By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The irony-deprived

That would be today’s Boston Globe editorial page. And MetroWest Daily News editor Richard Lodge. And Media Nation.

Think back over the past few days to how many people have defended the Mooninite pranksters on the grounds that they were promoting a well-known cartoon — well-known, at least, to a certain subset of teenagers and twentysomethings, a category that most definitely does not include, uh, me.

Does that mean that our governmental and public-safety officials must be expected to have an advanced degree in pop culture before deciding what to do about a bunch of circuit boards with batteries and wires sticking out? Such things have been known to blow up, you know.

How could we be so stupid? It’s simple. We don’t watch this stuff. We don’t know about it. We don’t have time. Sorry.

But Jay Fitzgerald is right — if Mayor Tom Menino tries to ban the “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” movie over this, then he really has lost his mind.

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  1. Anonymous

    Nobody is trying to ban the movie.If you follow the links, here’s the quote in the Herald from Mayor Menino: “I’m not saying we are banning the movie, because I can’t ban it, but out of respect to the people of Boston, I am going to ask local movie theater executives in the city not to show it…They are not deserving of our respect, or to make one penny from their movie here.”I don’t agree with everything the mayor (or nearly anyone else) has said about this story, but all he is doing here is speaking his mind, not losing it. He’s certainly within his rights to urge people not to go and for people in the theatre business not to show the movie. As we are within our rights to ignore him.Mark

  2. Anonymous

    it wont be long before the falsity sets in hard concrete around the mediasphere that “they tried to ban the movie in boston.” and once again a stupid urban myth will grow based on people like fitzgerald and others skirting the factual remarks to liven their blogs or tv shows. asking theaters not to show it is different than seeking a ban, although they are both stupid ideas. nonetheless, one measure is political while the other is uncosntitutional. there is a difference.

  3. Neil

    I never buy “don’t have time”. We have time for that which interests us. Besides, there’s always time for Robot Chicken! It’s only 15 minutes long and packs a good kick. Then there’s the Futurama reruns, home of everybody’s favorite decapod, the incomparable George Jessel-like master, Dr. John Zoidberg. “Adult Swim” is just a cheap wrapper around a bunch of cartoons, most of them crap. It’s another cynical marketing scheme (I am shocked!) to lull young morons into thinking that by watching TV they’re doing something subversive.However:Hooray for me! Hooray for Zoidberg!

  4. John Galt

    All who are too embarrassed to admit the Chicken Little response was laughable ought to read the following:Middle East: An end to US primacy?By Jonathan MarcusBBC diplomatic correspondent The damage to our nation Sept 11th is significant way beyond hijacked aircraft crashing into buildings. ObL, sitting in a bar in Beirut in 1992 first saw the crack in the US.

  5. Stealth

    Does that mean that our governmental and public-safety officials must be expected to have an advanced degree in pop culture before deciding what to do about a bunch of circuit boards with batteries and wires sticking out?No, but it’s a little scary that the people charged with protecting us seem to know little about us.

  6. whispers

    What about those of us who defended the pranksters not because the cartoon was well-known, but because they were not trying to cause a bomb scare? The police here have taken over the task of the terrorists, namely to scare the populace. Isn’t that kind of embarrassing and counter-productive?

  7. jvwalt

    No, I don’t seriously expect the police chief to take one look at those contraptions and say, “Hey neat, it’s one of them Aqua Teen Hunger Force thingies!” Nor do I expect the Mayor to stay up late so he can keep up with “Adult Swim” and that wacky Conan O’Brien. However… — Isn’t there SOMEONE in the city government or the Boston media who recognized the Mooninite? Especially the media, who were breathlessly reporting on this. Wasn’t anybody looking at a picture of these things and saying, “Wait a minute, that’s a cartoon character!” If so, why didn’t anybody listen? — I still think it’s debatable that these contraptions could reasonably be mistaken for IEDs. But even if I concede that point, I still believe the official response was disproportionate. Can’t they do a little preliminary investigating before shutting the city down?

  8. Anonymous

    Does that mean that our governmental and public-safety officials must be expected to have an advanced degree in pop culture before deciding what to do about a bunch of circuit boards with batteries and wires sticking out?Government should be representative of the people it serves. Those lines include gender, racial, and, yes, generational. This is an example of what happens when young people are shut out–and institutionally discouraged–from participating in public service. When the charlatans get to their positions of power because of decades of kissing ass and shuffling papers–why do we act surprised when they prove themselves so out of touch with the actual consumers of the public goods they administer?

  9. Scape7

    It has nothing to do with recognizing obscure characters from a television show watched mainly by a specific demographic. But interpreting these “devices” as a threat was ludicrous and indefensible when done by people whose job it is to determine and defuse what really are bombs.The city’s entire power structure has come off as defensive and humorless, and that’s most painful for the Globe (and to a much lesser extent, the Herald). These daily newspapers are rapidly losing circulation; when they rebuke the guerilla marketers on the front page as “smirking” through a press conference, like some kind of pompous old man who thinks all kids are “hooligans,” you can understand why. Improperly identifying the marketing stunt as a hoax is also problematic and troubling to those who rely on the wisdom of those power structures, and the Herald and city share guilt on that count.Now the city has shaken down Turner for $2 million — four times the initial estimates for the expenses caused by the city’s absurd overreaction to an easily analyzed and answered nonthreat. The embarrassment continues, because this is just us getting a lollipop because we threw a totally avoidable tantrum over a misunderstanding.

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