Mooninites Attack!

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


This story blows my mind. Apparently, some strange battery-powered devices were found at various points around Boston today, causing officials to shut down freeways, bridges, part of the transit system, and a section of the Charles River. Bomb squads were called in to detonate the devices. Turns out these things are harmless battery-powered blinking LED light boards featuring a Mooninite, a character from “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” which is itself a surreal 15-minute cartoon series airing on Adult Swim, the late-night “alternative” programming brand on Cartoon Network. All this was part of a marketing campaign for the upcoming “Hunger Force” movie: “Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters.”

As a fan of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” and especially of the snarky Mooninites (the one on the light boards is named Ignignoc!) I have to say it was extraordinarily surreal to log on to Drudge Report this afternoon and find this unbelievable photograph of a helmeted bomb squad technician holding a Mooninite. Actually, it was a DJ and fellow Aqua Teen fan at my radio station who first pulled up the web page; his slack-jawed request for me to “just… come… look at this right now” was priceless. The show itself has run for a few years on Adult Swim; while it has frankly lost a lot of its surreal humor this season, I’ll sit through a rerun any night, and it’s the very definition of “underground.” To see Ignignoc plastered all over news websites, and TV reporters trying to get their mouths around “Mooninite,” was head-spinning.

Like so much in today’s (ahem) post-modern culture, this situation elicits equal and opposite reactions. On the one hand, this was a simple commercial art prank, and the paranoid hysteria of post-9/11 America that it illustrates is both shocking and depressing. On the other hand, what the hell were the marketing team at Adult Swim thinking?! There are guerilla marketing controversies that help promote your brand, and then there are controversies that jeopardize the whole enterprise. Planting homemade devices with exposed batteries and dangling wires at public places, no matter how silly the intent, is about as smart as complaining about removing your shoes while in the security line at the airport. Apparently arrests have already been made, and who knows how far the ramifications will travel up the Adult Swim/Cartoon Network/Turner Broadcasting ladder. “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” the movie, is supposed to premier on March 23rd; any bets on that actually happening?

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate