If this had been an actual emergency ...

LiveJournal B0st0n will no doubt have details of this morning's arraignments in Charlestown. Boston.com reports on the rally outside the court. The second suspect, Sean Stevens, is also a video artist. The guy auctioning off one of the devices says he will donate some of the money to their defense fund.

C.C. Chapman ponders it all:

What bothers me most I think is as I stop and think about it is that I'm not only pissed at the agency who came up with the idea, but I'm also a little disappointed in Boston's Police. If these things have been up for a few weeks how come no one has noticed them until now. Don't we have Homeland Security people with big budgets running around the country protecting us? Thats what I keep hearing anyways. How did they miss this? Makes you wonder where all that money is going doesn't it?

Jeff Chausse: Gee, could all the indignation of the local authorities just possibly be redirected anger at their own foolishness?

... Sure, it's natural to be suspicious of unusual devices located around a city, but are you telling me that not one bomb squad member at any of the 28 locations was capable of realizing that the device (again, consisting primarily of an illuminated cartoon character) was not a bomb? Apparently, 9 other cities had no problem doing this. ...

W. David Stephenson, a homeland-security consultant, tells people like this: Grow up, twerps!

Perhaps the most clueless reaction cited by The Globe was a 29-year old blogger from Malden, who snarkily commented, "'Repeat after me, authorities. L-E-D. Not I-E-D. Get it?'" Well, no, kid: in Iraq the insurgents disguise IEDs as all sorts of benign devices, and, thanks to the "wizards" at Interference, Inc. (as with my post yesterday, no link to Interference: they don't deserve any more viral marketing on their behalf...), you can bet that now any sleeper cells in the US have tucked this particular one away: what kind of fun thing can we use to disguise a bomb as next time? ...

Here's the deal, kids: you want the iPods and all the cool things associated with 21st-century life, so you've gotta take the baggage of a post 9/11 world as well: grow up. And, to you, Interference, Inc.: drop dead...

More, oh so much more reaction:

Cranky: Are Bostonians ALL complete idiots?

Dave Copeland wonders about the blow to Boston's image west of 128 and says the Cartoon Network's apology seemed to have a hidden smirk:

It was as if they were saying "We're sorry that, unlike residents of cooler cities, cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, you folks in Boston just didn't get it."

And while the apology -- white lettering on a black screen -- seems solemn enough, you kind of have to think they're laughing behind the screen. Yes, they'll face fines and legal action, but this is the "as long as they spell your name right" school of public relations in action. Let's face it -- there are a lot more of us who know what a mooninite is this morning than there were at this time yesterday morning.

Colin wonders:

Ok, does anyone else think that Boston just looks wicked retahhhdid in every news report surrounding the Aqua Teen Hunger Force guerilla ad-campaign gone awry? ...

The marketing effort worked for Jonelle, who admits she doesn't know if Turner or the city of Boston comes off looking more ridiculous:

I will say one thing: I had no idea that there was going to be an Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie. And I'm pumped.

Misanthropica has no doubt who looks more foolish - city and state officials:

Please stop calling yesterday's debacle the result of a "hoax." There was no hoax. There was only a misinterpreted advertising campaign. Your continuous use of the word "hoax" implies that there was an intent on the part of the ad agency or the poor art school grad who placed the signs to cleverly deceive you into thinking that cartoon LED characters were actually bombs. ...

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    Comments

    From the 29-year old blogger from Malden

    By on

    Look, we can be afraid of everything or we can learn to accept that sometimes we'll over-respond to nothing. I can live with "better safe than sorry", but blaming anyone who "scares" the public while having no remote intention to do so isn't something I'd care to live with. Authorities over-reacted. I don't blame them at all for the action at Sullivan Square. I think that was completely appropriate. But after that, they KNEW what the devices were but proceeded to whip up fear and panic for the rest of the day with the news media one-upping them at every turn. Frankly, if there were security issues exposed here, I am VERY glad it was over a cartoon billboard. But we also need to ask ourselves, if we can't notice a "threat" which has bright lights all over it, how safe can we really expect to be? And that's got nothing to do with some art student.

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    Give me a break: no justification

    As I blogged about your comment in the Globe: get real. After 9/11, there's absolutely no justification for this kind of marketing, and for your snarky LED IED remark -- my son is being sent to Baghdad, and believe me, IEDs are disguised as a lot of benign things. If you're so sharp, why don't you go and replace my son over there???

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    Your an idiot.

    By on

    "my son is being sent to Baghdad, and believe me, IEDs are disguised as a lot of benign things. If you're so sharp, why don't you go and replace my son over there???"

    So because your son is being sent to Iraq that means that IED's are suddenly going to start appearing in the USA? Don't be a moron... should we start worring about landmines because they cover parts of vietnam? Are the vietnameses sneak over hear and planting them? Do you have any clue what IED's are made of and why there are so many of them? Was it maybe because we left stockpilse of high grade explosive unguarded after the invasion? Do you see that happening here? Can you buy c4 at walmart? Would any terrorits really make a mooninite bomb and just leave under a bridge waving at people for two weeks. You are an idiot. You don't deserve the freedoms you have.

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    It would be a logical fallacy to assume..

    By on

    ...that simply because the first device was not an explosive, that each additional device was not an explosive. Some callers claimed that subsequent Moonintes were "pipe bombs". At that time, considering they couldn't verify the cartoon angle untill late in the afternoon, who knows who was making those phone calls, maybe someoen really thought it was a pipe bomb, maybe it was the person who planted the device himself?

    If one were to plant 9 hoax briefcase bombs around the city, with a tenth live bomb, it would be easy to imagine the bomber calling in hoax threats all day so that by the time polie get to the 10th device, thier guards are down and boom - someone gets hurt or killed.

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    Ahh! That's what Ed Davis was talking about.

    By on

    I ammend my comment above. Ed Davis claimed officials recieved two reports of pipe bombs. I wrongly assumed that he meant that two of the Mooninte devices wer mistaken as pipe bombs.

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    Longfellow bridge

    Somewhere yesterday I know I remember reading that the Longfellow Bridge 'device' turned out to be monitoring equipment from some contractor. Probably related to the bridge's deteriorating condition.

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    I have to agree

    Look, we can be afraid of everything or we can learn to accept that sometimes we'll over-respond to nothing. I can live with "better safe than sorry", but blaming anyone who "scares" the public while having no remote intention to do so isn't something I'd care to live with.

    You know, the thing that really bothers me the most, other than being embarrassed to be from Massachusetts today, is the lack of calm, rational leadership and the flinging of blame on everything and every one. Yes, it's a post-9/11 world. But it took 3 weeks for anyone to notice these, and when they did, the City went into a lockdown mode the likes of which we may have never seen. They shut down the Charles river? That sounds hard! Where's the faucet? [I kid!] Is the city just embarrassed that they didn't notice them for three weeks, and then completely overrated when they did? Probably.

    So when it turned out we spent half a million dollars and mucked up traffic over some childish advertising - what do those calm, cool, collected public leaders do? Freak out even more! Put a price on the heads of the perps! Who cares if it was their mistake for not realizing earlier in the day that they weren't bombs? Because all those international bombers use Lite Brite bombs placed in dozens of high-traffic locations, not explosives stuffed in an innocuous backpack under a bench in a subway station. Yell and scream and call it a bomb even after you know it isn't, so you don't look bad.

    Our post-9/11 reality sucks. Threatening tourists with arrest for taking pictures of birds? That's our reality

    And to the posting Security Consultant - I'm sorry to hear your kid is going to Iraq, I really am. But do you really think lashing out at everyone who questions the extreme reaction of our leadership is helpful? Appropriate? You realize your kid is going to Iraq because people were too afraid to question the President, because he labelled them "un-American," right? I love the people in the military. I love what they do to protect us. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't question the government. We ARE government. They aren't annointed on high, they are elected. They are human. It's okay to call them on it once in a while.

    This whole thing is a big giant ball of fingerpointing, including pointing and bloggers for not calling 911 to tell the cops they were wrong. Wow. Just wow.

    Disclaimer: My first VERY first thought when I heard this story (after the fact, by the way) was "Don't you need permission to hang advertising with the city?" So ya, I think it was wrong of them to do this type of campaign, I do hold the marketing company responsible, but geez, throwing the two guys who implemented it in jail? Harsh.

    ===========================

    From the brains behind http://www.bigdumptruck.com

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    Think About It People

    By on

    But don't Mooninites come from the moon? And isn't the crescent moon an Islamic symbol? There is some sort of deeper connection here...I recommend an immediate trip to Little Green Footballs or Pundit Review or some other place that will tell us the real truth about the connection between Ted Turner, Mooninites, and Islam.

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    Why are you reading LGF?

    By on

    Look at the initial LGF comments, posted shortly after 3 p.m., our time, when the media were still reporting IEDs with wires coming out of them (and under-30 bloggers were snickering over what they really were). Or don't waste your time - basically, they conclude it's either an attack by jihadis or an attempt to gauge islamophobia in Boston. Talk about moonbats.

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    Love Me Some Satire

    By on

    Adam:

    I read LGF for the sheer comedic brilliance of it. I mean, a site that's a satire of right wing paranoia? That's pure gold.

    Wait...you mean LGF is serious? Dear lord, we're in worse shape than I thought...

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    LGF

    By on

    I seem to recall LGF being rather instrumental in exposing the phony documents that ended the career of that anchor dude faster than a Texas twister through a trailer park.

    PS. LGF never had to rename one of their comment sections "Stupid Crap". ;-)

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    It would be redundant,

    By on

    It would be redundant, because almost all of LGF is stupid crap.

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    "Ok, does anyone else think

    By on

    "Ok, does anyone else think that Boston just looks wicked retahhhdid in every news report surrounding the Aqua Teen Hunger Force guerilla ad-campaign gone awry? ..."

    "Yes" from Minneapolis. Sorry guys- give a fine for causing a distraction or using public property, but terroristic threat. Don't cry wolf too many times or your going to weaken our ability to communicate information when it really matters. I think we need a new color on the security alerts- aqua for the d**Sh**t level.

    I guess we can blame Iraq on Sponge Bob now.

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    I *really* wish that the

    I *really* wish that the mayor would stop referring to them as "hoax devices." Cartoon Network was obviously not trying to plant fake bombs. It was a poorly thought out guerilla ad campaign, but it's being painted as a deliberately malicious "hoax." Yeah, it was stupid...but let's stop trying to stir up hysteria over something that has been proven harmless.

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    And they're still referring to it as a "hoax."

    By Ben on

    hoax Pronunciation (hoks)
    n.
    1. An act intended to deceive or trick.
    2. Something that has been established or accepted by fraudulent means.

    These weren't fake bombs. Nobody was trying to trick anyone. They were trying to get you to watch a TV show. The local Media, Menino, Patrick, and the Boston PD are to blame for all of this, and it's time for them to suck it up and admit they screwed up.

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    they call it a hoax

    By on

    On CNN and BBC as well. It's so obvious that this is being spun before our very eyes.

    This was closer to littering than it was to hoaxing.

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    You're fighting a losing battle

    By Cranky on

    You're fighting a losing battle trying to defend proper language in the face of mass hysteria. Just like those who tried to point out that "coward" might not be the right word to describe the September 11th terrorists.

    If society can't twist grammer for its own political purposes, then the terrorists have won!

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    How about...

    By Suldog on

    I find it interesting that nobody seems to be mentioning the thing that bothers me the most about this whole deal: that everybody seems to have no great problem with the vandalism aspect.

    Draping your advertising in public spaces is against the law. Whether the authorities overreacted is arguable, but who in hell at Turner's legal department thinks it's a swell idea to befoul a city with their crap and expect to not have to end up paying?

    Maybe I'm alone in this, but I think the whole thing sucks just from an aesthetic point of view and I want to see them hung by their balls.

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    so charge them with vandalism -- not with a bomb hoax

    If the two people arrested yesterday were just charged with vandalism, or defacing public property, or creating a nuisance, etc., we wouldn't be leaping to their defense. They probably were guilty of one of these minor misdemeanors. But they certainly are not guilty of any felony like deliberately planting phony bombs.

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    Misanthropica has it right -

    By on

    Misanthropica has it right - "hoax" implies malicious intent, and there wasn't any here.

    Two things about this incident frighten me most:
    1) That people in our city (note the 9 other major cities where this wasn't an issue) are so incredibly ill-informed about the world around them that they could be thrown into such a panic. There's a huge billboard on the way to my workplace with that cartoon character on it, which clearly says "Adult Swim." And this is in Charlestown - not exactly the "hippest" neighborhood around Boston.
    2) That law enforcement could be so utterly clueless and ignorant. This was an *advertising* campaign; the people who placed these things *want* us to know what they are, and what they are advertising for. If law enforcement can't do some simple research to find this out, how can they possibly protect us from terrorists, who *DON'T* want us to find out what they're doing?

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    "FREE PETER"

    By on

    Did anyone take you up on your offer?

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    Stop calling it guerilla marketing

    By on

    Paula appreciates the absurdity of it all, but says this was definitely NOT a guerilla campaign:

    "Guerilla" implies subversion; there's nothing subversive or revolutionary about the Turner Network's marketing effort, young, goateed (and scapegoated) art-school fellows notwithstanding. It's the same stroke-the-ego-of-your-target-demographic advertising technique that's used to sell everything from Hummers to Frosted Flakes. The very use of the word "guerilla" is part of the stroke: makes the target demographic feel edgy, avant garde, special, subversive, in on a quasi-gnostic secret -- not simply the easy-mark, sucker-born-every-minute victim of the latest Madison Ave campaign to extract dollars from purses. Stampede with the herd into your radical individuality ! Wheeee !

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    Green Card? Not likely

    By on

    You guys can say all you want...but in the end, it was the press conference yesterday where the two fleabags that did this, acted like @ssholes...that has really kept this going.

    If they came out and said...it was a side job, we made $600 dollars...and didnt think much of it. We are very sorry it all snowballed out of control...then people would be over it.

    But no, they had to come out and try and be funny and laugh at the judge, mayor etc.

    All I can say is enjoy that flight back to Russia clown....there is no way in hell you are getting your green card.

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