Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: When we become afraid of a cartoon sign,<br> the terrorists have won. .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Friday, February 09, 2007

When we become afraid of a cartoon sign,
the terrorists have won.

The city of Boston was shut down last week because of a series of bomb scares.

Apparently, a couple of guys were contracted by the Cartoon Network to place a series of lit signs around town to promote their Adult Swim cartoon, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and were instructed to place the signs where their target audience, males 18 – 26, would see them. So they placed the signs on bridges and in other visible places, and hilarity ensued.

The first device was found at a subway and bus station underneath Interstate 93, forcing the shutdown of the station and the highway.

Later, police said four calls, all around 1 p.m., reported devices at the Boston University Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge, both of which span the Charles River, at a Boston street corner and at the Tufts-New England Medical Center.

The devices in question look like Lite-Brite sets. They depict a a Mooninite, a character from the cartoon, flying the one-finger salute. But since they also contained wires and a battery, the city of Boston panicked and shut everything down while the bomb squad scrambled.

Never mind that these devices had been in place in Boston and nine other cities for weeks. When Boston officials became aware of the marketing scheme, they vowed to press for punishment to the fullest extent of the law.

Two men were arrested, who didn’t seem to take the situation as seriously as officials would have liked.

Peter Berdovsky, 27, and Sean Stevens, 28, were released on $2,500 cash bond after each pleaded not guilty to placing a hoax device and disorderly conduct for a device found Wednesday at a subway station. They waved and smiled as they greeted people in court.

Outside, they met reporters and television cameras and launched into a nonsensical discussion of hair styles of the 1970s. "What we really want to talk about today — it's kind of important to some people — it's haircuts of the 1970s," Berdovsky said.

While the presence of the silly signs in other cities barely caused a blip on the local public’s radar screen, Boston officials scrambled to save face in the wake of their panicky behavior. They alluded to irresponsible marketing tactics in a post 9/11 world, while even Bostonians called their response “silly and insane”.

Naturally, Cartoon Network’s parent company, Turner Broadcasting, went into damage control mode, apologizing, agreeing to pay their part of $2 million in damages, and even having the head of the Cartoon Network resign.

It’s sad that, in our post-9/11 society, it’s considered unthinkable that someone would display a Lite-Brite sign. Okay, so they had wires, and lights, and batteries. But so does just about every other device advertised shamelessly in our consumer-driven culture. If those had been giant iPods, would there have been the same panic?

Get over it, people. There were just as many dangers in our pre-9/11 world, probably even more. The world has always been a dangerous place, and until 9/11, Americans mistakenly thought they were safe. We can’t let the fear promoted by our current leaders keep us from enjoying our lives, and we can’t give up our freedoms for the false sense of security hyped by these so-called leaders.

When we cower in fear over little things like electronic toys, then the terrorist truly have won.


  • They made a mockery of Boston's emergency response units, and then they mocked the media which tried and failed to feed the frenzy.

    Apparently the most severe casualty was the head of the Cartoon Network, who lost what was probably the best job he'll ever have.

    I have to salute pluck like that.

    By Blogger Perry Dorrell, aka PDiddie, at 10:54 AM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:15 PM  

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