A Lot of Hot Air

Photo: Reuters/KUSA TV

I was in my office on Thursday when our church secretary called me in the see this story about a boy who was trapped inside of a run away helium filled ballon.  Yes, I tuned in on my computer just a few minutes before the balloon landed safely in a fied somewhere in Colorado.  Since then, the police involved in the investigation believe this to be a hoax– a publicity stunt with the hope of “better marketing themselves for a reality television show at some point in the future.”  There will be a lot of talk about this in the days to come about how this happened, and who/what is to blame for this situation.  Let me add to the noise some thoughts on this instance.

  1. Shame on parents who use their children to pursue their goals of celebrity and fame (Jon and Kate- are you listening?).  The Heenes put their children in a position where they would have to lie in order to keep up the hoax.  Falcon- the boy supposedly in the balloon, was so nervous/sick during interviews on Friday morning, that he threw up several times off camera.  What does say about parenting when children are used as a means to reach our goals?  What kind of emotional scarring might occuring in this case- and in the case of Jon and Kate’s children?  Is not the job of parents to raise and protect their children so that they can grow into adulthood with the tools they need for life?
  2. Shame on the media for continuing to air shows like Jon and Kate Plus 8 (or whatever it’s called now), Wifeswap, and the other shows that invade families lives.  To me, Jon and Kate Plus 8 and TLC are the biggest violators here.  Why has TLC continued to air the shows while Jon and Kate headed to divorce?  If the executives cared about the people rather than the bottom line, they would have pulled the plug on this series.  What will happen to the children of the show once the cameras stop rolling?  What will happen to Jon and Kate once the show ends, the complimentary trips end, and money dries up?  For the Henne family- is it too hard to believe that a network would give them a series? (Sci-Fi Network??).  Network executives need to remember that the people in their reality shows are, in fact, people- not property.
  3. Shame on you and me for continuing to watch shows like Jon and Kate Plus 8, 18 Kids and Counting, Table for 12, Wife Swap, Nannie911, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, etc.  Let’s be honest here, we watch some of these shows because we are interested in the train wreck that often happens.  We want to see carnage.  We don’t want to see a family that has it all together.  We want to see someone who is a mess and makes us feel better about ourselves. If we continue to watch these shows that the networks put on, the networks will continue to roll out family after family or person after person for us to watch implode. We are not that far from being the Hennes’ ourselves as we want to feel connected with celebrities and the life they live.  That’s why we tune in each week on the TV.  That’s why we read US Weekly, Star Magazine, and Ok! Magazine rather than being engaged in what is happening in our own country and around the world.   

I have no clue what will happen to the Hennes’ this week.  The authorities are talking about filing criminal charges of some sort.  Let’s hope that no network will show up on their doorstep, and that the this incident can be put behind them as they continue life in the real world.

About Steve LaMotte

Husband and father of three amazing children. Campus Minister of Wesley College in Dover, Delaware. Pastor at Hope United Methodist Church in Dover, Delaware. Elder in the Pen-Del Conference. Fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers. Lover of music that makes hipsters cringe.
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One Response to A Lot of Hot Air

  1. Andrea R says:

    I agree. An interesting thing about the “reality” shows is that they are also FAR cheaper to produce, and require much less “work” than actual written TV shows, so the networks/channels that air them are making even MORE profit than your “Law and Order” or “ER” did. I will admit I used to watch Jon and Kate, basically because of the burning question “How can you possibly keep up with sextuplets and twins?” but after the show where they talked about their relationship disintegrating, I stopped completely. Divorce=tragedy for a family.

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