An afternoon of hot air

First, there was a flying balloon with a boy in it.  Then the balloon landed, but there was no boy.  Then aerodynamics/ balloon experts said the balloon could never have carried the boy anyway.

Then there was a basket which had been possibly attached to the balloon with the boy in it – and it was caught on tape falling off.  (That is to say, it was either a basket, they said, or a speck of dust on the camera). Then the experts said maybe the balloon could carry a boy after all.

Then there was no basket either, and the boy (Falcon Heene) was all along in his own home.

Meanwhile, the National Guard had been called in, helicopters and special aircraft were operating rescue missions,TV cameras were following the balloon every second on live TV  and the experts were gabbing nonstop, even if they were contradicting each other and themselves every few minutes.

Falcon Heene with his father (pic: CNN)

Falcon Heene with his father (pic: CNN)

If this does not make any sense to you, well, it doesn’t to me either.  But this is the sum total of four hours of non-stop, breathless reporting all afternoon by both CNN and MSNBC.  Balloon boy (in various forms) was also trending #1, 2, 3 and 4 on Twitter, and I’m sure millions of hours of productivity was lost today by people watching TV at work.

Sigh.  Does this country have nothing better to focus on?  Why is it that we don’t find the health care debate  (or any other serious issue) as riveting as a balloon boy who wasn’t ?

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17 thoughts on “An afternoon of hot air

  1. “Does this country have nothing better to focus on?” – as you may notice on TV right now – its not over yet 🙂 And about the country having nothing better to do – well, maybe there was a car chase or two that you missed.(in ref to your own tweet)
    CNN would have a competitor in India – India TV or Aajtak i.e. would vouch for perfect competition! Right?

    • You’re right, at least the news anchors don’t yell 🙂 If this was in India, the boy could have followed the live coverage right from his garage hideout.

  2. I barely watch any television, and I’m not on Twitter, so I felt a little bit like Rip van Winkle waking up after his long sleep when I read this!
    Anyway, a very happy Deepavali to you, your family and your readers!

  3. This is pretty ok considering what we get here. If this happened over here, all of this would have happened. And they would have a five member panel discussion. where all of them would shout.

    One of them would take on the government.
    Another would defend the government
    Another would be a security expert
    Another would be a culture czar
    another from an NGO.

    And they would talk. long after the balloon landed. And the boy went home. Sigh !

    • Pretty much the same thing happens here, I suppose, except you have separate cable channels for these categories 🙂 (one to defend the govt, another to oppose it)

  4. Lekhni: Most people on Twitter were using it as Friday humour which annoyed others who said “as the parent of… blah blah”. A LOLorado series of jokes emerged then died out. I quoted Paul Simon (It was a slow day; And the sun was beating;…These are the days of miracle and wonder; don’t cry, baby, don’t cry) and there on filtered all the tweets out. I do feel sorry for the kid amid his publicity/TV-fame seeking parents and the TV cameras. But that’s “reality TV” for you unscripted, unedited, uncensored, and leaving you with a feeling that Christmas should come early so these silly season headlines can fill the new vacuum we seem to feel periodically.

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