Thursday, February 1, 2007

Wanted (Desperately): A Sense of Humor

I've been missing Molly Ivans, and I didn't even know it.

America needs to lighten-up. We take ourselves far too seriously. We're losing the ability to laugh at ourselves, and we need that ability, lest we forget how truly foolish we all are.

Attack of the Cartoon Goofies
A guerrilla marketing campaign for a TV cartoon paralyzed parts of Boston this week. As part of a marketing campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force, panels of LED pixels portraying a pair of pusillanimous characters from the cartoon were placed around several cities over the last few weeks. Flickr-user xjohnpaulx found them in Philadelphia earlier this month. Only in Boston was this seen as a possible terrorist attack.

From the close-up photos of one of the devices that I've seen, it should have been pretty obvious that these aren't any sort of bomb. But I suppose someone spotted one, thought it suspicious, and called the authorities.

And if anything is clear these days, we take stuff terribly seriously.

The devices were blown up. The two young men who put them up were arrested, charged, and released on bail. Luckily, they see the humor. They refused to talk with reporters about anything but the history of hair styles. Watch the second video in this link. It's worth it.

Politician, Stifle Thyself
Can Joe Biden be elected president? He's certainly qualified, but some people are worried about his electability. Other people hate him with an astoundingly unreasoning passion.

Senator Biden got in all sorts of trouble this week; as far as I can tell it was because he speaks like me. Joe Biden forgot to measure, focus-group-test, and vet his words before he made what he thought was a flattering remark about Barak Obama.

I can understand how those words could be construed as insulting, but their intention was so incredibly clearly not insulting. Senator Obama didn't seem insulted.

But our political culture demands that we take any utterance at its worst, with no sense of humor whatever.

This is Where I Miss Molly Ivans
Molly Ivans was as sharp a political observer as this nation has ever seen. Her columns, looking at the wonderful world of Texas politics and later at the odd reality of national politics, were biting, but funny.

Back in 1993, she wrote a column (The Fun's in the Fight) in which she encourages activists to keep their sense of fun as they fight for their causes. She tells about great characters and how they spiced up their times. She describes the reaction of Austin progressives to a march by bussed-in KKK folks (Mass mooning).
So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.
We need to find this spirit again.


Anonymous said...

Pass the word:

Peter Berdovsky Legal Defense Fund
Law Office of Michael L. Rich
74 Newport Street
Arlington MA 02476

MOT Newbie said...

What really should be happening is the marketing firm and Turner PAYING for those guys' legal defense. I'm sure it won't happen, but it should.

As crazy and half-baked as this is (the charges, etc), this whole marketing-blitz had to be one of the most short-sighted campaigns ever. Kind of reminds me of WKRP in Cincinatti and Les Nesman tossing Turkeys out of a helicopter. That gives me this common question between the two, "What did you THINK would happen?"

Then again, we're still talking about it. Maybe they are marketing geniuses. Regardless, Turner and the marketing firm should pay every penny of every defense that comes of this.

Richard Koehler said...

Turner and that bunch got all of the publicity they needed out of this stunt and more. Even better, the publicity was greater on the web among bloggers helping to debunk the news media's "hoax" approach to the incident. Those web users are exactly the demographic most likely to watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

I want to live in a world where people do these kind of fun things, not the humorless self-important one represented by the (embarrassed) Boston police force.

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