« Remembering the Gipper | Main | Media and Democrats Redefining the Term Cloture for Political Purposes »

That great Boston silliness

I know it's been a couple of days since the Great Boston Cartoon Terror Scare, but I haven't been able to comment on it until now.

To sum up, a couple of free-lance "publicists/performance artists" hired by Turner Broadcasting (a division of Time Warner) to publicize Aqua Teen Hunger Force stuck up a bunch of electronic ads for the cartoon around Boston. But they didn't tell officials about it, and had the poor fortune of carrying out their stunt at the same time a couple of potential pipe bombs were discovered. Concerned officials promptly reacted as if the jazzed-up Lite Brites were terrorist devices, and threw the city into a panic.

A lot of people have mocked and derided Beantown for overreacting, and I'm hardly one to stick up for the Massholes. But in this case, I think they reacted properly.

A lot of people tend to forget that two of the 9/11 flights originated in Boston. Also, Muslims in Boston are fighting to build a huge mosque in the city, and have filed a whole bunch of lawsuits against those who have criticized the project. With that history and that tension, along with a whole slew of other factors, a certain "hope for the best but plan for the worst" attitude is not only understandable, but recommended.

The assholes who did the "guerrilla marketing" stunt aren't exactly helping themselves, either. They held a "press conference" where all they would talk about was the dreadlocks one of them wore, and 70's hairstyles in general. And now it's come out that they saw the police reacting so frantically to the devices, and didn't step forward to end the scare -- but, rather, videotaped it.

These two asshats need to spend some serious time behind bars. And the big companies behind their asshattery got off easy with a mere $2-million-dollar settlement.

On the plus side, the Boston emergency crews had a good exercise. And that's better than nothing.


TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference That great Boston silliness:

» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Turner Broadcasting to pay $2 million for Boston scare

Comments (44)

Also, Muslims in Boston ... (Below threshold)
tas:

Also, Muslims in Boston are fighting to build a huge mosque in the city, and have filed a whole bunch of lawsuits against those who have criticized the project.

To me, it would be an overreaction to make a jump from seeing Muslims file lawsuits to assuming that they are planting bombs and resorting to violence. If Boston officials had specific evidence pointing to such violent actions about to happen then it would be a different story, but if the evidence exists they haven't revealed it. Additionally, I think the most ludicrous fact here is that the Light Brite Moonites were hung for 2-3 weeks... Boston PD only noticed the advertisements after almost a month and then decided that they could be pipe bombs? That being the case, if those devices were actually bombs then parts of Boston would have been in flames a while ago.

Sorry Jay, but I have to di... (Below threshold)

Sorry Jay, but I have to disagree with you. Boston blew this -*way*- out of proportion. These same guys did this in several cities all-over the nation, and not one other city reacted like this. Not one.

What you are proposing is that any time someone wants to post something, they have to notify the government? I don't think so.

I think it was brilliant, and they couldn't have asked for a better reaction. $2 million? What did Budweiser pay to run ads during the super bowl? I would bet it was way more than that ... Turner got great exposure for peanuts. The target market for ATHF loves this kind of stuff, and I can almost guarantee it will boost their ratings.

The asshats did prove (with... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

The asshats did prove (without major damage) one thing. Two men with Bio/Chem weapons can kill every living breathing thing in a large city, easy. Sleep well since U.S. intelligence is not longer allowed to track terrorists activity in this country. Thanks dhimmi's.

With that history and th... (Below threshold)
mantis:

With that history and that tension, along with a whole slew of other factors, a certain "hope for the best but plan for the worst" attitude is not only understandable, but recommended.

You do know that the ads (devices?) were on display in Washington D.C. and New York, right? They managed to survive them without turning those cities upside down, and they have a bit of "history and tension" with terrorism too.

Jay, I'm sorry. I think you... (Below threshold)
jocrazy0:

Jay, I'm sorry. I think you've been writing about the cool-aid crowd for so long that some of it must have splashed on you. I have to dis-agree with you on this one, I thing Boston waaaaay over-reacted...especially when they said they were going to charge the idiots with terrorism....for littering for goodness sake!

The terrorists are achieving exactly what they have aimed for - terrorism. When you can get the authorities to jump at shadows every time someone says BOO!, then they have achieved their goal. And Boston's reaction only reinforces that goal. I'm surprise they didn't have a citywide shutdown on that "scare" and declare all waste receptacles strategic infrastructure and post guards on all public trash cans; then ask for homeloan security grants to pay for the tech to monitor the trash.

