Schmuck of the Week

Gary Faulkner, if you think Osama's put a bounty on you, you really are crazy

The vote is in: Here's our latest Shmuck of the Week:

Bend over, media. You -- and by "you," I mean "us," too -- have been enabling self-proclaimed Osama hunter Gary Faulkner. With Greeley's latest micro-celeb now claiming bin Laden's put a hit on him, the story's gone from entertaining to stupid in record time. And you -- and by "you," I mean "we" -- are to blame.

It was funny for a while -- and kind of astonishing to watch Faulkner, in a CNN interview shortly after returning from Pakistan, get so worked up that he practically exploded all over the network's duty-doing correspondent.

And we were still on-board when he declared on CBS' Early Show that he'd been planning to bring Osama back to the U.S. alive. (How? Never mind...) And the way he likened himself to bin Laden by referring to the pair as "two heavyweights" on the David Letterman show was chuckle-worthy because Dave treated him like a joke, and that was fine by us.

By then, however, the shtick had started to wear thin -- and when Faulkner told the New York Post the next day that he was in terrorists' cross hairs because of his commando mission, it tore once and for all.

"They want me as bad as I want him," Faulkner told the Post. "My family has already been instructed where not to go, what not to do, because of safety concerns. The last thing I want to hear is that any of my family members were slaughtered."

No need to worry about that. The only person probably after Faulkner now is Balloon Boy dad Richard Heene, who no doubt feels his title as Northern Colorado's top loon has been unfairly stolen.

Gawker recently suggested that Faulkner would soon wind up with his own reality-TV show -- one that would make him the equivalent of Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Please, God, no.

In the meantime, Faulkner has won the "It's All About Him" award from the New York Times. But that's not nearly as coveted -- and appropriate -- a prize as Shmuck of the Week.

Take that, you stupid media (and by "you," I mean "us").

Find more Shmucks in our Shmuck of the Week archive.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts