Geoffrey Long
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Screw Osama, fear Ignignokt!

MooniniteAs you may or may not have heard, yesterday Boston was shut down when a bunch of "suspicious devices" were found on a number of buildings and bridges here in Boston. I found out about it when I called Laura after the end of the day's Sony Game Workshop sessions, and my reaction was, in short, horrified. You have to remember that I was in Washington, DC on 9/11, which is nowhere near as horrible as being in New York, but was still fairly traumatic. Now, when I heard that one of the devices was found on the bridge leading into Kendall Square here on campus, I had a mild panic attack. Wham! Mental flashback to walking around DC while rumors were flying that the State building had been exploded by a car bomb, that the White House had been destroyed by a hijacked airliner, that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon... (Oh, wait.) Now the Coast Guard had closed the Charles River, traffic had screeched to a standstill, the cops and the National Guard were sweeping the city... I freaked out for a second or two, but then when it sunk in that the devices had been "a hoax", according to the Governor, I was pissed. First at whoever had done the thing ("Was this just some asshole showing how crappy Homeland Security actually is?") followed by indignation that the government had allowed this to happen ("Homeland Security? WHAT Homeland Security?").

Laura and I agreed to meet up in Harvard Square a little while later, and I hopped the T from Kendall to Harvard. The train was, of course, running slow ("suspicious devices" are just another excuse for the T, which throws up its hands and panics any time a fly sneezes on the tracks), but I still had enough time to swing by Million Year Comics to pick up my books and chat briefly with Tony Davis, the owner and one of my favorite Bostonians. We chatted about the bomb scare, the two of us and a couple of other customers, and then Tony pulled up on his computer -- where, just a minute earlier, the story had been posted that the 'bombs' were actually a promotion for the new Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie.

Enter appalled indignation, Stage Two.

If this had been a student demonstration thing, I would've been pissed. Since this was Adult Freakin' Swim we were talking about, I was absolutely infuriated. Turner Broadcasting is one of C3's partner companies, and one thing that C3 talks about at great length is new forms of advertising, including ARGs and guerilla marketing. Sure, the Aqua Teens are basically an oddball spoof of a superhero show, but if Turner had leapt from guerilla marketing/ARGs to building fake bombs from which the Aqua Teens would potentially save us, we needed to have a serious talk with these guys. Now.

After Laura and I met up, we grabbed supper at b.good, a great little healthy-fast food restaurant that offers free Wi-Fi. I whipped out my MacBook and pulled up myself, which was the first time I got a look at the 'suspicious devices'.

Enter appalled indignation Stage Three: The Motherload.

These 'suspicious devices'? They were LED outlines of the Mooninites, a couple of recurring villainous characters from the show (of which Ignignokt is one, hence the title of this post), attached to the buildings through magnets. There were no sticks of dynamite, packs of plastic explosives, countdown timers, or anything else that would suggest 'bomb'. If anything, these damn things were as dangerous-looking as Lite-Brites. The story I'd heard was that a bunch had been found attached to bridges, but in truth they were found at intersections, under bridges, on the sides of buildings (including one there in Harvard Square)... In short, everywhere one would find graffiti -- which was, I think, kind of the point. When I was in China last summer, I met a toy designer whose new thing was making vinyl 3-D mini-statues that were meant to be attached to graffiti walls, a sort of graffiti statuary. This was a similar concept.

Let's recap: Wave of Fury One was directed at an anonymous bomber whose nefarious plot had been foiled. Wave of Fury Two was directed at Turner Broadcasting for misusing an art and advertising ploy in such a nauseating manner. Wave of Fury Three was directed at the people of Boston and the Government, for both mistaking these innocuous childrens' toys as a three-alarm threat and honestly for being so damn asleep at the wheel that, according to Turner's report, they'd been up there for two to three weeks before anyone noticed them – and in ten different cities: Boston, New York, L.A., Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

Two. To three. Weeks. In ten freakin' cities.

I know some of you people hate it when I rip mercilessly on the President (hi, Mom) but Bush's War on Terrorism is nothing less than a War on American Liberties, and it's failing miserably. The governor of Massachusetts now wants to throw the twentysomethings that Turner hired to put the things up in prison for 2-3 years per device, which is absolute bullshit, and despite Turner's explanation, isn't backing down. It doesn't take an idiot of anywhere near the governor's magnitude to see that the governor is only doing this because he doesn't like being made to look bad. If the devices had been found the morning after they'd gone up that's one thing, but their being present for so long demonstrates that the security here in Boston is so piss-poor that a terrorist could attach twenty pounds of C4 to a bridge and attach a series of blinking lights to the package and the police still wouldn't notice. You hear that, Al-Qaeda? All you have to do to blow up a bridge in Boston is paint a cartoon character on the bomb.

I'm annoyed with Turner. I'm absolutely infuriated with the government. When the feds force us to surrender our civil liberties in exchange for 'greater security', and then screw up this goddamn badly, somebody needs to pay, all right – but it sure as hell isn't a couple of twentysomethings working for the Cartoon Network.

"Can you see this? I'm doing it as hard as I can!"

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Someone set us up the bomb!

Here's food for thought: I'm told by one of the profs at school that the cartoons were up for weeks without anyone noticing... and then all at once, within 3 hours, four different bomb scares were called in from different parts of Boston? Does anyone else smell an executive decision in the air? I think I do...

Or maybe I'm just shocked at how many people don't watch Cartoon Swim... can't wait for the movie to come out!

Enh, it's probably more of a "did you hear about the bomb scare over in Somerville...? Hey, what's THAT!?" type of a situation. You're right, though -- more people should be, um, 'culturally aware.'

Me, I wish I could've been there when the cops DETONATED one of them, according to reports.

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