Monday, February 26, 2007

Can paranoic idiocy be considered a rising national disease??? The Boxton Bomb Hoax (that wasn't)

When I was sick a few weeks ago, I did a lot of internet browsing. And after finding this news story, I laughed so hard I’m surprised that the neighbors didn’t call down to see what was the matter.

The basic story: In a guerilla marketing campaign (which is not meant to be confused with marketing for gorillas or for Colombian paramilitaries), some LightBright boxes with recognizable cartoon characters were placed in 10 cities, equipped to blink at night and display the character for passing motorists. In Boston, they were not noticed by police or other agencies until some callers insinuated that perhaps they were bombs. The Boston bomb squad couldn’t tell if these “complex devices” were bombs or not, and panicked...shutting down roads, transportation, exploding the unidentified objects. Apparently, no one in Boston’s government watches the Cartoon Network...and determined after they’d proved themselves fools, that this was actually a bomb hoax and someone else would have to pay the price tag for their day of stupidity. Even the judge laughed at them, as a hoax has to be intended as a hoax. This was an advertising stunt. No one expected anyone to assume that it was anything but that. No one factored in the incredible denseness of the Bostonian police force. I suppose this now means that if you throw your Starbucks cup in a public trashcan and a passerby thinks this is a suspicious action, you’re in trouble for staging a terrorism hoax, even if the mistake lies squarely on the overzealous citizen who’s read too many John Grisham novels...

Scott, writing a response here, says: “Complex Devices” in that nobody on the police force has ever seen a circuit board in his life. “Contains parts commonly used in bombs” in the same way that a man wearing clothing contains “articles commonly worn on nazis”_I’m an electrical engineering major in his first year and by taking one look at that circuit board from a DISTANCE I could tell that it posed no threat._Please, for the love of god, get a bloody clue, boston.”

Good laughs found here, and here, and here.

Best quote from the reading:

“"It had a very sinister appearance," Coakley told reporters. "It had a battery behind it, and wires."”

Yes. Sinister indeed. Remind me never to take my iPod out in public. Or my flashlight, for that matter.


Oh, and the Aqua Teen Hunger Force? Never heard about them until now. The boxes are going for hundreds of dollars on ebay and those of us without televisions or cable are in the know. Turner should thank Boston for the good advertising. You can't pay to get coverage like that.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Maybe the Boston incident will help Lite-Brites make a come-back! Isn't that what the boxes are called? I forget. All of those 80's toys are a bit blurred in my memory.