aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, February 05, 2007
Rate the SuperBowl ads
Right now Snickers is number 4. (John?) Bud Light’s Class Mencia is 1.
I could care less about the ads. But the YouTube implementation is really slick.
The Machine is Us
A video on the evolution of text and the web and its impact on on us - “we’ll need to rethink a few things” - by Michael Wesch, Assistant professor of Cultural Anthropology, Kansas State University.
Via The Last Minute.
The Snickers ad shown during the first half of the game featured two male mechanics working closely under the hood of a car. When one pulls out a Snickers bar and begins eating it, the other locks his lips around the other end and also begins to chomp away. Their lips meet, horrifying both of them. They ultimately pull off tufts of chest hair and scream.
Via SoVo Blog, “If the guys had run into a nearby Hooters, I could understand how that might be perceived as an antidote to “unmanly” behavior. But I’ve always thought of chest hair removal as pretty gay.”
SEE ALSO: Seth Stevenson in Slate, “Another year, another Bud Light ad to kick things off.” And later, on Snickers:
1) Ripping out chest hair is manly? I thought chest-hair removal was a firmly metrosexual move. 2) Once again, disgusting hair imagery appears in a food/beverage ad. Not appetizing! 3) Apparently, knee-jerk homophobia is still grounds for comedy.
I didn’t find it homophobic. I didn’t find it funny. I just thought it was bad.
LATER: I had linked to the Mars site above. Since it was pulled, I substituted a YouTube link to the version that ran in the SuperBowl.
Washington’s return to Grey’s Anatomy
The LATimes on Isaiah Washington’s return to Grey’s Anatomy:
As Washington reportedly returned for work late last week, Knight’s publicist was batting down rumors that Knight was so upset he was ready to quit the show.
If Hollywood, as the clichÃƒÂ© has it, holds up a mirror to society at large, the Gibson-Richards-Washington scandals prove that the reflection often ain’t pretty. In his case, Washington, who is black, was accused of directing hatred toward another minority group - and that fact is kicking up painfully mixed emotions even among megaphone-wielding activists who typically view the world through an us-against-them lens.
The incident has stirred new tensions: Why, some black commentators have wondered, are gay activists more outraged by Washington’s slur than they are by Shirley Q. Liquor, a cartoonish ghetto character who speaks in an exaggerated ebonics style ("How you durin’?") and is impersonated in blackface and drag by white performer Chuck Knipp?
GLAAD officials, who initially expressed indignation and demanded an apology from Washington, seem over the last few days to have grown more circumspect. According to spokesman Marc McCarthy, the organization is weighing whether to respond to the complaints about Shirley Q. Liquor and declines to offer any comment on ABC’s or Rhimes’ handling of the Washington controversy. “We hear there’s tension out there,” McCarthy explained. “We certainly sense it.”
Meanwhile, among those with more critical distance, the controversy is now entering its cynical backlash phase; a new episode of the online cartoon “Almost Infamous” pictures an ABC executive barging in on a therapy session to thank Washington profusely, exulting, “We couldn’t have asked for better publicity.” In truth, the network is probably more chastened than that (a spokeswoman declined to comment for this story), but a skeptic can be forgiven for wondering where Washington ranks on ABC newswoman Diane Sawyer’s current “get” list.
I have no doubt that race is as much a factor as sexual identity in the ruckus. And I, too, wonder why Shirley Q. Liquor - she sure looks racist to me - isn’t more closely scrutinized and criticized. As to GLAAD, you just have to wonder if there time hasn’t past.
Mine crashes a lot, to which people often observe, “I thought Macs weren’t supposed to do that?”
Our campus Mac rep says, “Well, Joe, you tend to keep a lot of things going at the same time.”
Well yeah, isn’t that one reason to have a Mac?
Don’t get me wrong. I do love my Mac. And it crashes a lot.
Gay clergy debate
Ron Miller is a member of Druid Hills Presbyterian Church in Atlanta who says he would have “no problem at all” accepting a gay pastor.
But the genial church elder says he’d rather focus on something else - and so should other churches.
“A lot of time and energy is being spent by governing bodies and individual churches over this issue,” Miller says. “That time could be devoted to the real mission of the church: helping the poor, the homeless, the community at large.”
Miller’s frustration reflects the weariness in several Protestant denominations. After years of fighting over the acceptance of gay clergy, some church leaders say they’re exhausted. The nonstop battles are draining the life from their congregations and driving members away.
