Monday, October 19, 2009

If !@#$!@ offends you, don't read on. Go back to watching balloon boy.

Act I, Scene 1:

Hey kids, I have an idea. Honey, come in here. You are all going to love
this ... How 'bout if we pull the mother of all pranks on the local police and
media. Let's float that big balloon in the backyard and tell everyone that I'm
in it. You guys get all weepy and cry ... What? What do you mean I'm too big for
the balloon? How do you know weight-to-lift ratios? Look, you're only 6, you
can't possibly understand the complexity of this prank—It is better than
"Punk'd". Oh yeah, well if you're so smart, lets tell them you are in the
balloon. Yeah, I like that even better. We'll tell them that a six-year-old
climbed on the roof, attached a basket to a weather balloon, untied a knot (when
he can't even untie his own shoes), and floated off in a helium balloon. What a
great idea. Plus, on the upside, it really doesn't hurt anyone and we can all
have a good laugh about it later. Maybe we can even get a new reality show. You
know, since that one with the eight kids is going so well. Maybe it can be
called “Nut Job Parent Plus 3”. OK, first things first, go get the ladder to the
storage area above the garage …

How the ^%&%&% do these people get to be parents? Is life really that boring? Is media attention really that great? I mean, it seems to work so well for other families on TV. Last time I checked we had 2 active wars, nuclear armament issues in two totalitarian regimes, rampant poverty in Africa, a potential viral pandemic, healthcare issues, financial struggles, and soaring unemployment rates. Yeah, let's distract ourselves by sending TV helicopters to follow a balloon - in hopes of what? I don't mean to be offensive but why follow the balloon if you don't want the kid to jump? If you are waiting for a safe landing, follow it but don't broadcast it. Otherwise, you are waiting on a kid to jump. Are you ^%#^ kidding me? Thank God I was traveling that day to Chicago to the AGD Joint Council meetings, so I didn't have to struggle with the decision to watch or not.

Quite honestly, other than teaching their kid to lie, I don't know that I put a ton of blame on the parents. If anyone seriously thought that this was going to be a global news event then they have special powers beyond reason. To me, the media and TV shows that foster this kind of attention-seeking behavior should be the ones to pay the fine, and the media should seriously reevaluate what is news. No offense, but does a child's antics in Colorado effect life in Kansas City, Chicago, New York, Orlando, Los Angeles, or London? Why is that newsworthy?

I don't mean to be an isolationist; I know that there is important information that comes from outside my own area that I need to know to be a good citizen of these United States. However, let's be honest, 99 percent of the junk that is on the news has absolutely no bearing on my life and only serves to stress me out—which I'm pretty sure I am doing well all by myself. A major house fire in Albany, N.Y. is very sad, but not relevant in Kansas City. An Amber Alert in Kansas City is very relevant here, but of no use whatsoever in Phoenix, Ariz. A shooting, infidelity, or bad parenting is NOT GLOBAL NEWS!!!!!!! (Much like the postal service, no one really needs national news.) Yes, I know, pining for journalistic integrity and a return to bygone years when people were able to think for themselves is a lost cause–like spitting in the wind. But where does it end?

If someone wants to make an argument to convince me that "Balloon Boy" was a national newsworthy event (not reported after the fact, but reported live), please do. The only thing I can see is that it was newsworthy to aircraft in the area and landowners in the area. Otherwise, newscasters, please focus on news that is relevant to and impactful for me. Now, if you want to start a prayer chain–which, by the way, is the only thing that is going to help if there really is a six-year-old boy in a box tied to a helium balloon—sign me up. But I'm pretty sure the news is not asking for prayer and I'm also really sure that prayer does not require a live feed. Why not go ahead and just sponsor the broadcast.

"This segment of XYZ Global News is brought to you by Party City, where you
can get balloons, streamers, invitations and all your party planning needs. Now,
back to Frank in News Chopper 666. Has the boy fallen out yet Frank?"

As I started writing today, I was going to link to a couple of funny photos and load the video of the 5th Dimension song "Up, Up and Away." But I just got madder and madder as I wrote this. So, we'll leave funny stuff for later. I will also save the dental stuff until next week. As an aside, we had a great meeting in Chicago. I am constantly impressed with the caliber of leadership in the Academy of General Dentistry.

Have a great week.


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