The balloon boy story – starring Falcon Heene as balloon boy and his parents Richard and Mayumi Heene as balloon hoax perpetrators – shines a bright light on the psyche of storm chasers and reality show participants. Is the Heene family an apt representation or an oddity of the genres?
Balloon Hoax Takes in Global Audience
It was impossible to escape the balloon boy story. A six year young boy allegedly got stuck in his father’s weather balloon, and promptly set off into the wild blue yonder. As first responders sought to intercept the balloon boy, news stations everywhere interrupted their programming to give periodic updates on the balloon boy story.
The Los Angeles Times reports that now Colorado law enforcement officials are saying that the balloon boy story is actually a giant balloon hoax, perpetrated by balloon boy’s own parents. The balloon boy hoax was apparently in the works for weeks.
Balloon Hoax Well Planned Says Gawker Exclusive
Adding fuel to the fire, Gawker tells the story of an accomplice that worked with the Heene family on crafting the balloon hoax, minus balloon boy. This collaborator asserts that the balloon hoax was to be an effort to draw the media’s attention to Mr. Heene and his efforts of getting a reality show off the ground. It is fair to say that the Gawker story paints the elder Heene as an egocentric, fame oriented individual, who would take whatever measures necessary to further his ends.
Does the Balloon Boy Story Exemplify the Mindset of Storm Chasers, Reality TV Participants or Does It Point to Something Else Altogether?
Reality TV participants have been maligned for their excesses and the recklessness of their actions, when it comes to featuring their children during the filming of the train wrecks that appear to be their personal lives; one needs to look no further than Octomom or the disintegration of the Gosselin family. Couple this with the fact that the Heene family appeared on “Wife Swap” not once but twice, and speculations are ripe.
Storm chasers themselves have come under scrutiny as well. Mr. Heene identifies himself as a hobby scientist with a penchant for storms. CBS News posed the question a couple of years ago about the kind of personality an individual must possess to face off against storms. Aptly named the “weather paparazzi,” there is a recklessness that goes into this activity that actively opposes millennia of evolution and fine-tuning of the fight or flight reflex.
Enter the third the possibility: the mindset that could conceive of the balloon boy story and then utilize a six year old child in the perpetration of the balloon hoax – up to and including marching the child in front of national television to lie – may be indicative of some of the symptoms that the Mayo Clinic associates with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). If the Colorado authorities are correct and the balloon hoax was just that, will a psychological evaluation of the parents be a step in assessing any charges that may need to be filed?
Balloon Hoax Spawns Balloon Boy Costume
If he is not embarrassed enough over vomiting on television for all to see and hear, balloon boy may soon have a balloon boy costume named after him. Manolith suggests using aluminum foil and a vomit bag. First grade and the remainder of elementary school will never be the same for young Falcon Heene.