February 2, 2007

Everybody Hates Boston

Everybody Hates Boston

OK, there’s got to be a show about the Great Boston Lite-Brite Terror Scare of 2007. What a comedown for the most intellectual of American cities. How embarassed you must feel!

gregbillock, in a comment to Open Source, February 2, 2007

Gregbillock is not the only one talking about the recent security alert in Boston. For starters, how about the surprising level of anti-Boston sentiment that these events have unleashed on the web?

Of all of the cities that had these signs displayed in them, only the mouth-breathers in Boston seem to have the particular mental impairment which led to where we are today.

Matt, OMG It’s a BOMB!, Rocketseason.com, February 2, 2007

I have just moved to Boston and I can’t help but be ashamed for the people of Boston and residents of the state. This is seriously embarassing… I have previously lived in cities 3 times the size of Boston in terms of population and somehow they seemed to function alright – I think perhaps I have discovered the answer… the people of Boston hate their city.

Jason, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Insanity, MySpace.com, February 2, 2007

Boston is officially the dumbest city in the US.

Sarah, Boston is officially the dumbest city in the US, Amor Animi, February 2, 2007

Chill the f**k out east coast. You don’t need to take everything so d**n seriously. If you live in fear your whole lives what kind of life would that be?… In Portland for example nobody thought twice about these things.

Clint, Settle down east coast, MySpace.com, February 2, 2007

Apparently it’s open season for Hub haters. Would any other city have gotten a similar reaction, or have these feelings alway been lurking out there, waiting for a chance to surface?

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  • supersteeringweelguy

    Living in Gloucester, MA I get to interact with Bostonites every now and then. They seem to be a bit glum. I think it’s because they secretly suspect that New Yorkers are having better sex.

  • I wonder if the rest of the country overreacted against Boston in the same way that Boston may have overreacted when they found the strange modified Lite-Brites hanging around their city. It just seems the Mayor et al should have, upon realizing it was an ad campaign, called off the bomb squad and chilled out. They should have stopped calling it a hoax device, stop threatening people, stopped blowing things up and start asking for answers. Turner’s already said he’ll pay the tab as he rightfully should. Those two guys who did the placement of the devices don’t need jail time, don’t need to think differently, they merely need to think things through more to save everyone a lot of trouble.

    I live on the other side of the state and think Boston is an excellent place to visit, it’s smaller than NYC and feels much nice and historical. What happened the other day was a series of bad decisions and I just wish everyone could take a step back and look at it for what it really was, a big expensive mistake.

  • supersteeringweelguy

    Having dished my own generalization about the folks in Beantown, (above) I’d like to say: Who are we talking about here?

    Personally I think city officials might still be a bit raw about slip ups at Logan on 9/11. Perhaps they’re not the only ones. Would any other city have drawn a similar reaction? Sure. But Boston’s easy to hate. Walk around the place and you get the sense that there’s this power looming in the buildings above you. Just stand in Copley Square. Trinity, the John Hancock building, the library. The place just screams Blue-blood power. And what’s easier to hate than that?

    On a side note: I don’t know if it’s the people or the place, probably both, but there seems to be an air false asceticism about the place. The Liquor Laws and lack of a late late night life even when school’s in session might be examples of what I’m driving at. Everyone acts so serious all the time, as if the whole world depended on the rigor of their own mental machinations, and they’re miserable. Perhaps it’s got something to do with that Blue blood power, or the perception of it. Perhaps it’s got to do with the cycles of immigration and the fear of being an outsider that so many Irish and Italian immigrant parents instilled in their children (not to exclude folks from other parts of the world). I think a lot of Bostonians are insecure about their own personal identity, and that of their city. Go to any school yard and look at how kids respond to that kind of insecurity. It’s easy to hate. You can live in Boston your whole life and still feel like an outsider. Go spend a weekend in New York and you’ve got a place to call your own in the universe, for life.

  • I think the discussion should be focused on the officials, they’re the ones who don’t seem willing to back down after the fact. I believe most people were looking at this in a much simpler way than you suggest. Seeing a guy in a bomb squad suit blowing up a small blinking middle-finger waving alien was a surreal experience and it might have put some perspective into the concept of a war on terrorism which by it’s very nature cannot be won. People may have realized that so much of what we concern ourselves with, principally the fear of being blown up or killed in a terrorist attack is really probably not worth the time and energy it takes.

  • Would any other city have gotten a similar reaction, or have these feelings alway been lurking out there, waiting for a chance to surface?

    The latter. But .. I don’t think it’s hatred so much as a chance to taunt, tease and heckle.

    Mind – I’ve never _been_ to Boston so I have no cause for feelings about the place. Maybe that will change if I do get to fly out there (business) in a few months.

