NOW WE KNOW what it takes to bring the city of Boston to its knees: a bunch of Lite-Brites, some batteries and a couple of weeks for the citizenry to notice them.
Emergency personnel and anti-terrorism squads shut down more than a dozen highways, transit stations and other locations across the city Wednesday after receiving reports about multiple suspicious devices. The slender, placemat-sized items had dozens of colored lights, exposed wires and circuitry, and were powered by a row of D batteries wrapped in black tape.
In other words, they looked like an upscale version of Hasbro's Lite-Brite, a toy for artistic grade-schoolers.
Too bad the bomb squads in Boston don't watch the Cartoon Network. Otherwise, they might have noticed that the lights formed two characters from the "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" show: Err and Ignignokt, profane troublemakers shaped like escapees from a 1980s arcade game. The devices were a form of guerrilla marketing, not guerrilla warfare.
By the time the national security hysteria died down, it had crystallized into outrage at the two irreverent hired hands arrested in connection with mounting the displays and at their sponsors at Turner Broadcasting Co., the Time Warner Inc. subsidiary that airs "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." How could they slap brightly colored, magnetic signs of cartoon characters onto bridges and highways without telling authorities first!