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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mayhem of the Mooninites

I did some bill-paying at the Nanticoke City Building today - sewer (city), sewer (Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority), and garbage (one side of the house only), attempted to mail some packages (line too long), picked up my aunt, dropped my mom off for her procedure around 1:00, drove my aunt to my cousin's, mailed my packages (the line had gone away), and then had about an hour to kill until I would be expecting the call to come for my mom. I was in a dollar store picking up St. Patrick's Day decorations when I got a call that they were running about a half-hour late at the pain clinic. With the extra time I hit Sam's Club and picked up packing tape (I used the last of mine on the packages) and Scotch tape and a dispenser (need it for my house.) Then I topped off my mom's gas tank ($2.149/gallon.) I had just started the journey back to the pain clinic when I got a call that they would be ready for me to get her in about 15-20 minutes. I veered into a Toys'R'Us parking lot and decided to hunt for more of the Cars Rip-Cord Racers that I was able to get for one nephew's birthday but which were unavailable just before Christmas. I didn't have to look hard - they were in a display as soon as you walked in the door. I grabbed two, looked around for a few minutes, checked out, and headed to the pain clinic.

Where I waited, since there was nobody at the desk.

I sat there for a few minutes and noticed that the crowd in the waiting room was strangely hushed and intensely focused on the television, more so than with a typical episode of Jerry Springer or Judge Judy. The TV was mounted on the wall, out of my line of sight, but the announcer was saying something about suspicious electronic devices being found around Boston. Was it a terrorist attack, or was it a prank? No one knew, but many highways and bridges in Boston were shut down as a result. The packages featured lights in the shape of a character from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, part of the Adult Swim block on Cartoon Network...

WHAT??!!, I interrobanged.

I quickly moved to a place where I could see the TV. There was Ignignokt - or was it Err? - showing his middle finger to the camera. The image of the Mooninite stood defiant, challenging.

Well, at least it ain't Shake.

Someone came to the desk and let me know that my mom would be out in a minute and I should bring the car around to the door. The one minute dragged on to more than ten and I sat in the car listening to NPR's All Things Considered trying to glean some information about the ATHF scare in Boston. They mentioned it only briefly.

We went for a late breakfast - it was after 4:00, but my mom had not yet eaten and she wanted breakfast, which fortunately is served at the Cracker Barrel all day. On the way home NPR had an update on the Boston situation: it wasn't a bomb threat or a prank, but part of a Turner Broadcasting marketing campaign that had been going on for weeks in several cities.

Why was it just noticed now, and why in Boston? I have no idea. Why did authorities believe this was a threat? Because the devices contained circuit boards, wires, and batteries, components that are also found in bombs. Note to Boston: these components are also found in pretty much EVERY OTHER GODDAMN PIECE OF ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT IN THE WORLD. TIME YOU START NOTICING. It's like saying blogs are possibly terrorist threats because both blogs and terrorist threats use words arranged into sentences. Actually, it's more like when police arrested several people participating in an outdoor zombie role-play (please don't ask) in Minneapolis because they felt that the wires that led into backpacks they were wearing might possibly be components of bombs. The wires turned out to be headphone cords leading to iPods. iPods. Ever hear of them?

So. Boston is threatening criminal action against anyone who perpetrated this "hoax". Will they follow through? I don't know. Remember, this is the city that dealt with fans celebrating the Red Sox's 2004 World Series victory by firing pepper spray canisters into a non-violent crowd. They killed one girl, a college student, by putting a canister directly into her eye. I suppose she experienced unimagineable pain and suffering in the time it took for her to die as the pepper spray pumped into her skull by way of her eye socket. Way to go, Boston's Finest!

But I'm not sure how "guerilla marketing" like this - sticking up little electronic lighted billboards here and there without first getting permits or even asking the permission of the property owners - doesn't fall in the same category as graffiti and other acts of public vandalism. I mean, I can't just slap ads for Another Monkey all over the place, wherever I think people will notice. Or can I? Hmmm...

Well, assuming that nobody does hard time for this, it looks like the publicity stunt for Aqua Teen Hunger Force: The Movie was more successful than Turner could have hoped!

(For an excellent account of this event, go here. I think I might be in love with Gael Fashingbauer Cooper.)

1 comment:

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Isn't it fun living in a culture of fear?