Yet church members slog on through the gay clergy debate because leaders can’t seem to devise a solution that satisfies both sides.
I’m not so sure that’s why. I think the activist evangelical Religious Right has been fanning the flames, keeping the battle alive. And I find comments like the opening quotes from Miller hopeful; they are consistent with the assessment of Laurie Goodstein, New York Times national religion correspondent, as articulated in her podcast talk Backlash: Are Evangelicals Disillusioned with Politics? Hers is an argument I find compelling.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
We’re losing more rights every day. Endgadget:
Earlier this month, the Seventh Circuit of the US Court of Appeals “ruled against a defendant who claimed that the surreptitious placement of a GPS tracking device amounted to an unconstitutional search,” essentially giving the coppers the green light to add a GPS module to a suspicious ride sans a warrant. While we’re sure the privacy advocates out there are screaming bloody murder, the district judge found that they had had a “reasonable suspicion that the defendant was engaged in criminal activity,” and it seems that a well-placed hunch is all they need for lawful placement. Interestingly, the government argues that no warrant was needed since “there was no search or seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment,” but did add that “wholesale surveillance of the entire population” was to be viewed differently. So while this may come as a shock to some folks out there, it’s not like your vehicles have been entirely devoid of data capturing devices up until now anyway, so here’s fair warning to be on your best behavior when rolling about.
Philly.com on Cuban and Genarlow
You may recall that Mark Cuban said on his blog, “Personally, there is no chance I do business in the state of Georgia beyond the committment the Mavs have to play the Hawks until Genarlow is out of jail.”
Today the Philadelphia Inquirer chimed in with some suggestions of its own:
[Genarlow] Wilson was 17 when he engaged in consensual oral sex with a then 15-year-old girl at a New Year’s Eve party. Even though both Wilson and the girl were minors at the time, he was convicted of a felony (crazily, he would have only gotten a misdemeanor if they had had intercourse) and has to serve a minimum of 10 years before being eligible for parole under Georgia state law.
So we asked Cuban exactly what he’d be giving up with his boycott, since it didn’t seem his companies did a whole lot of work in Georgia. To the point, why not have the Mavs boycott the Hawks game to show how serious he was about standing up for Wilson?
To our surprise, Cuban e-mailed back that he’d “look into it.”
So we looked into what would happen to a team that forfeited a game for anything other than not having the minimum eight players available in uniform. Let’s just say that if you think the Commish has already been harsh with Cuban by fining him millions for numerous verbal indiscretions, you would have seen nothing yet.
But here’s another idea: Have the players on both teams donate their game check amounts to help Wilson’s family pay its numerous legal bills. Have them go to the Georgia State House together before the game to show public solidarity for Wilson. There are a lot of players involved with causes bigger than themselves, but they rarely put their collective fame and power together. In this case, they should… .
LATER: The AJC’s Political Insider takes notice.
Anderson Cooper’s in the Wikipedia closet
LET’S GET HIM OUT!
My blogging was brought to a screeching halt yesterday by reading Kevin Naff’s editorial beef with Wikipedia over an edit to the Anderson Cooper entry. It would have been nice to link to Naff’s piece, watch SNL, and be done with it.
Instead I had to wade through the Cooper entry’s Talk page, and all of its relevant links and sources to conclude on my own that some in editorial and administrative power at Wikipedia are, if not at least subliminally homophobic, seriously tone-deaf when it comes to the gay community and gay issues.
The controversy at hand is the removal of a citation to a Blade editorial authored by Naff in reference to CNN anchor Anderson Cooper’s sexual orientation. Its removal was accompanied by this bolded slap at the Blade:
There is no evidence the Washington Blade is a significant, non-trivial, reliable source.
(Incidentally, the article on the paper itself (Washington Blade) will end up being deleted if it doesn’t improve, incidentally, as it doesn’t assert why this newspaper is notable, at all.)
Ouch. The suggestion is that because a publication is a gay publication, it is insignificant and unreliable. As Naff points out in his piece, “The Blade has a rich history in the D.C. community dating to 1969.” Wouldn’t that rank it among the oldest, most definitive, resources on gay issues? And here we have a Wikipedia admin threatening to delete its Wikipedia entry.
Proto is the admin and he compounds his error by reducing a gay “identity” or “orientation” to a sex act. Again and again in the Cooper discussion the reference is to his “sex life.Ã¢â‚¬Â� And with that we enter into the smear territory. Writes Naff:
[The] Wikipedia editor [Brimba, not Proto] writes, “We have an obligation to make certain that WP is not seen as a vehicle that can be used to “Out” people, or in any other way be used to damage or smear people.”
