I live outside of Boston, but generally everything within the confines of the 95/128 ring road/interstate is considered “Boston” by the outside world. So let’s just say I live in Boston.
I actually have lived in the city proper, and a bunch of other towns with silly names that sound vaguely English and sometimes not, like Cambridge, Belmont, Waltham, Medford. I first started living here when I was 17, having been given a limit of about 150 miles to move away to college by my parents and shooting for the upper limit. I moved here for my freshman year at school and I never moved back, so here I’ve been since. That’s about 19 years, which is almost 20 years, which basically makes me a resident, and not some errant drunk tot belching out his undergraduate studies and considering himself a part of the elder gods of Beantown.
So let me say, for myself, speaking for whatever portion of the population I belong to: I’m really fucking sorry about this whole Lite Brite Bomb thing. Really sorry. Please accept my apology, my personal apology for this tornado of dumbassery and overreaction and move on.
Boston has some very, very stupid things about it. It’s terrified of 24 hour activity, so there are only 3 (three, I am saying) 24 hour eating establishments within the city and surrounding area. It is rife with corruption and misappropriation, and it’s almost impossible to negotiate its streets, even on foot, unless you’re a hardened veteran of hedge mazes.
And I fully admit that this place is totally capable of some very stupid “controversies” indeed, although I can’t remember the last time it got millions of dollars out of a company and the head of its president besides. In fact, as a measure of goodwill, I will remind you of one: the Super Soaker Scandal.
Back in the summer of 1992, a report went by that some kids in Boston were putting bleach or urine inside Super Soakers and squirting victims with them (Note to young readers; Do not do this). Additionally, there was a tragic case where a 15-year-old died when some waxbrian pulled out a real handgun during a supersoaker fight and shot him. There’s various ways a city can deal with these sorts of tragedies, from tracking down perpetrators to calling for programs to redirect youth violence in positive directions. Boston, of course, immediately sought to ban Super Soakers. Some stores voluntarily pulled Super Soakers off the shelves in a show of support for this misdirected hatred of big plastic squirt guns. (I, for what it’s worth, immediately bought 4.) It got as far as legislative bills being proposed before, you know, summer ended and nobody gave a shit anymore. We moved on.
So Boston has a history of this. It happens. I’m sorry.
BoingBoing has been particularly fanning the flames of insulting the city and slowly moving towards shifting those insults to people who live there, and as someone who has benefited to the tune of thousands of dollars from BoingBoing’s attention, I still have to say, it’s getting way overboard.
This is part of the problem with Boingboing’s structure, which often serves people well (consistent updates, strong characters of main contributors, mix of technical and organic subjects), but sometimes does not (almost no fact-checking apparatus, promotion of 3-5 year old stories as brand new, over-the-top black-and-white reaction to somewhat subtle and nuanced conflicts). In the case of Boston, we get to one of the core issues I have: bullying. Having posted well over a dozen entries about all possible aspects of this event, they’ve now moved into simply using “Boston” as an adjective for “Backwater”. “Wearing [light-up bras] in Boston could get you arrested.” and the like. Mean spirited and not appreciated, and when the next stupid thing in the world happens, the focus will shift there.
Please stop doing that.
My city has flaws, my city has problems, and as was just shown by this unintentional multi-city fire drill, it can go completely over-the-top bugfuck over what’s obviously a stupid misunderstanding. I’m sorry that everyone had to see this; it’s like having a drunken relative get into the paper. It’s just a shame it got all this attention.
I promise to stay my hand a little bit when it’s someone else’s turn. And, again, I’m sorry.
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