Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Afraid of Cartoons

When did we become a nation that can be traumatized by cartoons?

Boston was shut down today while they located a dozen circuit boards designed to promote Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Admittedly, some judgement was lacking - they put these things around the city without getting the appropriate permits. However, lets get a grip on reality - they were little circuit boards running on batteries, with cartoon characters on them - not exactly a major threat.

These were placed in nine other cities too, but none of them reported any difficulties. But in Boston it became a major problem - because they chose to make it one. Otherwise reasonable people become concerned when they see officials and others getting freaked out.

This is a prime example of mass hysteria. Someone starts it and it just grows and grows and grows. Pretty soon roads are shut down, talk radio has no other topic to discuss, and a major city is at a standstill. They're cartoons, for heaven's sake.

When did we become a nation of scaredy cats? We're now afraid of cartoons? Good grief. We've already proven we're afraid of the dark by fleeing NY when the power went off for six hours. Is there anything we're not afraid of? What happened to the boogey man? He apparently has lost all the power he once had. He needs a better PR person.

When a friend was telling me about this tonight I said I figured it was a planned advertising stunt. At this point, it appears that might well be the case. And you know what? They got more than their money's worth because I'm watching it on the evening news and reading about it online - you can't buy this kind of publicity. To top it off, even if they have to pay for the city's expenses they'll still come out on top.

However, I have to say, I doubt anyone would have imagined a cartoon character would cause this sort of mass hysteria. I can't imagine how the company could have foreseen this reaction. It's so extreme it defies explanation, other than the above mentioned group think.

Turner Broadcasting said the devices had been in place for two to three weeks in Boston; New York; Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Only in Boston did people get freaked out and that just built on itself. Boston officials are all up in arms, demanding apologies - more than they've already gotten, and threatening lawsuits.

This entire country needs to get a grip. We seem to be afraid of everything these days. Our reactions are so extreme, although I guess Boston officials got some good training today. "The terrorists" - whoever they are that we're supposedly fighting - can threaten us so much more easily than they ever imagined. That is the whole purpose of terrorism - to instill terror. Who needs bombs? All it takes to terrify us is a cartoon.

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