Let’s just ignore this blatantly homophobic comment. Suggesting that describing someone as gay constitutes a “smear” is a tired old insult.
Then the editor [Proto not Brimba] writes, “The advantage of including such allegations, or in other words the usefulness to the average user of WP, is minimal at best.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
Again, the use of the word “allegations” - as in criminal - suggests a serious lack of understanding of these issues. This person is clearly not qualified to edit the biography of a gay person.
The editor [Brimba again] adds, “At no point do we have verification from Cooper or any other reliable source that he is in fact gay, only speculation. Speculation is not encyclopedic, nor does it have any room in WP.”
The reality is that without speculation, we wouldn’t know about the sexual orientation of a great many notable people. But times have changed and laws have changed. No one is going to charge Anderson Cooper with sodomy if he comes out. And the point of my original editorial wasn’t so much to “out” anyone, it was to highlight how ridiculous and insulting it is for rich, famous, successful people to refuse to answer “the question.” No straight person denies being straight.
Now I’m a longtime Wikipedia fan; Kevin Naff is definitely not. Naff displays a typically journalistic bias against - and I would suspect a misunderstanding of - the way Wikipedia works. The Talk Page dialogue is a rich back and forth that pretty fairly reflects the debate on the issue in the wider society. For the moment my side is losing. (I wish that were only true on Wikipedia!)
I most definitely believe the Blade is a legitimate news source and the material should be included in the Cooper entry. But I don’t think the answer is to discredit or dismiss Wikipedia. The answer is to engage and win, go in and support NYDCSP:
I am just trying to do my best as an editor to place sourced content from reliable, verifiable third-parties ... I admit the content is critical of Mr Cooper, but this article is pretty devoid of any criticism of him as of now. To me this is unbalanced. I am not going on a fishing trip to find other suitable criticisms to make my point (that pass the “no gay rule")-- I came across this material myself over due course and found it compelling, and well within the rules, and highly relevant. I find the intensity of the two or three folks coming at it with many, many (I believe) flawed citations of WP policy to be very interesting in and of itself. But it hasn’t changed my mind a bit. I also think this is not something that can be solved over two days. It should allow for other editors to at least read if not decide to weigh in on the discussion.
So I will pledge to observe a time-out, if Proto’s compromise can be put up and observed for a week or so, and other editors can weigh in if they want to. Or not. And we come back later. Agreed?
If you’re a Wikipedia editor (I am not) get in there!
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Shiver me timbers
Liz Losh points us to an eighth grade civics test from 1954 (which just happens to be the year I was born). She highlights the correct answer to question number ninety-seven and wonders, “Wouldn’t it be better if we were teaching our kids about this stuff, instead of hectoring them about file-sharing?”
It sure would.
Swimming upstream: it’s not just about consuming anymore
There’s a fascinating brouhaha in the geek blogosphere over Mark Cuban’s ”question” about whether BitTorrent can “ live up to the hype” and change the economics of multimedia distribution on the net. NewTeeVee tells the tale:
Mark Cuban’s post expressing his reservations about the BitTorrent protocol was bound to draw some responses from the passionate peer-to-peer community. Our guest contributor Janko thinks he might have one good point, at least. TorrentFreak wrote a measured response. And this week, BitTorrent creator and CEO Bram Cohen wrote a less measured response.
But now Cuban seems to have nothing better to do with his time than troll blog comments! He mixed it up with that BitTorrent fanboys at TorrentFreak, and really got into it with Bram Cohen. In other words, it’s a
multi-mbillionaire versus the uber-geek in a nerdfight on LJ! Screw football, this is what I’ll be watching this weekend.
I’m with Bram; but afraid it may play out Cuban’s way (this commenter’s MP3 analogy proving as much as disputing the point ). If you’re interested, do read through all the posts and comments. For now I choose to quote, with concern, Cuban’s accurate observation that:
The ISPs dont want to see more upstream usage...in the mind of the ISP, upstream use = bad. MOre upstream b/w use = more bad. Which in turn pushes them not to increase the bandwidth available to end users, but to evaluate where the upstream use is coming from and look at shutting it off and throttling it. Call me crazy, but that equates to a challenge for the BT universe.
It’s a challenge for all of us. If we want to move from not just mere consumers of our culture, but rather full participants as producers of our culture, this must change. Before we can change it we have to fully realize that it is the true and always remember that we want upstream bandwidth too.
Friday, February 02, 2007
100,000 clips pulled from YouTube - should we counter-sue?
“After months of ongoing discussions with YouTube and Google, it has become clear that YouTube is unwilling to come to a fair market agreement that would make Viacom content available to YouTube users,” Viacom said in a statement. “Filtering tools promised repeatedly by YouTube and Google have not been put in place, and they continue to host and stream vast amounts of unauthorized video.
“YouTube and Google retain all of the revenue generated from this practice, without extending fair compensation to the people who have expended all of the effort and cost to create it,” the statement continued. “The recent addition of YouTube-served content to Google Video Search simply compounds this issue.”
YouTube has subsequently agreed to remove more than 100,000 video clips produced by Viacom properties, including MTV Networks, Comedy Central, BET and VH-1, according to a YouTube statement.
“It’s unfortunate that Viacom will no longer be able to benefit from YouTube’s passionate audience, which has helped to promote many of Viacom’s shows. We have received a DMCA takedown request from Viacom, and we will comply with their request,” said YouTube’s statement.
It’s all a negotiating tactic. Does anyone really believe they will give up all that promotion? But here’s where it gets interesting: how is Viacom finding the clips they want pulled?
It looks like what Viacom has done to YouTube is simply search everyViacom trademarked and copyrighted term against every Tube name, and then asked YouTube to pull down the videos, under the terms of the onerous and notorious DMCA. YouTube has now pulled the videos. Unfortunately, I suspect that tens of thousands of these videos are completely legitimate.
That’s Jim at OPML, The Harvard Book of. He suspects that because one of his videos got pulled:
I just recieved a notice that a video of mine has been removed from YouTube because of a complaint by Viacom. The video, for the record, is a short home clip, about 30 seconds, of me and several friends having dinner in a ribs place in Somerville. That this is the case should not be confusing to Viacom, given that the video is titled:
Sunday nite dinner at Redbones in Somerville, Mass:
Jim wants to do something about it. And he’s got friends:
I support YouTube in sending this on to me and taking down the video. What else are they to do? Of course, now they have set up a situation where I perhaps have legal standing to go after Viacom. Of course I can’t afford to do this alone--but perhaps now I am part of a “class”--as in “class action law suit?” Anyone else interested. This blog, by the way, is hosted at Harvard Law School Berkman Center for Internet & Society, so we should be able to get some local talent to help out.
Here is the email he got from YouTube.
As reported, the flu pandemic guidelines are less draconian than I had imagined:
States should be prepared to keep children out of school for three months, businesses should be prepared to operate with skeleton workforces, children should be prepared to play mostly with their siblings, and parents should be prepared to lose income as they skip work and cobble together rickety child-care arrangements.
That was the picture sketched Thursday by federal officials in a guidance for communities on how to fight pandemic influenza in the months before a vaccine becomes available—if one ever does.
We had a meeting about our plan some weeks ago; IT people, more than most, will have to physically be there to keep the infrastructure working. Students, faculty and staff can be sent home to telecommute:
The 106-page document issued by the CDC outlines “non-pharmaceutical interventions” against a virus that can sometimes be caught simply by standing near an infected person. The chief strategy is to keep people physically apart as much as possible during the eight-to-10-week-long waves of illness.
States and metropolitan areas would decide when to invoke various measures, such as closing schools and banning concerts and sporting events. The guidance, notably, did not suggest restricting travel. Its authors believe that if a pandemic’s effects can be blunted or spread out over time, the essential functions of the economy may be able to continue largely unchanged. [...]
Pandemic America would be an old-fashioned place. People would spend most of their time with close relatives and a few neighbors. They wouldn’t go to the movies, run to the supermarket on a whim, or hug people they barely know. The sick would be cared for at home unless they were near death. Everyone would shun the houses of the ill.
At the same time, many of today’s habits and capabilities would remain.
Washington’s faux apology
DOES ANYONE BELIEVE Washington himself wrote this example of gushing loquacity? Clearly it was written by a public relations person. Why not a simple: “I said it; I was wrong to say it; I apologize”? The only thing it really says is, “Please, please, let me keep my job.” Was it sincere? Well, no doubt Washington sincerely wants to keep his job.
“I can [not] ... explain my behavior. ... I have begun counseling ... as a necessary step toward understanding why I did what I did.”
Oh blarney! He doesn’t know why he did it? How about: “I think homosexuality is disgusting and I wanted to insult T.R. Knight as deeply as I could.”
