In the news

Posted by Rob Walker on January 12, 2010
Posted Under: America

Where, Larry King asks, is the real flying saucer?

I think that’s the phrase he uses, “flying saucer.” His guest is that guy Richard Heene, the guy at the center of the “balloon boy” thing. I first heard about that “story” by way of some report that it was all a hoax. All America was transfixed by this event, and it was a hoax! That’s what the story said. I had no idea what it was referring to. “Balloon boy”? I guess I was busy at the time.

Anyway so that was weeks ago. And now there’s this Larry King rerun, and I’m not really watching because I’m doing some tedious computer work, and if I understand correctly, this guy, Heene, is on his way to prison. But first he’s stopping by Larry King, to more or less imply that it wasn’t really a hoax; it was a misunderstanding. Or something.

Now he and Larry King are standing in front of what has just been described as replica of the “flying saucer” that this guy claimed his kid got into, and floated off into the ether. Only that didn’t rally happen. And so now he’s going to prison.

So: The police have it. That’s Heene’s answer to the question of where the real flying saucer is. King nods. When is the last time Larry King actually gave a shit about the people he talks to, the stories they tell?

The guy, Heene, is very animated, describing the object that he and King are standing in front of. This is a replica of an object that was briefly believed to be involved in a bizarre incident that in fact did not occur.

For a minute I look at the television set, stop what I’m doing. I’ve not laid eyes on Heene before. He has a very strange haircut. Larry King’s posture isn’t so great. But I guess he’s pretty old.

I have no idea what Heene is talking about. He says he didn’t do anything wrong. He looks wounded.

I should describe the “flying saucer.” It’s a big, silver…. Um…

…. Um, who fucking cares? What difference does it make what it looks like? Is there a prop department at CNN? I guess there must be. What does that suggest about the nature of information distribution, of news, today? What is like to build a prop … for the news? Who is in charge of making sure that the simulacrum of the thing that was at the center of a hoax – of a non-event – is, you know, up to snuff?

Where, Larry King asks, is the real flying saucer?

The answer, obviously, is that there is no real flying saucer.

And, somehow, that fact, that nonfact, is why we are here.

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

Beware of people who name a child “Falcon.”

Written By Michael Dawson on January 13th, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

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