How is it that I don’t even own a television and I know what the Mooninites are? (Well, I couldn’t remember their names before reading it, but I knew what they were and where the reference came from). I think the whole situation is really an emotional onion.
First there’s the laughter when you realize that parts of the Boston government were completely freaked out by Lite-brites. Then comes the reaction from the Mayor and the Chief of Police when they realize it’s a marketing campaign. They had only two real courses to follow—laugh it off and let the story disappear, or double-down on bluster—and chose the over-the-top response of arresting the kids who put the things up. The motivation for it is obvious: They hung up these lights just to make me look rediculous! And a man in my position can’t afford to be made to look ridiculous!
Then you get angry, since it’s obviously a case of the city government abusing it’s power and hurting the people who’s job it was to hang lighted plaques at random high-traffic spots around the city. There’s no way those people deserve jail time—let alone five years in jail—for what they did, and even the judge in the case knew it. So the marketers hold a press conference and discuss 70s hairstyles.
Absolutely brilliant. Watching that press conference brought back memories of Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies to those old enough to remember it (or have seen tapes of it). To those of us who aren’t (or haven’t), we got the a complete understanding of the generation gap, and how rediculous an older generation can seem to the younger one. The corollary to that is the thought that the baby boomers have grown into the tyranical, self-important fuddy-duddies they used to enjoy pissing off. That they have collectively become Richard M. Nixon. (Of course, that’s not really fair, since it’s doubtful that most boomers thought too deeply about the 1960s beyond just the fashions.)
After the glow of enlightenment wears off, I remember one other thing: the kids hanging the Mooninite devices are out there shilling for AOL-Time Warner, trying to sell movie tickets for one tentacle of a multinational entertainment conglomerate. So yes, I understand the sixties now—it’s been packaged and sold back to me.