Mind you, a FAN made that thing. Oy. Via.
Today she sent me an e-mail, and has graciously allowed me to share it with you. She wrote it to a radio host who she calls about once a month as the teen correspondent.
What a remarkable young woman:
I probably won’t make it to the chat room or onto the phone to your show tonight because it is “ornament night” here with my host family and I will be covered in glitter glue and fluorescent paint all evening. But I want to put in my 2 cents worth on the sentencing of Balloon Boy’s parents.I’ve just looked at the news story on 3 different sites, and everyone is focusing on whether the punishment is enough. I’ve heard you refer to this as America’s punishment fetish.No one has said whether the kids are in foster care now, if they’re staying with other relatives, or how their parents’ sentence will affect them. And THAT is what matters.My dad left town when I was six and I have never seen him again. My mom went to prison when I was 11 and I have only seen her twice. The state of Texas may be glad they got a minor league drug user (and sometimes dealer) off the streets, but they never gave me or my brother a second thought.That’s not exactly true. The county took an interest in whether or not I was physically safe. But only after I wasn’t.I am becoming an academic superstar in spite of all of the people who think I am a loser because of who my parents are. I love school and I love learning and I have found my own way — but huge numbers of kids with parents in jail never graduate HS and certainly don’t graduate as Texas Scholars with ambitions for the ivy league.I call the family I live with my host family and I pretend that I am an exchange student because I hate the way foster care sounds. But some of the other kids who live here are in foster care. The only difference is that my minister facilitated this “placement” and the county signed off.
The other kids here came through the county first. We are all VERY LUCKY that we’re with a great family and the worst humiliation here is that we’ll all have our hodge-podge home-made ornaments photographed and saved.The Heenes are lousy parents and idiots, but why is the media so obsessed with the conditions of their sentence and don’t even mention what the next 10 or 12 years will be like for their kids? Will they be together?
The parents will have supervised probation from the state, but will they also have supervised parenting? Will the Heene kids have a chance to make their own Christmas tree ornaments with glitter and feathers and green poster board?
Am I the only one asking those questions?
We need a whole lot more teens like this one. I am proud to count her as a friend.
Frank Rich, making a point I’ve been trying to make for years, only he does it so, so much better:
[Y]ou can’t grant blanket absolution to those in the American audience who smugly blame Heene and television exclusively for the entire embarrassing episode. [...]
“They put on a very good show for us, and we bought it,” the local sheriff, Jim Alderden, said last weekend, when he alleged that “balloon boy” was a hoax. His words could stand as the epitaph for an era. [...]
[A]s usual, the news media nursed it along, enlisting as sales reps for the smoke and mirrors.[...]
Next to the other hoaxes and fantasies that have been abetted by the news media in recent years, both the “balloon boy” and Chamber of Commerce ruses are benign. The Colorado balloon may have led to the rerouting of flights and the wasteful deployment of law enforcement resources. But at least it didn’t lead the country into fiasco the way George W. Bush’s flyboy spectacle on an aircraft carrier helped beguile most of the Beltway press and too much of the public into believing that the mission had been accomplished in Iraq. The Chamber of Commerce stunt was a blip of a business news hoax next to the constant parade of carnival barkers who flogged empty stocks on cable during the speculative Wall Street orgies of the dot-com and housing booms. [...]
Richard Heene is the inevitable product of this reigning culture, where “news,” “reality” television and reality itself are hopelessly scrambled and the warp-speed imperatives of cable-Internet competition allow no time for fact checking. Norman Lear, about the only prominent American to express any empathy for little Falcon’s father, vented on The Huffington Post, calling out CNN, MSNBC, Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS alike for their role in “creating a climate that mistakes entertainment for news.” [...]
That circus is among the country’s last dependable job engines. More than a quarter of prime-time broadcast television is devoted to reality programs. [...]
If Heene’s balloon was empty, so were the toxic financial instruments, inflated by the thin air of unsupported debt, that cratered the economy he inhabits. The press hyped both scams, and the public eagerly bought both. But between the bogus balloon and the banks’ bubble, there’s no contest as to which did the most damage to the country. The ultimate joke is that Heene, unlike the reckless gamblers at the top of Citigroup and A.I.G., may be the one with a serious shot at ending up behind bars.
Please go read the whole thing here. Rich nails it.
The original Balloon Boy, Michael Steele, is oblivious to reality. He’s still up there somewhere, floating, humming to himself, checking out the glints of sun bouncing off his faux bling, hoping the press will notice him, and suddenly realizing he gets air sick and has a fear of heights.
You can hear him faintly if you listen very, very carefully: “Hey Heene! Get me down from here! I don’t want my own reality show any more!”
Questioned if whether he’s concerned about the new Washington Post/ABC News poll, Steele responded: “Not really.”
That would be the Rushpublic equivalent of “What Me Worry?”
“What I’m concerned about is how they vote,” he said on CNN’s “The Situation Room.” Steele insisted that “at end of the day you can call yourself whatever you want” – as long voters ultimately choose candidates who favor small government, business-friendly policies.
“That’s at the end of the day where I’m focused as a party chairman,” he continued. “On delivering candidates and delivering a message that empowers people and lifts them up, not puts the government in front of them as the president and Democrats in congress are doing now.”
Yeah, that damn President Obama sure is messing everything up. He must really feel threatened by that 20% who disagrees with him.
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