I'd like to dedicate this post to the late, great Molly Ivins. I may not have her wit, but I do share her love of sarcastic mockery of absurd politicians. Consider this my way of making the ridiculous look ridiculous.

(Context, for those who haven't heard it. And please feel free to contact the mayor yourself.)

Dear Mr. Mayor,

I am not a constituent. I live in Arizona -- though I'd love to move to Boston one of these days.

I'm sure you're receiving a lot of messages from out-of-towners today. I will not sugarcoat -- that is because today, you are a national laughingstock.

Sir, your city was brought to its knees by Lite-Brite representations of blocky cartoon characters flashing obscene gestures.

Please reread that sentence. Take a moment for it to sink in. Because it certainly doesn't seem as if you've done so yet.

Again, Sir, I will be blunt: you should be embarrassed. That people within your city government would see an object like that and conclude that it was an explosive device is absurd. What were they thinking -- that Boston is under attack by the Riddler? Use your head, man -- if it were the Riddler, there would have been riddles!

But are you embarrassed? No. You have attempted to hide your Keystone Kops' incompetence behind a wall of outrage. You have set the narrative for the news reports; you have used language like "hoax" and listened as the media parroted your words. And incidentally, Sir, controlling a message by repeating distorted language and getting the media to do the same? That's a tactic best associated with Republicans.

Sir, this was not a hoax. Nobody, anywhere, ever dreamed that any human being could possibly mistake those objects for bombs. This is not a case of somebody crying "Wolf!" This is somebody saying, I don't know, "Toothbrush!" and your city officials reacting as if they heard "Wolf!" Instead of suggesting that perhaps the officials made a mistake, you are acting outraged -- outraged! -- that someone would dare say "Toothbrush!" in a post 9/11 world, knowing fully well how much it sounds like "Wolf!"

Yes, this is a sign of a post-9/11 world -- it is a sign of frightened, hysterical people who cannot think clearly and have unsound judgement. Mr. Mayor, a little old lady is no threat when she has a bottle of hand lotion in her carry-on bag. Cellophane and duct tape will not make us any safer in our beds. And a brightly-colored cartoon character flipping the bird bears no resemblance to a bomb. (Actually, perhaps this isn't intrinsically post-9/11 thinking after all -- I remember quite a few people stockpiling canned food in 1999.)

End this foolishness. Don't make any more arrests. Don't file any lawsuits. Just slink away. You don't even have to apologize for your behavior (though that's what somebody with class would do -- and possibly shrug it off with a self-effacing joke in the process). Just move on.

Otherwise, your legacy will be "the mayor who wasted tax dollars suing a cartoon company because his underlings couldn't tell the difference between a bomb and a Lite-Brite".

Think about it, Sir.

And have a happy Groundhog Day.

I assume you will enjoy it -- it's a holiday celebrating a rodent that jumps at his own shadow.


Thaddeus R R Boyd
Phoenix, AZ