More irritating than his using “faggot” in the first place was his subsequent denial. Washington behaved like the little boy who denies he broke the lamp even though he was the only person in the room at the time. That doesn’t seem very manly. Did he expect everyone around him to support his denial because he is a “star”? Did he think being a star means never having to say you’re sorry?
On banning words:
IN GENERAL, I oppose trying to ban words just as I oppose the rigidities of most “political correctness.” The point is not to ban words, but to discourage people from using them to insult other people. And we should not do that by trying forcibly to prevent people from using them but by trying to change people’s attitudes toward gays so they will have no desire to use demeaning terms.
Beantown bombs no hoax
I’m so bugged by the criminalization and media sensationalization of everything. Case on point: The Boston buzz-marketers did not deserve to be arrested. If someone, somewhere up the corporate line did not follow some regulation, fine the hell out of them. But don’t bust the guys paid 300 bucks to stick the things up around town.
I suppose it was inevitable that someday the pop culture gap would result in an entire city being shut down and the “perps” being frog marched into some Homeland Security gulag, but I had always hoped it would be a second- or third-rate hee-haw flyover city, not Boston.
Because what happened here was an embarrassment. Turner Broadcasting launched this marketing stunt in 10 cities and we were the only one that reacted like this. Some people are saying it’s to our credit that we’re so “observant,” but I have a hard time believing that any serious person could say that with a straight face. Plus the devices have been up for three weeks before we even noticed.
Next, let’s all get out our dictionary and look up “hoaxÃ¢â‚¬Â�, shall we? Because while “War of the Worlds” was a hoax, this was not. There was no subterfuge involved, and no effort made to convince people that these devices were bombs. If I see a scary looking tree out my bedroom window, think it’s a monster, and then discover upon closer inspection that it isn’t, it doesn’t mean the tree has perpetrated a hoax against me. What it means is that for a moment I took leave of my senses. And just because I’m embarrassed about it doesn’t give me the right to go cut down the tree.
SEE ALSO: Steve Safran (first to point out the connection between the devices and the Aqua Teen Hunger Force ) on his day as a media whore:
The signs sure didn’t look like bombs - they looked like an evil SpongeBob Lite Brite. Every time they found a sign, the police said things like “the components are consistent with an improvised explosive device.” One officer repeated that sentiment, adding “except for the explosives.”
So, except for the explosives, we had explosives all over Boston.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
1,160 pixels per square foot
I don’t watch football but I sure would like to see this field:
ALEX GOLDMARK: They call it “Turf TV” because, well, it can turn football field turf into a television.
MARK NICHOLLS: Not, you know, high definition, but it’s comparable to a regular television screen. There’s 1,160 pixels per square foot.
Mark Nicholls is CEO of Sportexe, the company that makes the field. They put fiber-optic “straws,” as he calls them, inside each little strand of fake grass. But besides that, he says it’s a normal turf field.
NICHOLLS: Plays the same, looks the same, has the same durability. The difference is is shooting up through the middle of that straw is light. And when we can determine what and in what configuration those light up in, with the push of a button it can look like a football field. And with the push of another button it can be a soccer field.
And a Saturday Night Fever-style flashing floor for a halftime show even...And fiber optics have some other potentially useful properties.
NICHOLLS: So as you walk down the field, I could essentially light your footprints behind you. When that receiver is . . . is catching the ball and sliding out of bounds, I can actually light exactly where they touched the ground.
No special rights proposed in New Hampshire
Former [New Hampshire] Senate Republican Leader Bob Clegg told The Associated Press on Thursday he will introduce legislation giving gays - and other adults who don’t choose to marry - the same legal rights as married couples.
Clegg, a conservative senator from Hudson, said all adults would be able to enter into “contractual cohabitation” agreements and receive the legal benefits married couples have in the state. Clegg was majority leader when Republicans controlled the Senate last session.
“Marriage is a religious ceremony,” said Clegg. “The bill is not just for gays and lesbians; it’s for anybody.” [...]
Clegg released his bill to the AP while a hearing was in progress one floor up in the Statehouse on a proposed amendment to ban gay marriage.
“I don’t believe we need to amend the constitution,” he said.
You’ve got to wonder how that proposed anti-gay marriage amendment will fare in a state where the license plates read, “Live Free or Die.”
An open and shut sex-offender case
There are clearly sex offenders in this world; the question is how to effectively deal with them. We can all be dumbfounded by the case of the 29 year old posing as a 12 year old. The details are sickening. But how did he get there?
