Gadgets practically turned the entire city of Boston upside down yesterday. Fourteen of these horrifying and obviously dangerous devices were found throughout the city, and it turns out they were light boards depicting a "Mooninite," an outer space delinquent who shows up on the Adult Swim show Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
As Err the Mooninite flipped the middle finger in an obviously menacing way at passersby, paranoid citizens figured that this was some kind of bomb, and triggered a gigantic fraidy-cat response of police, security officials and politicians. WTF?
The crude moon man devices were all part of a marketing campaign instigated by the Adult Swim network, part of Turner Broadcasting, which apologized for the incident. Looks like the promotion worked.
Even though the devices were distributed in 10 different cities, Boston was the only one that responded with such fearful enthusiasm. Boston officials, on the lookout for terrorist threats, were obviously not familiar with the television show Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
As they communicated among themselves, they quickly determined there were numerous light boards of identical design distributed throughout the city. "It had a very sinister appearance," Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley told reporters. "It had a battery behind it, and wires."
The light boards were placed in their public locations by Peter Berdovsky, a freelance video artist, and Sean Stevens, both employed by Turner Broadcasting for the stunt. Now the two are in jail, charged with disorderly conduct, and also for "placing a hoax device in a way that results in panic."
It's hard to believe that a harmless device such as this would cause a reaction similar to that of the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey—creeping up to the monolith, nearly paralyzed with fear, touching it and jumping back in horror. Be afraid. Be very afraid. That's life in the 00s.