Mysterious device that set off Boston security alert


I don't think so

On Tuesday, cable news viewers were treated to non-stop coverage of a security alert in Boston that closed waterways, shut down freeways, and brought out everyone from local police to Homeland Security. A mysterious device that appeared to have a circuit board, wires, and batteries had been spotted and reported as suspicious. Soon more reports came in, and the game was on.

It turns out that these devices were some kind of viral marketing campaign for an adult cartoon called Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I'll leave it to others to carry on about how anyone in the right mind would do such a thing in a "post-9/11 world." I'll make four other observations.

perp walk Perp walk - Sean Stevens (left) and Peter Berdovsky (right) on their way to court

The perpetrators have been perp-walked and booked. Presumably the book will be thrown at them, and rightly so in my opinion.

1. The fact that similar devices had been planted undetected in other cities should cause all sorts of alarm bells to go off at the Department of Homeland Security and in the affected cities. So much for our heightened level of security! If these guys could go around and plant these things without arousing the suspicions of anyone, it should be equally easy for genuine terrorists to plant genuine bombs.

2. The news reports kept calling this a hoax, as if it were a prank or deception. The Hitler Diaries were a hoax. The email promising that Bill Gates will send you $5 if you will just forward the email to all your friends is a hoax. A hoax is an attempt to pass off as genuine something that is false and often preposterous. By calling the devices a hoax, the media assumed the motivation behind the devices was to fool people into thinking they were bombs. That was simply not the case; their motivation was to create interest in Aqua Teen Hunger Force, whatever that is.

3. The demographic that is the target market for Aqua Teen Hunger Force thinks this is terribly funny because anyone who knows anything would know what the devices were. Read the comments that follow TV Squad article (sidebar).

Berdovsky, an artist and one of those responsible for the devices, told The Boston Globe, "'I find it kind of ridiculous that they're making these statements on TV that we must not be safe from terrorism, because they were up there for three weeks and no one noticed. It's pretty commonsensical to look at them and say this is a piece of art and installation'" (NY Times, 1-Feb-07).

An installation of art? Gimme a break!


4. Someone at Turner Broadcasting, owner of the show, should be fired for ever approving such a stunt. I know I'm showing my age and a generation gap, but dad-gummit, what do you expect when you hire people who look like street people? Get a haircut!