On this day in history, remember the Mooninites

January 31 is the first anniversary of the day Boston panicked over "suspicious devices" that turned out to be a marketing campaign for a cartoon.

Fellow Americans, on January 31, we celebrate the anniversary of what was undoubtedly one of the most hilarious faux-pas in homeland security: the 2007 Boston Bomb Scare .

For those who stepped in late, on January 31, 2007, the city devolved into mass hysteria (well, kind of) when police were alerted to a number of suspicious electronic devices scattered around the city.

Before long, the city realized that the light-up displays were actually promotions for the upcoming film version of the cartoon show Aqua Teen Hunger Force--light-emitting diode (LED) circuit boards shaped like the show's "Mooninite" characters. But by that point, there had already been trains delayed, traffic rerouted, bridges shut down, and press conferences aplenty.

The Mooninites had been installed in a dozen other American cities, including my hometown of New York, where I saw one for weeks on Lafayette Street near Cooper Square and didn't think that it could possibly be anything other than silly cartoon art.

Apparently, some things just don't go over too well in the land of the Red Sox. When the state's attorney general arraigned the marketers in charge of the campaign for planting a "hoax device" in public, the statute used to justify the arraignment actually used the phrase " infernal machine ."

As a commemoration of the national-security laugh fest's one-year anniversary, a group of artists have brought LED art back to Boston's streets, this time in the shapes of political figures like George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden. The Boston Globe reported earlier this month that the original "Aqua Teen terrorist" remains proud of his work.

Poor, neglected Boston must've just wanted its moment in the post-apocalyptic sun; after all, you sure didn't see that Cloverfield monster splashing around in the Charles River or the megahurricanes from The Day After Tomorrow flooding the Big Dig.

Full disclosure: I am not rooting for the Patriots this weekend.

 

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