Friday, 16 September 2016

Death is Like a Happy Balloon (1973)

Death is Like a Happy Balloon by Dr Cassandra Henge was one in series of books published by Bullyrag Books who specialised in introducing children to alarming topics without alleviating any of their readers' fears. Other books in the series included Totalitarianism is Like a Merry Smile, Slaughterhouses are Like a Paddling Pool and Organ Failure is Like Fudge.

Death is Like a Happy Balloon contained a subliminal trigger word, as is used in hypnosis and psychological conditioning. The idea was that if there were any future social problems - overpopulation, revolution, widespead idiocy, a disproportionate number of old people - the government could use the trigger word and cull a whole generation by activating overwhelming suicidal thoughts.

The state carefully chose the word (a neologism, unrepeatable here for legal reasons), so that it would not trigger an unintended suicide epidemic.

In 1975, however, a UN human rights inspector was sent to the UK to interview alleged victims of state brutality. His foreign name by chance matched the trigger word and thousands took their lives following a television broadcast about his visit.
It was later revealed that the government had specifically requested the inspector by name. Additionally, it had total control over the broadcast's contents and when it was aired to ensure that it reached the maximum number of viewers.


  1. In the 21st century, they refer to this as "the Liverpool Pathway" because Liverpool is a horrid place full of layabouts and foreigners who we all wish would die now.

  2. R D Laing was at the forefront of what he called, "epistemological balloon constriction". The balloon being the symbol of the individuals struggle against conformity.
    Of course his theory was rejected after a particularly tragic experiment involving a hydrogen filled weather balloon and a vulnerable young Norwegian boy called Tog went hideously wrong.

    1. I think Togs father was the dwarf in the singing ringing tree

  3. What storybook is the man on television reading? And does it also contain the word "urlap"? Oops, let's pretend I didn't say that.

  4. I read this with my eyes, it made me wish I was dead.

  5. Good old Eammon, he always loved to read to the aged. Another great charity worker passed.