And I believe its a false argument to imply that because the city is where two of the hijacked planes originated gives them license to over react. What next? Over reaction because someone doesn't like a political poster? Doesn't like flags being put up on buildings? Random street searches because you carry a purse or briefcase? Wait, I think New York already does that one on the subway....

As for the ad agency? They achieved beyond their wildest dreams! Free publicity for a show I never heard of. What more could they ask?

oops. That should be "homel... (Below threshold)
jocrazy0:

oops. That should be "homeland security grants"

I love the blog that you ha... (Below threshold)

I love the blog that you have. I was wondering if you would link my blog to yours and in return I would do the same for your blog. If you want to, my site name is American Legends and the URL is:

http://www.americanlegends.blogspot.com

If you want to do this just go to my blog and in one of the comments just write your blog name and the URL and I will add it to my site.

Thanks,
Mark

To all trolls: if a frog ha... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

To all trolls: if a frog had wings he would not bump his ass everytime he hopped.

The city was correct to rea... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

The city was correct to react to them initially.

However issue needed to be understood and panic ended much sooner. In that sense, the city over-reacted. More incidents of over-reaction will have the public take 'boy who cried wolf' to city officials for when a real threat is found.

In that spirit the two gentlemen need to have the book thrown at them for not helping to end the confusion asap.

It's against the law to falsely pull firealarms for a reason.

This is just like you right... (Below threshold)

This is just like you right wing cult members, blame the two guys and not the company that hired them. This is the same attitude you had on the soldiers in Abu Graib or Scooter acting alone in the Plame case. It's never brought on by the higher ups, it's just the poor low level employess who are responsible for everything. It would be nice to see you koolaid drinkers think bigger and actully follow the money for once. http://thedcparrot.blogspot.com

I believe the law is actual... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

I believe the law is actually going after Turner and his slime outlets. No where have I seen that 'only' the two idiots that placed the devices will pay the price. The two should be hit the hardest because they actually recorded the police destroying the devices and didn't stop what could have caused accidential deaths to emergency responders. If it has occured in SF there would have been wholesale panic.
I believe the 'minor' college type hazing incidents at Abu Graib cost some commanders their career.
One good thing came out of Abu Graib, now prosecutors are putting college students in prison for hazing incidents. I'll bet a lot of left wing students will wish the left wingers had kept their mouth shut. What goes around comes around.

This is just like you ri... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

This is just like you right wing cult members, blame the two guys and not the company that hired them.

Hey Shawn, are you so blinded by your hatred of right-leaning individuals that you can't read entire posts. JayTea clearly states that the big companies got off easy by paying the 2 mil to Boston. Which seems more like extortion to me than any sort of criminal punishment. But it seems both parties are being prosecuted here, so why you chose this particular incident to spew your Abu Ghraib analogy is beyone me.

I didn't know these two imbiciles videotpaed the response. They deserve whatever punishment gets handed down to them solely because of this act. Turner Brodacasting didn't make them do that. They were stupid and will now pay the price.

Jay,I do believe y... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

Jay,

I do believe you are wrong about the city's reponse. Sure when you couple this device with an actual pipe bomb threat or whatever it was that set this whole thing off, it should make you think twice. But I would hope after closer inspection, something like this would not cause the type of panic that ensued there.

As we all know now, 10 other cities or so had these devices and they were in place for like 2 weeks, hardly good police work on the part of Boston. If the original bomb threat never comes in, these things would still be up.

And Mantis, I did read somewhere that NYC closed down a tunnel or street for about 45 minutes when one of these was found. Although I can't find the link and don't know if it was treated as if it were a bomb.

jpm100 wrote: "However issu... (Below threshold)
wolfwalker:

jpm100 wrote: "However issue needed to be understood and panic ended much sooner. "

How much sooner? The first call about one of the things was at 8:30 or so in the morning. The whole thing was basically over by 5PM the same day.

One thing that seems to be ... (Below threshold)
not the senator:

One thing that seems to be continually missed by out of town commenters, is that the initial round of placements several weeks ago caused no problems because they were placed in areas obvious to advertise in. Just like the placements that were in most of the other cities. A 2nd round of litebrites went in on Mon/Tuesday and these were placed in bridge and transit superstructures, not high visibility areas and these were the ones that aroused suspicion on Wednesday. I think Boston reacted properly.