When he was growing up in Oklahoma, he was sexually abused by neighbors, said his mother’s sister, Jan Bautista, with whom he lived briefly after his release from prison in 2002.
He was 18 in 1996 when the authorities in Chickasha, Okla., charged him with making lewd and indecent proposals to two 6-year-old boys. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and released after serving 7.
The abused abuse. What kind of treatment did he receive for that childhood sexual abuse he suffered? I’ll hazard a guess: none at all. Then, still pretty much a child himself, he makes “indecent proposals.” What kind of treatment did he receive for that? Seven years in jail. How effective does anyone think that is in addressing the problem? What do we expect he’ll be like when he gets out?
From there, Ms. Bautista said, he made his way to San Bernardino County in California, where he stayed with her for about two months. Ms. Bautista said she asked Mr. Rodreick to leave after she found child pornography on her computer and suspected him of lewd acts toward a child. She said she turned her computer over to the sheriff.
“I really hate this man,” she said. “I really do. I hope they keep him in prison the rest of his life, because I know he is never going to get well.”
We’re hearing here only from an aunt (and why isn’t she referred to as an aunt?); what of his own parents? It just gets worse and ends up hopelessly with “the men known as his uncle, grandfather and cousin, who until recently shared a three-bedroom house with him [and] were not family at all, but a web of convicted sex offenders and predators, law enforcement officials say, preying in part on one another.”
So there’s no option here; the aunt is right, keep him in prison, he’ll never get well. We can hate him, hate all of them, too. But is that really going to get us any nearer to solving the problem? Any closer at all? I don’t think so.
The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act
A friend’s letter in the Times yesterday:
To the Editor:
An addendum should be made to your editorial’s point that all horses deserve the “generosity of conscience” that was expended to save Barbaro.
Just days before Barbaro was humanely put down, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act was reintroduced in Congress. In an incredible juxtaposition to the fanfare of Barbaro, more than 100,000 horses were slaughtered last year in the United States and shipped to Europe and Japan for human consumption.
Each one of these animals suffered extreme cruel and inhumane conditions in the transportation and slaughter process.
Surely a nation and a national press that can expend so much attention on the life and death of one racehorse should be able to muster the compassion to pass legislation that would end this cruelty.
Animal Welfare Advocacy
Mamaroneck, N.Y., Jan. 30, 2007
The Times’ editorial, One Horse Dies. Thomas entry for H.R. 857, The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. To find out more.
Ad hoax bombs
Lost Remote’s Steve Safran was the first to figure out that the ten blinking devices that had Boston in a tizzy all day yesterday were, in fact, part of an outdoor marketing campaign for Adult Swim’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
After an ENTIRE day of live coverage and city-wide disruption, Turner Broadcasting has released a statement explaining that it is indeed a Aqua Teen Hunger Force marketing stunt. I just did a phoner on the news to explain a little more. There is a BIG question here: why didn’t the police know? Why didn’t they get information from the other cities where this happened? How come it took Turner all day to tell Boston what was going on? The story was on national channels - didn’t any officials in other cities think to tell Boston officials?
Later, Turner issued a statement. It’s worth noting that local TV stations (reacting, no doubt, to the new realities born of the FCC) photoshopped and/or pixelated images of the devices, little LED Moominites, to obscure the three lights that indicate an extended middle finger. Notes Steve:
By “protecting” us from the image of the character, TV missed the opportunity to show the audience exactly what it was. The police and the stations would have, doubtlessly, received tons of calls explaining the harmless nature of the character.
The clincher, arrests:
Boston authorities are still angry. They arrested two men who put up the electronic promotions and vowed to hold Turner accountable for what Menino said was “corporate greed,” that led to at least $500,000 in police costs.
Turner said the devices have been in place for two to three weeks in 10 cities: Boston; New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Atlanta; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas; San Francisco; and Philadelphia. As soon as the company realized the Boston problem, it said, law enforcement officials were told of their locations in all 10 cities.
James Joyner, “It’s not clear what crime has been committed. Did the company call in a bomb threat?”
Steve Safran, “Police described the light-up signs as having construction “consistent with an explosive device” which, if you count a circuit board, some lights and a battery taped together, means I have several potential explosive devices in my kids’ playroom.”
I’d be watching Steve on Good Morning America right now (we turned off NPR to watch) but apparently the Atlanta equivalent of a Boston bomb scare is “about a quarter inch of wet snow.” The ABC affiliate there (the only one we get here) has pre-empted the entire program.