As I drove to work this morning my ears perked up when I heard Charlestown mentioned on the news because it’s our old neighborhood in Boston. What they were saying was quite disconcerting: I-93 northbound was closed, as was the Sullivan Square subway station because “a suspicious package” had been found that looked like a bomb of some sort. The city ground to a halt and I got to work without hearing any updates.
About three, one of the servers coming for the evening shift asked if I had heard what had happened in Boston. I said, “You mean the bomb scare?”
“It was all a hoax,” he said. “It was a promotional stunt for a cartoon.” He laughed.
It seems Turner Broadcasting was out to promote “The Aqua Teen Hunger Force” on The Cartoon Network and distributed these things in about ten cities. Boston just found theirs first – a small black box about the size of a laptop with lights running on it. Man, I would like to meet the brain trust in the TBS marketing meeting who thought imitating a terrorist act was a good way to get folks to watch cartoons. (That said, I’m sure the Hunger Force had their biggest audience tonight.)
To say the stunt was insensitive is an understatement. Rush hour in Boston is a little trip to hell on a good day. If someone sneezes or dials a wrong number on their cell phone, everything comes to a screeching halt that takes hours to untangle. I imagine that some folks trapped north of the city this morning just now got to work. Those who dreamed up and then implemented this fiasco obviously didn’t think much about the consequences of what they were setting in motion. What they thought about was getting attention the same way some of those visual and vocal train wrecks on American Idol get up there because it means they are finally on television.
The other story I heard (and I can’t find a link) was on the BBC News and was about a guy in England who has spent his life studying how bumble bees and hummingbirds fly in order to build miniature airplanes that mimic them. He’s close to reaching his goal. The tiny planes must have flexible wings like their models because they have to hover and move quickly. His quest actually has a point beyond getting in the Guinness Book of World Records. The inventor mentioned using them in fire and rescue operations where they could carry a video camera or heat sensors into burning buildings to let firefighters see what was inside. He had other ideas as well, none of them military. He was trying to imagine the consequences of his brainchild.
Both ideas are creative. No, both ideas are imaginative; only one is creative. Though no one has ever promoted a TV show quite the way TBS did today, carrying out the rush hour equivalent of shouting “Fire” in a crowded cinema doesn’t create anything. Being creative means adding to what it means to be human rather than taking away from it, such that, when we’re finished, we can respond much like our Creator responded as the Universe was breathed into existence: “That’s good.”
I’ve just “discovered” your BLOG. It’s now in my bookmarks. I absolutely agree with you about TBS’s “advertising”. What were they THINKING????!!!!
Great post Milton. I like your distinction about creativity as adding to being human. I have often said that creativity is in fact neutral, which is why we need discernment and community to go hand in hand with our creative process. Blessings, Christine
I would have to agree with you. Very nicely thought out. I wish we would think more of the consequences as we create, whether it be inventions or life.
I love how you look at the world.