The blame game. carries this definition:

hoax   (hōks)  Pronunciation Key     

  1. An act intended to deceive or trick.
  2. Something that has been established or accepted by fraudulent means.

As far as I can see, the active word here is “intended.” There has been a lot of noise coming from Boston about the two poor schlubs who are accused of perpetrating a “hoax” by putting electronic advertising devices around the city, thus bringing the entire metropolitan area to a blind panic for hours. It took all day and about $750,000 for the authorities to determine that these were lighting devices with a cartoon character on them.

Now the authorities and the Mayor are angrier than angry, and I for one don’t blame them. Anyone would be angry if their incredible incompetence was on the news worldwide. It must be infuriating.

Yes, it is a silly ad campaign. Yes, they probably should have gotten permits from the city prior to doing this. No, they did NOT instigate a hoax. That was done by the authorities themselves.

Did they need to assume that these devices were explosive before checking them out? Probably. That seems a prudent thing to do. Did they need to tell the press that they had a terrorist scare on their hands? No. The authorities investigate things without telling the press all the details quite frequently. Just last week the Albuquerque police had several streets blocked off for hours, making it a real bitch to get to school. We found out why afterward, not during. It was enough to know that we couldn’t drive past Lead and Yale. Did they need to take all day and $750,000 to protect Boston from a talking milkshake? I really have to doubt that.

It seems to me that the authorities were itching to be heroes. They couldn’t wait for their city and their police to be on the front page, protecting innocent Americans from terrorist scum. And now that they’re a global laughing stock, their indignation is palpable. So they do two things. First, they arrest a couple of guys who were paid to put the signs up. They say that they “perpetrated a hoax.”

They didn’t. It was the authorities  who hoaxed everybody. If they weren’t sure that they were dealing with bombs, why are they telling the public that? It seems a pretty irresponsible and ineffective way of maintaining public calm. If they have egg on their faces, they really have only  themselves to blame. After all, Chicago, Atlanta, and several other cities have had those signs up for two weeks and none of those cities were brought to a halt by them.

Second, they’re going to sue Ted Turner. No surprise there. He’s got deep pockets. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chief of Police gets a raise out of this. I’m certain that they’ll pursue this to the end. After all, it’s either that or admit that they’re too panicky to protect the public when they really need it.

The Mayor, however, has done one thing – he’s reinforced my faith in mankind.

After all, it’s only the first of the month and I’ve already found one asshole.

Speaking of which, if you haven’t voted for the January Asshole of the Month, please scroll down and do so. Your input is needed!



  1. I agree re the hoax part, but I think Turner should have to repay Boston for the cost of dealing with this idiocy. I think TV/radio is out of control generally with their fucking stupid stunts and encouragment of same. If this stops some of it, all the better.

  2. I think he should have let the city know what they were doing, but I wouldn’t hold him responsible for the entire $750,000. They spent that because they’re inept. IF they really spent that…… they could be “rounding up.”

    If there is ANYTHING I would make him pay out the ass for, it’s colorizing “Miracle on 32nd Street” and “The Sea Hawk.”

  3. We were talking about this at work today. This was definitely a stupid, ill-planned stunt, but it was not a hoax by any means.

    Funny, when I saw the pic of the so-called “pipe bomb,” it looked like a Mooninite to me! (But then, I love “Aqua Teen Hunger Force!”)

  4. Oh, and remember, I live in the Boston area. This was ALL OVER THE FRIGGIN’ news when I got home from work yesterday. You know it’s big-time when they pre-empt Oprah. Big time.

  5. Joe, I agree with you 100 percent, and was thinking the same the whole time I was listening to the report on NPR. MAYBE they’re guilty on some point of public display, to which I recommend city officials calmly back toward. Perpetrating a hoax? Oh for fuck’s sake! If the city officials pursue that I predict an increasingly inflated PR nightmare for them.

  6. I had the pleasure of happening to be in Boston on this very day (in the World Trade Center, no less!), and let me tell you, it was creepy. I was in focus group testing, and between groups I walked out into the lobby. Everyone was watching CNN which was reporting “multiple unidentified devices planted throughout Boston.” We were like, WTF? But as more and more came out, and now that I know the whole story, I agree 100% with Joe on this — Boston officials need to hang their heads and admit they overreacted. Yeah, I know time’s are different, yadda yadda, but they were little fucking Lite Brites placed around the city. Turner apologized and said, “We never intended this and we’re sorry for the misunderstanding.” Case closed, as far as I’m concerned.

  7. That was all over the news in the uk, shame no one told the ‘powers that be’ what was going on. On the other hand i am getting sick of being made to turn out my bag everytime i visit london… some security can be taken too far

  8. That story cracks me up….I feel bad for those guys!

  9. I tried really really hard to find something to disagree about in your article… and couldn’t find a thing. It appears you have as many numpty politicians/authorities over there as we do.

  10. I tried really really hard to find something to disagree about in your article… and couldn’t find a thing. It appears you have as many numpty politicians/authorities over there as we do.

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