Ice Cream, Mayors, and Criminals: What's Ruining Our Cities This Week

A mayor who ruined lives in his quest to dox a Twitter account parodying him. Why Asian tourists are being robbed in Paris. And the super-disturbing history of the ice cream song you'll hear on every street this summer. What's Ruining Our Cities? Indeed.

Ice cream trucks are ruining summer

Ah, the sounds of summer. The hum of the lawnmower. The splash of the pool. The super-racist jingle of the ice cream truck. Wait, what? Yes, that ultra-recognizable song that most ice cream trucks play has some pretty horrific lyrics. NPR dives into the history of the song and its complicated roots: "This is the story of why our beloved ice cream truck plays blackface minstrel music that sends kids dashing into homes in a Pavlovian frenzy searching for money to buy a Popsicle." [NPR]

The mayor of Peoria is ruining his city

When the mayor of Peoria, Illinois embarked upon a quest to unmask a fake Twitter account pretending to be him, he ended up issuing search warrants against Twitter, Comcast, and Google, raiding and confiscating electronics from a local home, and falsely accusing at least one person who ended up losing their job. Nate Anderton at Ars Technica dove into the email trail of this zany story: "Could your town's mayor spark a police investigation into your activities that ends with town cops rifling through your mobile phone, your laptop, and the full contents of your Gmail account—all over an alleged misdemeanor based on something you wrote on social media? Not in America, you say? But you'd be wrong." Yikes. [Ars Technica]

Muggers are ruining Paris for Asian tourists

Parisians have long concerned about tourists overrunning the city, but now it seems that those tourists are being targeted by local criminals: There's been an uptick in violence against Asian visitors. Supposedly muggers are targeting Chinese and Japanese tourists because they are reported to carry large amounts of cash. To battle the issue, Parisian authorities are launching an unusual strategy: Hiring Chinese police officers to help reassure tourists and offer assistance. [Atlantic Cities]

Photo by Ezra Wolfe