  • Pingback: Boston | Everybody Hates Boston()

  • plnelson

    This relates to a couple of other threads here on ROS . . .

    In one thread some environmentalists are trying to convince those of us who live in “detached housing” out in the exurbs and (gasp!) drive cars, that it’s more environmentally responsible to live in cities where we can take public transit.

    In another thread some people are trying to convince us that cities are not weird distorted environments and that cities don’t make people crazy.

    Obviously I disagree with both propositions and based on this latest news from Boston, I rest my case.

  • plnelson

    I actually lived in the “Athens of America” for a year and a half when I was young and carless. Since I mostly commuted via MBTA it’s possible I got a distorted view of the mental state of the denizens there, based on the strange people I often had to share the trolley car with and the unleasant smells in stairways entering and leaving the stations.

    So, all that said, while I’m disappointed, I’m not surprised that Boston’s Finest along with its hyper-educated head-in-the-clouds citizenry would detect the unmistakable mark of al-Qaeda in blinking LED renditions of a cartoon space alien flipping the bird. Boston’s motto is that you can’t be too educated, to vigilant or too stupid.

  • tbrucia

    In Texas the level of hatred on can generate against distant Boston is about the same as that one could muster against Regina, Saskatchewan; Valladolid, Spain; Kitakyushu, Japan; or Pusan, South Korea. Easier to generate a reaction about Harvard (pointy-headed intellectuals), Ted Kennedy (liberal), the Big Dig (big waste of money), or the Pilgrims (first Thanksgiving Day). Boston is simply a dream place that flickers across one’s TV screen occasionally, like the face of Silvio Berlusconi. or images of gun-toting Congolese militia members, or the sound of macaws in a National Geographic show. Sorry….

  • rc21

    I love Boston, It’s just the people who infest it that I don’t care for.

  • webcastboy

    I’ve lived in New England my entire life…18 years in Connecticut, 12 in Boston now…and the longer I live here the more I realize how warped my perspective on reality is because of it. My wife and I are REALLY jonesing to move the hell out of here. Somewhere where people don’t “live to work” because you have to (gotta pay that outrageously high rent somehow) while suffering through crap weather nine months (at least) of every year. It’s no wonder Bostonians are so uptight…the weather here really sucks, and you don’t have the cache of New York to make up for it.

    Anyways, with the Lite Brite Bomb Scare issue at hand…personally I agree with Dan Kennedy’s (medianation.blogspot.com) initial feeling that if Deval Patrick had any guts he’d send the State Police off to arrest the boards of directors for Interference, Inc (the marketing firm that cooked up this mess) and of Time Warner (the real name of Turner Broadcasting). I agree 100%…if this is a serious issue then treat it seriously; a million dollar “restitution” is a joke compared to the value TW is getting from all the publicity.

    If the long arm of the law laid the smackdown on some folks besides the two idiots (and yes, they are idiots…haircuts of the 70’s my ass) who actually placed the LED signs…….well, the rest of the country would STILL think Boston overreacted. But I suspect they’d at least give us credit for taking serious action to prevent this kind of brouhaha from happening again. Now every goddamn startup marketing firm is going to be descending on Boston, trying to create another “bomb scare” to get lots of free publicity. Just watch – it’ll happen again for some summer movie, I guarantee it…probably with little blinking and flapping “golden snitches” to promote the new Harry Potter movie.

  • Of the many reasons I have to hate Boston, this is not one of them.

    Firstly, Clint from Seattle, or any other upity Seatlites, I somehow remember getting “f**kin'” TEAR GASSED by the Seattle Police in 1999 for quietly standing on the sidewalk, so no one in Seattle has the right to tell me or anyone on the east coast to chill the “f**k” out. And as I watched the police, suit up in their riot gear to shut down that following New Year, I fled for the border to Vancover. So Boston is not the first city to over-react.

    Sure the light-bright crisis is silly, what makes it worse is no one could say, oops, guess we over reacted, and the Mayor’s assertion that the giulty should be brought to justice is rediculous. Right now I’m 6,000 miles away right now, so I’m a little out of touch, but yes, it’s a bit shameful, but not a reason to hate Boston or Bostonians.

    I’m not a Bostonian, but have spent most of my life in it’s shadow. My grandmother grew up at the Home For Little Wandering, and maybe I’m glad my family fled it, first to Newton, then Wakefield, then Beverly, then York, Maine. However it’s not all that bad, Bostonians are good people, and the city is relitively peaceful (low murder rate), somewhat clean, and there’s a thing or two to do.

