Tonight, Boston is giving up a collective middle finger to Turner Broadcasting System after learning today’s “suspicious device” scare and its ensuing clusterfuck were all the result of a boneheaded publicity stunt for some late-night cartoon.
My initial reaction: “How far does one’s head have to be up one’s ass to not get how horrible a stunt this is.” But then I realized: “Of course they get it.” Up until now, the only people who’d ever heard of this particular cartoon were 40-year-old men who live with their parents. Now, everyone has heard of this cartoon whose name I won’t deign to mention. For TBS, it’s clear that any publicity is good publicity even when it’s despicable. I’ve gotten in trouble for posting flyers on telephone poles in the city without a permit. For TBS, the fines involved in doing something like this without a permit were a non-issue. They have buckets of cash and zero conscience. They knew exactly what they were doing.
The worst part is their “official apology” accepts zero responsibility but instead seems to place blame on Boston for overreacting.
"We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger," the company said.
What? How could any rational person living in the world as it is today NOT be wary of blinking electronic devices with wires and battery packs jutting out every which way? These things were planted between an Orange Line station and I-93, embedded in the underpinnings of the Longfellow and BU bridges, inside N.E. Medical Center and within six other densely-populated areas around the city that would qualify as “soft targets.” This city is not comprised of 40-year-old men who live with their parents. It’s the city where two of the 9/11 planes originated.
Unfortunately, our city was the real loser today. Because of TBS’s greed, we wasted millions of dollars, diverted the police away from real crimes and emergency responders away from real emergencies. Traffic was snarled for hours, commuters lost time, and businesses lost cash. I’m sure more personal horror stories will surface in a few days. But all told, this waste-of-a-day put the city on edge and in a collective bad mood. And we all know that bad moods are contagious. Even worse, the next time someone spots a suspicious device near the Zakim Bridge, they will be less apt to report it.