‘Balloon Boy’ parents in search of fame

November 4, 2009 — by Izzy Albert and Tiffany Tung

The artist Andy Warhol once said, “In the future everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes.” As for the Heene family, 15 minutes of fame is just not enough.

On top of appearing on two episodes of “Wife Swap,” a show on ABC Family, the Heenes were in the process of developing their own television series. In an effort to secure this deal, Richard Heene, the father, planned the “Balloon Boy Hoax” to get the media’s attention. And the media’s attention did he get, but not the attention that he was expecting.

When the youngest son, Falcon revealed that the family had “done it for the show,” the family’s plans for a television show blew up in their faces, and America learned that television is not what it should be.

Is it really worth gambling away one’s pride in order to achieve fame? The over-reported “John and Kate Plus Eight” situation is a prime example as to why one should put one’s private life out in the world as entertainment, especially that of a reality show. It’s not worth it. And still, the Heenes were willing to ask their children to lie for them so they can get their own television show. Then again, the parents did meet each other at an acting school. Although building a balloon and saying that a child was in their was quite an ingenious idea, tricking America for one’s own selfish motives is just wrong.

Because of the disturbing length Richard Heene went to try and achieve fame, and forcing his children to lie to the police and nation, Child Protective Services has been contacted. This is both good and detrimental for the children; good because their father is psychotic, and detrimental because their lives will never be the same, and all hopes of staying a happy family are likely to be gone.

Parents are supposed to care for their children. Exploiting them and tricking the public eye is not only misleading, but also illegal, and since the incident occurred, the Heenes’ case has been sent to their district attorney. Unfortunately, with the media coverage of the hoax, America will still be staying tuned regarding the results of the case and whether charges will be filed. The Heenes got the media that they were looking for, but they must be regretting their decision now.