    Reasons to hate Boston: the subway closes really early ruining many a night out, the music scene is pathetic for a city it size, to artists and musicians from outside of Boston Bostonians are downright nasty, mafia contractors, parking, driving, and I won’t go on, we all have our reasons.

    Go Sox!

  • Perhaps I missed some of the media hype surrounding this whole thing. But as someone who periodically thought to himself this summer “Hmm, chunks of the Big Dig falling down, huh? I hope nobody gets the idea to put a bomb down there somewhere,” I feel like it wasn’t really all that much an overreaction. If terrorists decide that sections of underground tunnels are an easy mark, then they won’t resort to the lite-brite strategy next time. But if they had, it would seem brilliant in retrospect.

    There are lots of things to hate about Boston, Chicago, Seattle, New York, even San Francisco (maybe). I think the reputation the city has as an intellectual hub makes people in other cities long for opportunities to call Bostonians stupid. But was this really all that stupid?

  • I heard one theory that Boston authority was over compensating for the fact they let the hijackers slip through their fingers and get on the planes that caused 9-11. If I was Boston I’d probably be a mental case too. Let me close my comment with:

    I looked out this morning and the sun was gone

    Turned on some music to start my day

    I lost myself in a familiar song

    I closed my eyes and I slipped away….

    (more than a feelin’ by Boston, the flying guitar city/starship)

  • plnelson

    Cave Blogem says “Perhaps I missed some of the media hype surrounding this whole thing. But as someone who periodically thought to himself this summer “Hmm, chunks of the Big Dig falling down, huh? I hope nobody gets the idea to put a bomb down there somewhere,” I feel like it wasn’t really all that much an overreaction. If terrorists decide that sections of underground tunnels are an easy mark, then they won’t resort to the lite-brite strategy next time. But if they had, it would seem brilliant in retrospect.

    Wrong. That’s the same rationale that was used to invade Iraq. “Sure the evidence that Saddam has WMD’s is weak-to-nonexistent, but if he DOES have them this will seem brilliant in retrospect.” It takes a better reason that that.

    Boston is full of GENUINE, KNOWN dangers – traffic, for example. And murder – Boston has been “enjoying” a big murder spree for over a year now. In 2006 Boston’s murder rate per 100,000 populatuion was 10.8. Contrast this with Canada – 2.01, France 1.64, Australia 1.28, or Germany 0.98.

  • plnelson

    I heard one theory that Boston authority was over compensating for the fact they let the hijackers slip through their fingers and get on the planes that caused 9-11. If I was Boston I’d probably be a mental case too.

    Nonsense. It wasn’t even the same authorities. And if hypervigilance and an elevated concern for public safety are the alleged results of 9/11 in Boston how do you explain the dramaitic INCREASE in murders in Boston since then?

  • so I read the “Clint” blog comment quoted above, and disagreed, so I went to his blog and left a comment, simular to mine there, that Seattle can’t talk about over-reacting, and he sent me back the following:

    don’t read my blog if you don’t like it pacifist

    take off ya knob.

    I think went you put something on a public blog, then you invite discussion, apparently not.

    As for the boston Murder Rate, comparing it to non gun-toting, non semi-socialist states isn’t fair. Compare it to LA, Detroit, and New York. Your chances of getting murdered are less. I currently live in Moscow which logs in about 250 + murders every year, most go unsloved, so yes, I feel safer in Boston.

    As for letting the terrorist on planes, it could have happened ANYWHERE security was bad everywhere.

  • It could have happened ANYWHERE but it didn’t happen ANYWHERE. One place it did happen was Boston. Deal with it… though how many cartoon show marketing firm wet-dream-come-true stunts it will take?

  • plnelson

    As for the boston Murder Rate, comparing it to non gun-toting, non semi-socialist states isn’t fair.

    Life’s not fair. Anyway, how is Australia any more semi-socialist than Massachusetts? Yet they have about 1/8 Boston’s murder rate.

    As for the boston Murder Rate, comparing it to non gun-toting, non semi-socialist states isn’t fair. Compare it to LA, Detroit, and New York.

    WHY should we compare Boston to those places – did they ALSO over-react to a silly advertising toy? My point is that Boston should focus first on the known, real threats. After they’ve taken care of those they can work on the silly threats.

    though how many cartoon show marketing firm wet-dream-come-true stunts it will take?

    How many will it take for WHAT? To finally convince everybody that the city authorities are clueless? I think we’re most of the way there.

  • Indeed life is not fair, for example I have been put in the uncomfortable place of defending Boston. It’s not my town.