New England's a flea circus... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

New England's a flea circus. Next time, if Al Qaeda puts a bowl of water beneath the Light Source, they can drown the Bostonians one at a time!

First, Boston did over-reac... (Below threshold)
JSchuler:

First, Boston did over-react. I'm not going to fault the authorities to being cautious and treating these devices as if they were bombs. However, the press conferences were hysterical, as the authorities stated with certainty that these were devices designed to cause a panic, when they clearly were not. I actually enjoyed the performance of these artists at their press conference, as judging by the news coverage everyone seemed to be taking this way, way too seriously, jumping to conclusions just as the authorities did.

That said, the second those two saw the panic that resulted, and decided to laugh about it instead of try to make things right, they became guilty of perpetrating a hoax. Those devices ceased being just part of an advertising campaign, and became something more sinister. In effect, all the hysterical statements of the Boston authorities became 100% accurate.

Throw the book at them.

And what will the trolls sa... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

And what will the trolls say when an innocent looking object loaded with, say, a bio-weapon kills a few hundred folks? Never mind, I know the answer; they will blame Mr. Bush.

Everyone here is jumping on... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Everyone here is jumping on these two guys because they videotaped police reacting. According to the article Jay linked:

Berdovsky's attorney, Jeffrey Pyle, said that his client was there filming the police response at the Sullivan Square scene, but only as a "video artist" responding to a friend's call that there was a bomb scare near his Charlestown loft.

"He documents the world around him. He did not initially know that the event near his house was related to the (cartoon character) he placed there for Cartoon Network," Pyle said. "He went home and called his employer, and they told him to sit tight."

But their presence at the scene appears to contradict both men's assertion that they did not know their actions had caused chaos.

"The minute they knew that police officers were racing across the city, firefighters were racing to the scene, and bomb techs were suiting up, and they did not call 911. That - that forms intent," one high-ranking BPD official said last night. "Their being there could provide the proof of intent prosecutors need."

I don't think it proves intent at all, given the explanation from their lawyer.

How much time had transpired between the placing of the boxes and the actual bomb scare? I understand form what I've read elsewhere that weeks had transpired since the boxes had been placed in other cities. If that's true of Boston as well I don't think that they should have immediately assumed that the bomb scare was related to them.

Fortunately for them they are innocent until proven guilty, and won't have to deal with the wandering lynch mobs on the internet.

"These two asshats need to ... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"These two asshats need to spend some serious time behind bars."

Really? For putting up some LED posters? A little Draconian, perhaps?

They took this as seriously as they should have, which is not at all. The Boston officials proved themselves to be quite dumb.

If you saw an object the si... (Below threshold)
AngryMe:

If you saw an object the size of a laptop with wires and batteries hanging out of them strapped to the bottom of your car would you just jump in and start it up?

How about if it was sitting under your seat on a train or airplane?

How is it over-reacting when you see a device like the ones in question stuck to the sides of bridges? Or in a crowded area (remember the Atlanta Olympics bombing)?

I do not know that much about explosives, but it seems to me a very small amount is needed to inflict a lot of damage.

While I do agree the city went to far in the panic phase- it does give a blueprint on how to

Blah, hit enter too soon.</... (Below threshold)
AngryMe:

Blah, hit enter too soon.

While I do agree the city went to far in the panic phase- it does give a blueprint on how to put some bombs that look like something lite-brights out there.

What I find a bit strange is that this has become a partisan issue. The Mayor, Gov, and just about everyone else in Boston (except me) seem to be pretty far to the Left- and it is the lefty blogs that are really down on the reacton of Boston (marching orders from KOS I suspect).

I probably should mention t... (Below threshold)

I probably should mention that Boston is a true-Blue city in one of the Bluest states. The public officials whose conduct I am defending are all among the staunchest Democrats you can find.

They did it right. It's almost miraculous, considering their past actions, but yeah, they got it right.

J.

"How is it over-reacting... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"How is it over-reacting when you see a device like the ones in question stuck to the sides of bridges? Or in a crowded area (remember the Atlanta Olympics bombing)?"

The fact that identical boxes were placed in numerous cities weeks before, and none of those cities/police reacted the same way.

Stupid knows no party, be i... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Stupid knows no party, be it Republican, Democrat or Connecticut for Lieberman.

While I do agree the cit... (Below threshold)
mantis:

While I do agree the city went to far in the panic phase- it does give a blueprint on how to put some bombs that look like something lite-brights out there.

