Oct 19th, 2009
It sounded too farfetched to be true – and it was.
Falcon Heene, better known as “Balloon Boy,” wasn’t in a large, shiny mushroom-shaped balloon floating about his Colorado neighborhood. And he wasn’t hiding in a box in the attic Tom Sawyer-style due to an honest 6-year-old’s fear of reprisal, either.
As he put it to Wolf Blitzer when asked why he didn’t come out during a massive, publicized hunt for him, “we did it for the show.”
It would seem that Heene’s parents staged the stunt to improve their chances of appearing on more reality TV, having already appeared twice on “Wife Swap” and having recently been turned down by TLC on a pitch for their own reality series.
The Balloon Boy T-shirts tell a tall tale appropriate for such a publicity stunt, with the designs reflecting the narrative arc: the initial sensationalist headline leading to general support and then the finer details, then moving into seeming resolution before the shocked realization that it had all been a hoax (and then into those finer details), to, finally, the annoyed acceptance that comes with realizing that you (and a shocking number of media outlets) have just wasted countless hours of mind share… and it’s high time to move on.
Indeed, if you managed to miss the near-constant coverage of Balloon Boy, here’s a collection of T-shirts that pretty much gives you the entire story. Save yourself some time and let the T-shirts do the talking:
UPDATE, part DEUX (10/27): the Heene family is now calling for a “criminal action” against the Sheriff in the case, who they claim has violated their rights by speaking publicly about an “alleged child welfare investigation.”