    Many of the 9-11 hijackers started in Bangor, Maine, and even easier airport to slip through. I personally rode in there in a giant rented Rider truck from Philly, without being asked a question, this was back in 1995. So when I heard that many hijackers originated from them, I was not supprised. Airport security is a federal endvor, and city security is not, a case of apples and oranges. So why don’t you blame Bangor for 9-11? It really happened there as much as it happened in Boston.

    as for murder rates, WHY should we compare Boston to those places and not national adverages of other nations? Boston is a city, not a country, and it makes sence to compare it to other cities in the same nation. The cities I’ve mentioned are also large American cities. They have the same “disease” as Boston. They have many of the same screwed up social problems that leads to violence and murder.

    I currently live in a city with a very high murder rate that is swarming with police “protection,” I have personally seen hundreds of soldiers deployed on a single street to “secure it,” for apparently no reason at all. And it really doesn’t seem to help. The cars still seem to blow up from time to time, and every few years some sort of terrorist attach. I agree that what needs to be changes is not really “Fatherland Security,” Maybe this Boston incident may help Americans realize it’s not working. You never fix your pipes until they start to leak, hopefully it’s not really a waist afterall.

    YES, Boston got fooled. not even fooled, they stepped on their own rake. The over reaction was stunning, however it isn’t a symptom or sign of why Boston is “bad.” S#*t happens.

  • plnelson

    YES, Boston got fooled. not even fooled, they stepped on their own rake. The over reaction was stunning, however it isn’t a symptom or sign of why Boston is “bad.”

    Actually I think it IS. I think they ARE connected, and I think that connection is found in the OTHER thread we were having here on ROS about new cities.

    As I suggested there, cities make people irrational. The stress of interacting with thousands of total, complete strangers every day is something our brains were never evolved to do – throughout our entire evolution we lived in small groups of 30-80 individuals. Cities have an unnatural day/night lighting cycle. People living in cities are cut off from the cycles of nature; they don’t know where their food comes from; they don’t know where their waste goes. Many of them work at jobs in huge office building doing some tiny function in a vast enterprise so they are alienated from the product or end-result of their daily labor.

    All of the above insulates people from a grasp of cause and effect. It literally makes people crazy, and this is reflected in high rates of crime, drug abuse, and mental illness. It limits their ability to make rational decisions or gain perspective. America is an increasingly urban society and is therefore increasingly incapable of responding rationally to ANYTHING – Saddam Hussein, global warming, you name it. The willingness of a teenager to kill another kid over a pair of sneakers and the over-reaction of the BPD to an advertising stunt are both the products of the same urban insanity.

    And Boston has all of these ills on top of some other problems: They are largely an academic community: Students are living an artificial life while they wait for their ‘real’ one to start; professors deal in theoretics; they don’t produce anything concrete with their hands, the fruits of their labors are abstract – ideas or “educated students”. A big part of the Boston business community is finance, investment, and insurance, which in day to day work abstracts everything. Fidelity might have a mutual fund that invests in mining or manufacturing, John Hancock might insure against the loss of a Steinway piano, but the thousands of employees who work in their office buildings only know those things as numbers.

  • plnelson said “wrong.” That’s what I love about these threads, the polite fashion in which intellectual disagreements are discussed. In case my ironic tone is misunderstood, I guess what I should say is that comments like that are inappropriate and immature and ruin civil discourse for a lot of intelligent people.

    I’m not sure how investigating electronic devices placed in strategic locations thoughout a city is the same as invading a country that had nothing to do with blowing up some buildings. Seems to me that investigation of said electronic devices is a good idea that doesn’t kill people, while bombing a foreign power and destroing their government does kill people. An important distinction. Perhaps plnelson will tell me that I’m wrong again. But I won’t bother checking this thread to find out.

  • plnelson

    I’m not sure how investigating electronic devices placed in strategic locations thoughout a city is the same as invading a country that had nothing to do with blowing up some buildings.

    They didn’t just “investigate” them – the police shut down major thoroughfares and blew one of them up. They publically referred to them as a “hoax”. “Investigating them” is not what people are talking about here.

  • Shut down major thoroughfares, in bold, yet. I was telling my son yesterday about the “Save the Yuppies” free concert that U2 had at the Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco in the late 1980s. Shut down traffic in downtown SF for hours. But the Boston PD was doing this as a precaution. It is O.K. for Irish Rock bands but not for the police? Or are you saying that the Boston PD had some other motives? I still don’t get it, I’m afraid.

    TV’s Mythbusters can’t seem to “investigate” things without blowing stuff up either. Are they guilty of the sort of thinking that led us into Iraq?

    Is publically referring to them as a “hoax” a crime, one that leads to the same sort of thinking that led to the invasion of Iraq?

    I did say that I had not been following this whole mess in the media. Feels like the right decision, now, too.