Or, someone intent on placing bombs might want to make them look, I don't know, inconspicuous, instead of covered in flashing lights that say "Look at me!" Just a thought.

Lee and Mantis- do you see ... (Below threshold)
AngryMe:

Lee and Mantis- do you see how your posts contradict each other? The devices were either noticeable or not noticeable. Ignored for two weeks or flashing. I suppose I can come up with an answer for either one, - if they were noticeable and had the lights on, I could see a terrorist using a "light-bright" as camouflage to hide the bombs detonator and timing device.

From what I understand, the devices on the bridges were put up the day before they were found. They were noticed on a day when it was extremely overcast (it almost looked like night-time). As soon as they were found 911 was "swamped" with calls regarding devices all over the city (some of which were fake pipe-bombs and not light-bright devices). Also, a MBTA worker noticed the wires and batteries on the device and called the police- exactly as they should have done.

I think the fake pipe-bombs added to the "over-reaction" and I am wondering if the two idiots and/or the marketing firm had a hand in placing them. I am also wondering about the deluge of calls to 911 reporting the devices. Seeing as how the two idiots taped the police finding the devices, I suspect they wanted to have a reaction just like Boston provided them with.

You can rename yourself to ... (Below threshold)
jp2:

You can rename yourself to "ScaredMe" now. Thanks.

You do know that the ads... (Below threshold)

You do know that the ads (devices?) were on display in Washington D.C. and New York, right? They managed to survive them without turning those cities upside down, and they have a bit of "history and tension" with terrorism too.

Check out where the devices were planted in the other cities. The boards in Boston were planted at the bases of bridges and buildings.

[ btw- I find it very difficult to take many of you seriously with your clearly marked hatred of Boston, Massachusetts and New England. How can you possibly have a reasonable debate with all the hatred on display?]

Just because these things l... (Below threshold)
BChoinski:

Just because these things look like "lite-brites" when active, they may not have been at the time. I'm not sure, and I'd have to look up sources, but if I were designing these things they would have photo sensors on them so they only went on when it was dark enough. No use wasting battery power in daylight if they won't show. I can't remember if I heard or read it someplace, but I think these things did have photosensors.

Now obviously, in the daylight some joe looks up and sees a black circuit board attached to a bridge strut that he does not remember seeing there before, I think it's reasonable to mak eth call. If none of them were lit up, they would be less obvious as just a display and look more suspicious.

Thanks JP2 for adding to th... (Below threshold)
AngryMe:

Thanks JP2 for adding to the thoughts on this thread.

Unattended devices in public places were a threat before BushHitlerMonkey esd in office so you really do not have to join party lines on this issue (pretty sure it was Clinton in office during the Atlanta bombing).

I wonder what all these ultra-tough & fear nothing liberals would be saying if they found one of these light-brights on the T during the DNC?

Lee and Mantis- do you s... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Lee and Mantis- do you see how your posts contradict each other? The devices were either noticeable or not noticeable. Ignored for two weeks or flashing.

Well, I'm not responsible for what other people post; in any case I don't think anyone said they were ignored, rather that they did not cause a panic. I noticed one here in Chicago before the Boston debacle. It and those in the video I saw were flashing. Noticeable, yes. Reason to shut the city down, no.

Check out where the devices were planted in the other cities. The boards in Boston were planted at the bases of bridges and buildings.

They were placed on the El tracks and bridges here in Chicago; nobody freaked out.

The boxes were up for weeks... (Below threshold)
Lee:

The boxes were up for weeks in other cities. I can't cite specifics, because this story is now a week old, but the point was made and documented last week that boxes had been up for weeks, and people noticed them and thought they were cute/dumb/stupid or whatever - but nobody in those other major cities (at least 6 or 7 other cities) panicked the way that Boston police did.

Someone called 911 - fine - investigate. When the Boston police investigated they over-reacted.

"- it does give a blueprint... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"- it does give a blueprint on how to put some bombs that look like something lite-brights out there."

I hope you work at Homeland Security, because right now I can barely type due to the trembling...

>If you saw an object the s... (Below threshold)

>If you saw an object the size of a laptop with
> wires and batteries hanging out of them strapped
> to the bottom of your car would you just jump in
> and start it up?
>
>How about if it was sitting under your seat on a
>train or airplane?
>
>How is it over-reacting when you see a device
>like the ones in question stuck to the sides of >bridges? Or in a crowded area (remember the
>Atlanta Olympics bombing)?

