Don't Be a Menace to Boston if You're a Mooninite

Thursday, February 1, 2007

As fans of the cartoon shorts Aqua Teen Hunger Force know, their favourite show is relatively harmless, not to mention frequently pointless. The Aqua Teens are a cult favourite on the US Cartoon Network, and can be seen in Canada on Teletoon. The show is about a talking fries, milkshake and meatball that pretty much hangout in their neighbour’s backyard pool as villains like Dr. Weird and the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future try to destroy them for some reason. But anyone who’s never heard of ATHF will surely know of them now as the Aqua Teen’s greatest nemesis is now a threat to everyone in America.

The setting was this past Wednesday in Boston, Mass. when several suspicious looking magnetic light devices were discovered around the city. (See picture.) The Boston Police were called and several streets and public transportation were shut down out of fear that these were improvised explosive devices (IED). State, local and federal authorities also closed down the Boston University and Longfellow Bridges and blocked boat traffic from the Charles River to Boston Harbor. In another overactive measure, the Pentagon said U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs was “monitoring the situation” but “none of its units were dispatched to assist”.

The devices were actually circuit boards wrapped in black tape or duct tape and when turned on, LEDs would light up and show a character from the show, either Ignignokt or Err, displaying their middle finger. In Aqua Teen lore, Ignignokt and Err are Mooninites (as in from the Moon) that look suspiciously like pixilated, two-dimensional figures from old Atari or AmigaVision video games. On the show their past schemes have included stealing a belt that would give them the power of the rock group Foreigner and running a pyramid scheme that involved selling crappy Amway-like products.

As it turned out, the devices were part of a guerilla marketing campaign by Turner Broadcasting, owner of the Cartoon Network, to promote the March release of the ATHF movie. Worst still is that these same devices had already appeared in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, and, in fact, have been seen in various spots around all these cities for as long as the past three weeks. In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Turner reps said, "We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger.”

The marketing company responsible for the campaign, Interference Inc., has yet to make a comment and their website has also been down. Peter Berdvosky a struggling artist and employee of Interference has already been arrested under a recently enacted law that makes it a crime to place hoax devices that panic the public.

“It is outrageous, in a post 9/11 world, that a company would use this type of marketing scheme,” said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino who claims the incident has cost the state and city about $750,000. “I am prepared to take any and all legal action against Turner Broadcasting and its affiliates for any and all expenses incurred during the response to today’s incidents.”

For the record: this the face of the enemy as depicted in a video posted on YouTube:

At this time it is unknown whether the super-villain group Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Thursday. Friday, Saturday, Sunday is involved; but they’re probably not… because they are cartoon characters.

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