We’ve suffered a serious loss, and frankly, someone has to offer the public a degree of transparency. The time is now to look down, not up, at tragedy. The balloon is dead. Groggy and sleep-deprived as I am, I feel it is my job as temporary spokesperson on behalf of the feelings of America to open a discussion of our common grief. Last night, a segment on cable news featured a clearly manic, distraught “special news” correspondent who was assigned the unfortunate task of puncturing our beloved balloon. Yes, savagely ripping apart the metallic sacred mascot of America’s hope. It was a display piercing far more than that: it was the eviscerating, on live television, of giddy freedom, marking the end of my personal passion for a joyous revival of the music group, The Fifth Dimension, and the reintroduction of the late 1960’s tune, Up, Up, And Away, in becoming the new American theme song. (God, I miss the voice of lead singer, Marilyn McCoo. But that’s a subject for a happier time). As a professional and a citizen, let’s just say I’m not happy about this lost inspirational token, the humble balloon. All of us who witnessed the violence of last night’s televised event understand exactly how ugly this whole situation turned out to be. Who will ever forget the exposed interior of a shattered balloon containing a jumbo portion of Jiffy Pop(coated in a smug, mocking artificial color)? But here’s the real kicker: with the balloon’s disappearance from center stage and the family now seated on a couch in close-up, it is possible that the real brains behind the operation is the balloon kid, himself. It is entirely possible that within the unscripted, ruthless outburst of a child, the now infamous,”Who The Hell Is Wolf?”, we may not only have spawned the new American sport of balloon watching, but at the same time may have revealed a new world of psychology, key to the understanding of small children. Is it possible that balloon boy is the sophisticated originator of the “reality show” plot, and not his father, who everyone accuses? For all we know, balloon boy could well be the Dick Cheney to his father’s George W., the silent mastermind of the arguably nefarious. Let us not judge a person by his age and certainly not by height or weight. The child has already raised unanswered questions, apart from how much child is in the child, as well as who truly are the children in our society. We are also left with the mystery of whether we know anything about anyone, really, including all television anchors, not just the ones who have animal names. Stay tuned.
Archive for October, 2009
A quick media glance this morning reveals the top two contenders for media coverage in something I will call, What’s Up, America. Today’s installment: Health Care vs. Balloon Family Investigation. It’s a free country, and we each have the inalienable right to choose our personal favorites between competitive headlines. Personally, I’m going with the balloon family. The characters are creative, fun, loose; more original, it certainly seems, than those who star in the Health Care cast. (This is notwithstanding Pelosi, the President, himself, and the exceptional performance of a background cast of idiots who equate basic health care justice with the inevitable murder/wipeout of the American grandparent). I believe that the balloon family’s relevance wins the day for their sheer innovation in Family Public Relations. It must be noted, both inside and apart from the advertising industry, that this family excels at low-budget campaigns that deliver big. If investigators are correct that the metallic balloon served as nothing more than a hot air prop for an outright diabolical lie, then everything, not just the balloon, is up for investigation. We are left to watch in wonder, like children gazing into vast blue skies for lost balloons, at the ever-increasing piles of cash and resources– government, legal, justice, media–deliberately used daily to “float” this pageant of the suspicious balloon. American Health Care could use a piece of that money.
“When you consider how dangerous everything is, nothing is really very serious”. That was the quote on a postcard I saw in Paris on my first trip to Europe when I was 17. The quoteur: Gertrude Stein. I remember asking myself, “What does that mean?” “Carpe Diem”, living life to the fullest, was my answer then and now, when I am fluid enough to remember it. Today, I’m thinking that a lighter note in life is a very good thing. Sure, it’s easy to rant about the hugeness of the news story of the so-called Balloon Family(little boy lost/ believed to be in flying ballooon/ little boy found) and how mesmerizing it is for America. (Pilot for a new reality show, anyone?) But that would be to stray from a much-needed break; a lightness of being. Sure, you can spin this story off into psychological, societal conclusions that don’t look good on anyone. Yet that would be entering a state of negativity and loss; the loss of sweetness that is there, also, in the story. We don’t need to dwell on the continuing news coverage/alerts day after day, or question whether there is a scarcity of other news to report, when what would be nicer is to breathe and imagine yourself floating in the air, sort of like a balloon… The symbol of a balloon blowing uncontrollably in the winds of fate. Letting go. The inevitable question of where–or who– our children really are at any given time need not intrude. The wondrous conclusion of order, connection, and love is the thing! Not to mention the visuals. The beautiful, metallic sheen of the balloon itself is, in its own way, a message of light, hope, and possibility. Let us linger on a lighter note.
Apparently, evidence of Obama’s promise of change is rolling in—like a Canadian penny down a foreclosed driveway. Exhibit A: A brand new law that requires acts such as gay bashings to be termed, “hate crimes”. I’m not great with advanced math, but what year is this? Do we need to define what hate looks like or the is-ness of hate? And while I’m on the subject, isn’t the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that aligns with gays not being welcome in the military specifically one of the chief perks of being gay in this country? Am I missing something? It turns out that some people actually care about what’s inside the high-gloss package, Mr. Obama, and if it’s empty, or ever sent by you via messenger, like, say Reverend Wright, well, people do remember and future celebratory cigars will be based solely on hard facts. Speaking of cheesy gift wrap, what a pre-Xmas gift to the world that Obama was chosen for the Nobel Prize. His war agenda will potentially forever be juxtaposed against what the Prize used to represent. (You know, peace). While lovely oration is a fabulous change from what polluted us before, I am both dispirited by Obama’s actionless posing as I am also cheering him on to act.
How clever of the Administration to refocus our terror on something they call, “The State of the Economy”.
The vigilant night-owls among us have never been fooled: economy, be damned. It’s always been the State of the Comedy that imperils us potentially. When Sarah Palin stepped away from the public mic, I must admit to a trickle of negative projection. Where, oh where, would we find the comedy? Let’s face it: Obama, though quick to deny it, is not a funny person. Joe Biden’s soggy delivery is quaintly clownish, but we all know where that leads. And so, with a heavy head, I turned to Jay Leno @10. Here’s the mystery: Did Jay mean to be upstaged by the anti-smoking pharmaceutical commercial, or was it, as I suspected, written and smuggled in by a competing team of ex-NBC comedy writers? Anyway, I’m on the case, and am greatly cheered by the talent displayed particularly in the last 5 minutes on possible side effects. Brilliant to include psychotic dreams in with the usual sudden death potentials. Comedy is alive.