Filed under: Media Literacy, Propaganda and Disinformation
An Armchair Analysis of Teen-Age Booby Trap: 1970 US Government Comic Book on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs
by Ethan Persoff
There’s an old joke played with food, popular with kids. Goes like this: You hand someone a piece of something to eat and just as they are about to take a bite, you say a word completely opposite to what they’re about to taste. Example can be handing them a piece of creamy chocolate, and saying the word: ‘Glue’ or ‘Toenails’ right as they are chewing. It works every time. The brain struggles for half a second, and the experience of tasting is affected. This form of tampering is not just child’s play. It is a highly effective means of affecting somebody’s experience before they attempt consuming something.
Imagine reading a food review saying a restaurant got you sick. Would you eat there? For over fifty years the US government has played this suggestive food game again and again, creating a number of pieces of dishonest art and text about the consumption of mind-altering drugs. The high-water mark for both cautionary messaging and artwork can be found in a little known (but highly sought-after) comic book produced in 1970 by the US Bureau of Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs, entitled Teenage Booby Trap. Scans of this entire document are available at http://www.ep.tc/teenageboobytrap/