Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dad Gone Mad

Richard Heene: Fringe Scientist, Bad Dad, Media Mogul? Yeah, I know; dude's in the running for Tool of the Year - but hear me out: In his quest for fame, this Colorado crackpot hijacked the 24/7 news cycle like we've never seen before. By convincing his brood that salvation would arrive via cable TV fame, Heene concocted a plan so brash, so ingenious, so colossally stupid that he got what he exactly wanted and absolutely nothing to show for it. This guy should be a network executive - or a community organizer - or that weirdo on the corner who waves at traffic all day! I can't decide which...

One thing I do know: Heene (rhymes with weenie) is a few grade schoolers shy of a payload. Who else would entrust their quest for global recognition to a six year old? Who else would invite the cable news jackals to examine his integrity, knowing he'd hammed it up badly on not one, but two episodes of Wife Swap? Who else would sit by idly talking live(!) via satellite to the likes of Meredith Viera while his youngest son hurled into a cup? Hey, John Gosselin's got more class that THAT! But sextuplet abandonment aside, the henpecked half of John and Kate ain't got nothin' on our floppy banged man of the hour. For while he pretty much proved himself unfit to raise gerbils, let alone three young sons, admit it: dude grabbed the attention of a planet!

Mere moments after Heene phones the media first and the Po-leece second, the world took note. Cable news anchors rushed to their sets, deejays lunged for the microphones and newspaper folk kicked themselves for not having better traveled websites. But that didn't stop the unwashed masses. They took to their Twitters, touched up their Facebooks. Suddenly humdrum status updates featuring sandwich choices bristed with dispatches about Balloon Boy. Balloon Boy: authorities hadn't even spotted the Mylar abomination in the sky before a global catch-phrase was set aloft. It would be ours before late night talk show hosts could sink their teeth into the term, but the snark was already racing across the fruited plain. So too were news crews, desperate to join the chase, giddy that such a sensation had swept through their Thursday afternoon. WHAT was Heene thinking?

Hard to know. By all accounts, the man is a moron. He created the perfect shitstorm and all too soon it came raining down upon him and his family. Whole theses can and will be written about what and how he did it, but I'm more taken with why. Dude wanted fame. He got infamy. He yearned for riches. He's getting ridicule instead. Heene deserves every bit of it and while he may end up being a mere footnote to the fall of '09, he represents a new breed of interloper. Never before has it been so easy to manipulate the mind of Mother Earth. Not with overly-social websites, a rabid press and every other taxpayer sporting a telephone that can jack into and ratchet up the mindless media maelstrom...

Now if you'll excuse me, I gotta work on my robot girl. Wait 'til the world gets a load of her...

3 comments:

HokiePhotog said...

Is your robot girl any relation to this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukSvjqwJixw

Anonymous said...

Heene might be a jackass and a moron, but he has a PhD in messing with producers. I work at a Denver local and, by the Grace of god, had Thursday and Friday off.

arky said...

How was he able to get TV stations to follow him before he'd even called the police or FAA? If I answer the phone and someone says, "My son is trapped in a runaway flying saucer," my first thought would NOT be, "Quick! Let's start burning chopper fuel before we even check with authorities!"