If it had Err on it in blinking LED's giving the finger, I'd take it home and pin it to my wall. I live in Austin, and we are used to seeing stuff like this every day. It's how we "Keep Austin Weird" ... I can't remember how many LED articles I've read in Make Magazine ...

The reaction was horrible. To quote another commenter, if this is how we react to an blinking LED display of a cartoon character flipping the bird, the terrorists have won. Boston needs to grow a pair, and lighten up. I -*wish*- I had found one of these. It would be on the wall in my front room.

Mayor Mumbles is threatenin... (Below threshold)
John S:

Mayor Mumbles is threatening these two mimimum wage sign hangers with 180 year prison sentences (his threat exactly) because they helped prove that he's stupider than a steaming pile of dog shit? Turner is going to buy off Mubbles with $2 million. Hey that's a great deal for them. Aqua Teen Hunger Force is now a household word worldwide without having to buy a Superbowl ad that cost $2 million a SECOND. If Turner were smart, they'd throw in another million into the defense fund for Mumble's political prisoners, stretch the trial out into a 5-year media circus, and suck up more free Aqua Teen Hunger Force advertising.

Very simple...no other city... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Very simple...no other city where this took place went crazy...simple point...the time for Boston to react was was when 9/11 terrorists boarded planes in their city...
another point...just because someone puts up a picture of a fire in a theater and yells "fire" does not mean there is a fire in the theater..
...by the way..Jay if you did not get this PR than you are older than you realize and don't have a clue what young folks understand...

Besides...how can the natio... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Besides...how can the nation take seriously the city that gave us "the big dig"...that gave us Kerry...that give us flip-flop Milt...
Boston and Mass. is a joke to everyone...

isn't the basic point that... (Below threshold)
strongMan:

isn't the basic point that it is not wrong to notice something and notify the police, and have the police check it out, but without the authorities going nuts and freaking out BEFORE they find out the facts? mass hysteria is not a solution to terrorism. OMIGOD- there's my shadow! oogabooga. i don;t understand how anyone can support the reaction of the beantown authorities. like i said, i have no problem with investigating things that are suspicious, but get the facts FIRST before creating mass hysteria. sheesh.

and what awesome, non-joke ... (Below threshold)
strongMan:

and what awesome, non-joke of a town might nogo postal be from?

And this happened in the bl... (Below threshold)
Jo:

And this happened in the bluest of the blue states.

Bwahahahahahahahah...

Why wouldn't they spend mon... (Below threshold)
snowballs:

Why wouldn't they spend money and rent some billboard space?

This isn't free speech, on the other hand it isn't really like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater either.

So is there a line that can be drawn?

Frankly, I'm surprised that there's a lot of comments on in various places condemning authorities for being too cautious, and/or commendation for authorities simply having to just remove them - and there seems to be one side or the other on this one. Weird.

I hate advertisements - on TV, talk radio (which is more ads than content), on the Internet and on the street too.

Look, this movie will probably make many millions of dollars in revenue - so if they want to promote it, I'd say that they would be required to spend more than just around 8 bucks on a lite-bright and batteries and the salary of a couple of schlubs to tack them to a bridge or a park bench.

To follow up with what nogo... (Below threshold)

To follow up with what nogo postal said, one can tell the various ages of the people by whether they "get" the message. snowballs, you mention you hate advertising, yet you still think Turner should have spent money on ordinary advertising? That's the whole point. The people who WOULD view the show (the target market, if you will), DESPISES advertising, and loves off-the-wall kind of stuff. They'd be more impressed with stuff like this than they would with an billboard ad (even if the billboard ad was clever).

Aqua Teen Hunger Force is a TV Show (15 minutes long) on Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. It is a cartoon with slightly more adult-themed content, designed for the 18-25 demographic (to be more specific, the same crowd that enjoys south park kind of humor).

As DJFelix said, the target market LOVES this kind of stuff, anything designed to look like a practical joke, especially if it makes "adults" (basically people their parents' age) look like bumbling fools.

"Also, Muslims in Boston ar... (Below threshold)
Reality:

"Also, Muslims in Boston are fighting to build a huge mosque in the city, and have filed a whole bunch of lawsuits against those who have criticized the project."

So that justifies terror hysteria how now? Your racism is showing again.




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

tips@wizbangblog.com

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy