Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dear Idiot: Thanks a lot, Turner Television, a bomb-sniffing dog ate my sandwhich...

One thing I miss about not being in government, I don't get the early inside gossip. Like today, when the was filled with stories of "suspicious" electronic devices found affixed to the undersides of a bunch of bridges in Boston.

A friend of mine still on the inside said the things looked like Spongebob. Apparently he doesn't watch Adult Swim on the Cartoon Channel, or he might have recognized the little guy as Ignignokt or Err the Mooninites from "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." Unfortunately, however, my friend is a grown-up with a real job. As are the members of the Boston Police, so they don't have time to watch idiot cartoons. Had Boston hired a police for of slacker college student underachievers then they might have not been fooled...

So apparently this was a guerrilla marketing campaign by Turner Broadcasting to hype Aqua Teen Hunger Force, or the movie based on the series coming out soon, or some such foolishness.

Couple of problems: from a marketing standpoint, if you know what that cryptic figure is, you probably already know about the movie or the series. If you don't know that the cryptic figures are, then, well, that's not really going to tell you anything, is it?

And these things were attached to the underside of bridges. In 2007. Without any permits. The cops needed lifts to take them down. Wouldn't you be worried if the cops didn't take this stuff seriously?

So when someone standing at a T station noticed one of these things and asked the transit cops about it, well, naturally the public safety apparatus in town went bananas.

One of these things were attached to the underside of the viaduct for route I-93, one of the major access routes from the north of Boston. When it was found naturally the State Police shut down the highway. During the morning commute.

And then a couple of T lines too were shut down during rush hour. And as this stupidity triggered an elevation of the threat level, other protocols kicked in, such as random bomb-sniffing dogs being run through the evening trains.

A good deal of slacker idiots are writing in to the Globe bulletin boards excoriating state and city officials for "over reaction", but what the hell else do you expect?

First of all, if you're going put up bombs, they're not going to look like sticks of dynamite with an alarm clock attached. They're going to look like something else.

Second of all, you can't go around putting crap like this on public structures, especially in the current climate.

Turner should know better. This is a billion dollar company (owned by Time Warner) which presumably has at least one lawyer on staff.

Boston Police have already arrested the guy who placed these things on the bridges -- a "struggling artist". But he's just an idiot chasing a buck. I hope that the attorney general and district attorney don't stop with him. Turner caused probably tens of thousands of dollars in actual damage today (public safety personnel overtime), not to even mention the inconvenience caused to thousands of commuters. Unfortunately they accomplished what they wanted; skads of free publicity for their idiotic show (the news has been showing clips -- it looks idiotic).

Well, that's all the venom I can muster. What do you think?

UPDATE: Mayor Menino was on Fox25 this morning upping the ante, saying this little imbroglio cost the city and state upwards of $1 million.

Also turns out that in addition to the 38 or so ads plastered about town, they also discovered two fake pipe bombs, one strapped to the support stanchions of a bridge and the other in an office at New England Medical Center yesterday morning at the same time. Now does the cops' reaction make a little more sense?

And it also turns out my train was off-loaded yesterday and searched with dogs because of a separate, unrelated, phone-in bomb threat. Lovely.


KaraMia said...

oh good lord. i swear,if they have money they think they can buy their way out of anything....i say make the bigwigs do community service..i'm betting a few days picking up trash would stop any future publicity stunts

Gino said...

since it's time warner, owned by turner, i say shut them down.

Kal said...

Sorry about the typo filled post, too tired to fix it...

News tonight said this whole episode will cost the city and the state about a half million bucks, when all said and done.

Kara, I like the idea of having these fatkat CEOs out in orange jumpsuits picking up the garbage.

Gino: And you know if any of these had been real and someone had been hurt, and the city and state hadn't "overreacted", the Turners of the world would be the loudest to bitch.