Monday, February 6, 2023

Not About Chinese Balloons

The only thing more head-scratching about this whole story is the way the media went totally nuts about it.

Apparently this isn’t the first time one of these low-tech devices has sailed over the continent, but for some reason, like a cat being fascinated by a laser pointer, this has set off everyone across the spectrum, and of course there is some whacko in Congress who is calling for Joe Biden to be impeached because he ordered it shot down after it was out over the Atlantic, not before.

I guess we all need a little distraction between Tom Brady’s re-retirement and the Grammys.  It’s winter, it’s cold, the next election isn’t until the fall, and there were no more secret hidden (more likely forgotten) classified documents to be found in Joe Biden’s garage or Mike Pence’s underwear drawer.

Since I am devoting more of my time to writing fiction — plays and the occasional novel — I can see where the line between fantasy and reality is being blurred, and since I’m trying to get my plays produced, it makes me wonder if I’d be better off just cutting and pasting news stories, changing the names to avoid lawsuits, and letting the real people tell the story.  Embellish them a little to make the story plausible and the characters likeable like what I did with the backstory on “Cabana Boy.”  I certainly wouldn’t be the first to do that; the entire Law & Order franchise is based on stories ripped from the headlines, and I’m sure that somewhere some show-runner is trying to figure out how to tie a murder in Manhattan in with a Chinese spy balloon.

Now that I think about it, it really doesn’t surprise me that cable TV and punditry went nuts about the the story of a large bag of helium carrying a Chinese smartphone took over the world for a few days.  The human mind is ever curious, easily distracted, and now that George Santos has claimed credit for being one of the producers of “Spider-Man the Musical,” we have to come up with more crazy shit to keep us amused or enraged until the next new thing comes along.

Note: The poster is from the 1962 Irwin Allen extravaganza “Five Weeks in a Balloon” that starred, among others, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Barbara Eden, and Fabian.

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