Ohhhh Colorado. My beloved, beloved Colorado. Why do you have to be in the news because of Balloon Boy? Why can’t we just talk about the pretty mountains and the lovely people and the funky neighborhoods? Balloon Boy (but mostly Balloon Boy’s parents), you SLAY ME.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, let me update you on the story (from memory, without sources, because I’m lazy): for one whole day everyone was terrified because they thought an adorable little boy whose family was on “Wife Swap” had floated away in a giant fake UFO. People spent all day staring at the Colorado sky and wondering, “Is this every kid’s dream, or every kid’s nightmare?” (My answer? Dream, assuming he lives.) Then the balloon/fake UFO landed near the Denver International Airport, and Balloon Boy wasn’t inside. Everyone was all “Ohhhh shit. Did he fall out?” But as it turns out, Balloon Boy didn’t fall out. Instead, he was hiding inside a box in the attic, because his dad was mad at him for playing with the giant fake UFO, or so they said. Then, in an interview, Balloon Boy provided a very suspicious response to the question of, “Why didn’t you come out of the box even when you heard people looking for you?” He answered: “You guys said that, um, we did this for the show.” (Okay, I swiped that quote from a NYT article. I’m such a legit journalist.) In the end, everyone realized that we were dealing with some bonafied crazies, and that the entire thing was a publicity hoax, allegedly because the family was making a bid for reality show stardom. Now we hate Balloon Boy’s family, because they toyed with our emotions.
Seriously, though. I think that’s why everyone is mad. The Heene family’s story elicited all sorts of real emotions from people across the country — from fear to excitement to sympathy, surely, for that little boy (not least because his name is Falcon) — and then stomped all over them. The situation sort of mocked us: “GOTCHA GOOD, suckers! It was all a hoax!” No one wants their emotions messed with. One time, Korean Correspondent Walshy (who is currently hanging out in my apartment while I’m at work, courtesy of a cancelled flight from our beloved United Airlines) told me that she didn’t get into the study abroad program that she wanted, and I felt awful and comforted her and then she was all, “BAHAHA, kidding! I got in!” I’ve still never forgiven her.
The point is, we Americans don’t like to be tricked. And that the punishment for tricking us might be felony charges. Lesson learned!
[Posted by Mallory]