In the 1950's, when egocentric a-holes used to puff out their chests and demand attention to their needs their trite little universe they were ridiculed or ignored.
In the 1960's and 70's they were labeled as pompous asses and shunned.
In the 80's people with nothing to offer felt a sense of entitlement for the spotlight, like they should have every stupid thought that transited their grey matter broadcast somewhere important- and we had to listen.
This magnified in the 90's. As the line between winners and losers blurred everyone felt that their two cents were worth twenty bucks and needed to at least be considered.
The internet age brought further validation. Any harebrained idea could find support, if not a legion of adoring fans.
Enter reality television. There are a group of people out there that feel that they are so important and have so much to offer that they need to be front-and-center in the world's most penetrant media. Whether it is swapping spit with another attention whore as you bid for her hand in marriage (with 50 other losers) before dismembering her and stuffing her into a suitcase, or having some loser yell how much a loser you are, reality television is the ultimate brain candy for those with light demands and a tiny appetite.
Now this Heene family is in the spotlight because it sure looks like they faked an emergency to get media attention. The events are documented elsewhere, so I'll not cover them here.
They are elevating the need to be seen despite their absent intrinsic value to the 2010 level- exploitation of existing media as a stepping stone to reality television attention. They faked the disappearance of their son in the balloon and notified the news media before calling 911. Their son came clean with the truth on national television.
The parents met in acting class and have been on reality television before. Their aspirations of their own show drove these decisions that endangered lives and cost taxpayers plenty.
Two solutions. Punish bad behavior. Let little Falcon and his brothers see what consequences are all about. Put them in foster homes with normal parents and lock up the two that are teaching their kids to deceive for face time. Throw away the keys. The parents are breeding another generation bent on promoting themselves to the world, despite having no accomplishments or creative talents that render them marketable.
The other solution is to tune out as a society. Once nobody cares they will all go away. An potential octomom won't take a chance with implanting a dozen embryos as a single unemployed person if she knows that she'll suffer through a difficult life of three sucky jobs to support her children and their care. The Richard Heene's of the world won't pretend their kid is in a wayward weather balloon if he knows that nobody really cares what he thinks and that his best efforts are indeed crap.
As a nation we have raised a generation of idiots and told them that they are important. Then we give them the means to show the world how important they are. It used to be that we had eroded all the way down to sports figures and rappers as having something to offer. Now any idiot that can tape together some mylar gets a week on television.