talk of domestic abuse by the father. And now Americans who watched the story unfold feel duped and angry for putting so much emotion into it.


In interviews, the Heene family is off-putting. Because they are a certain type of family that is oriented only toward the media and themselves. Like your neighbor who takes her daughter to every beauty pageant within 500 miles and barely has time for anything else except becoming rich and famous. Show-biz people. Narcissists. You know, like Hollywood liberals… totally out for themselves.


The Heenes are publicity-seekers egged on by their egomaniac father. They apparently have many videos on YouTube as a ‘stage family’ seeking the media spotlight; the father is said to be super-permissive allowing his kids to burp, fart and curse in the house; they have been involved, through the father, with the infantile storm-chasing of tornadoes, hurricanes and thunderstorms and are reported to sometimes sleep with their clothes on in order to be prepared to get up and go; they were twice involved with the mother-swapping TV program on ABC called Wife Swap. And the father has been described by an acquaintance as a guy who is seeking to get rich with his family’s media exploits.


And if you wonder about the toxic effects of such a lifestyle not only on the kids but on the parents as well, think about the thousands of aspiring actors who flock to Hollywood every year seeking fame and fortune and who come away traumatized and disappointed. And if you study the psychoses of even the successful ones in Hollywood, you understand that this obsession with fame can ruin you.


Think of Jon & Kate Plus 8. Or Michael Jackson. Or other media hounds like Britney Spears who annihilate themselves as they attain their life’s dream. It is hardly a healthy way to live your life, particularly for the kids.


Richard Heene, the father, is a patently un-engaging persona. His media interviews have shown a guy who seems cold and curiously lifeless.  But wait, there’s more! He is one of those ‘inventors’, you know, the guy who thinks he has an idea that is going to make him a zillionaire overnight. In fact the balloon that floated away was said to be one of his dopey ideas – a ‘commuter balloon’ that people could use to get to work to avoid crowded highways.


And where have we seen that kind of stuff before?


Answer: On the back of a comic book…


In other words, another moron inventor like the guy with the electric fork or the lunchbox lock or the hamster-powered exercise device that you buy, use once and then put it in your next tag sale.


We are supposed to see people like Papa Heene as a salt-of-the-earth American, a creative genius who is struggling to invent The Next Big Thing to spur on our economy. But if you look at the history of American patents, you see two types of inventors – a handful of serious people with real ideas that change the world; and then the 99% of inventors who are just tinkerers, dreamers, and in many cases kooks like Heene.


Nobody really knows yet what happened precisely to lead to the events of October 15, but it is all pointing to a publicity stunt and a hoax. The Heenes may become very famous as a result, but already the plan may be backfiring big time. Because after the boy, Falcon Heene, was found hiding in a box in the attic, they asked him why he had not responded to their calls after the  balloon had departed. He said that “You said… that we did this for a show”, apparently implying that he hid because there was some ruse going on that he was supposed to be part of.


So perhaps the kid is massively confused by the life his father is cutting out for him. And now it appears that kids like the Heenes and hundreds of thousands of others across America have lost touch with reality because they are being stage-managed by their parents. Neither Falcon Heene nor his two brothers seemed like anyone that you could be excited about emotionally. They looked like props or gypsy kids who are out to con you.


When Papa Heene was questioned further about what the little boy meant that “we did this for a show,” the father got very nervous and said “Let me interrupt this real quick because I can see the direction you guys are going.” His behavior since has been even more bizarre. In other words, he may have gotten himself in deeper than he planned and may end up liable for many of the recovery costs as well as criminal negligence.


This episode really is indicative of where we are headed as a nation. Because there are millions of people like the Heenes out there. In polls, frighteningly large numbers of young people literally say that they believe that they are going to become the next big rock star or actor because we live in such a media-centric world. And the truth is that if you are super lucky you can become famous once on the internet, and then never be heard from again. Or if you are super-super lucky you can make one hot-selling single and then that is the end of the road.


What we are witnessing is the decline and fall of industrious America and the rise of the mirage of easy living. Today the media are teaching people that you don’t want to work nine to five, or make money for someone else, or toil within the system, that there is something bigger out there for you. But few can attain that kind of glamour and many are destroyed trying.


Because that is not the way the world works. But somehow, we are supposed to want that. And that is a very dangerous thing because people are sacrificing their entire lives for something that is largely unattainable, a media illusion. And rather than contributing to society in the most humble and ordinary ways, those people become dependent on society as a whole to prop up their big egos and their far-fetched dreams, often with disastrous results. Just look at the Heene family for proof.


Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.