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Read this: What a letdown edition

Jim Zorn, left; at right, Richard Heene and his 6-year-old son, Falcon. (Reuters/Richard Clement; Reuters/Rick Wilking)

Good afternoon, everyone. Despite today's gorgeous weather, we won't blame you for feeling a little blue. What with boys not actually flying in balloons, and the Redskins continuing to lose, and David Letterman being much creepier than you ever could have imagined, Tom Shales knows how you feel.

"Every day, at least in this humble writer's experience, our media disappoint us and our technology fails us," Shales writes. In a country where choices between bankruptcy and foreclosure are very real -- and where we rely on television and culture and media to bolster our spirits and provide essential escapism -- strings of even minor disappointments seem unjust. Says Shales:

Barack Obama was elected partly on the desperation of a people who want something to believe in. If he screws up, heaven help us all, especially we of not-so-little faith.
Please, nobody in public life do anything really incredibly stupid for a while. Give us a rest. Let us concentrate on the really big things that bother us. Then maybe we can have fewer Let-Down Days and once in a while maybe even treat ourselves to a Turn-Down Day.

Elsewhere in today's Style section: Chris Richards on Tim McGraw. Liza Mundy profiles Nobel Prize winner Carol Greider. Blake Gopnik reviews Brian Jungen's exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian. And don't miss Lisa de Moraes' rollicking takedown of ABC and Disney over promotional stunts for "V."

Got any tips or sightings to share? E-mail us: And don't forget to follow us on Twitter: @ReliableSource.

By The Reliable Source  |  October 20, 2009; 11:48 AM ET
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