Dumb Clients

In all four of yesterday’s classes we discussed Wednesday’s Boston bomb-scare, which was in fact a “guerrilla” marketing campaign for a Turner Broadcasting System show. I’ll write more about this later, after I make some progress in grading the 105 papers I’m reading this weekend, but I’ll address one thing now. In class I referred to Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens, the two men arrested for placing the devices around Boston, as unwitting dupes, “two shlubs”* (not “schmucks”), scapegoats for decisions made by those who hired them. I now take that statement back. Whatever sympathy Berdovksy and Stevens might have garnered evaporated during yesterday’s post-arraignment press conference in which The Brothers Dim announced they would only answer questions about human hair. An article in today’s Boston Globe quotes Berdovsky: “What I’m wondering right now is whether or not the Beatles’ hair style . . . did it actually go into the ’70s or was it all stuck in the ’60s?” Berdovksy rebuffed inquiries about the previous day’s events, saying “That’s not a hair question . . . that’s not a hair question . . .” It was a performance (see YouTube clip) calculated to appeal to the stoner vote in a fringe campaign for 8th-grade class president, and spectacularly, stupendously, monumentally ill-conceived under the circumstances.y

shlub, zhlub: “3. An oaf, a yokel, a bumpkin” Leo Rosten, Joys of Yiddish, Pocket Books, 1968

9 thoughts on “Dumb Clients”

  1. I’ve been reading a lot of the boards from various websites and the overall perception by college students and younger is that these guys are “Legends,” “men of the century,” “Brilliant,” and it goes on (http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1739538). You have to be a member to view the comments on that video.
    No one seems to realize that Boston was the only city to effectively respond to what could have been a serious issue. Many people are calling Boston stupid for responding in the way they did. These guys are making a mockery of the entire situation and the age group that Cartoon Network is targeting seems to be responding. If I were Cartoon Network I would be pretty happy with the outcome of this. They’ll probably have to pay Boston the one million for the cost of the response, and from what many are saying it looks like they’ll pick up a fair amount of viewers.
    What I found kind of funny about the press conference was that the reporters started asking questions about their hair. “Are you afraid that if you go to prison, you will have to get your hair cut?”

  2. Three of my friends reported seeing a magnetic sign from Fitrec above the Boston University Accounting Services office at 881 Comm Ave. The sign had been there for about a week at least. The fact that Sean Stevens and Peter Berdovsky would stoop to put these signs at city infrastructure points and public areas is disgusting. In post-9/11 America, any electronic device with wires portruding out of it near a bridge or public building could cause an uproar. Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino is correct to be furious at this incident. Both Stevens and Berdovsky should have to pay part of Boston’s $500,000 costs to pay for bomb experts and police specialists. These two men are partially liable for the ruckus and economic costs caused by their antics. Their employer is liable for a larger proportion of the penalty, but Stevens and Berdovsky should learn that they are responsible for their actions, no matter how innocent the intent.

  3. Today someone told me that “It is easier to be forgiven than to get permission”. This instantly reminded me of the two shlubs because they clearly were hoping that their forgiveness of such an idiotic act would be faster than getting permission from Mayor Mumbles. Either way I don’t think any kind of marketing or advertising “scam” should be allowed unless a thorough cost analysis and simple comparison of the benefits and consequences is conducted first. I couldn’t even concentrate in my room because of the helicopter noises!

  4. All I have to say is “Wow.” I’ve never seen such blantant disregard for committing questionable acts and scaring an entire city. These guys really think they’re something else to make such a mockery of this whole situation. Regardless of what happened, and who’s to blame, these guys were involved and should at least have the decency to address the people’s questions and comments. I don’t think this type of behavior is at all funny or amusing and if they continue to act like morons then they most definitely deserve to be held liable for whatever charges are brought against them.

  5. I understand the point was to avoid answering questions about the actual case and not allowing the public to get direct quotes from the two men. But my one question is, why the topic of hair? Also, isnt there a point where joking around about not answering questions goes too far? You might as well say no comment. I feel if you said nothing at all it would be better, because now forever these two men are going to be looked at with frustration and annoyance by most of the american public. Is that really the reaction they wanted?

  6. These two men definitely think the public loves them which is contrary to our views. If they wanted to be forgiven, they would have clearly accepted their actions as wrong. However, they are ridiculing the situation and are trying to downplay the significance of what happened. Looking at it from their point of view, this is exactly how we would expect them to act. For them to say “This is ridiculous.” But I definitely didn’t think they would take it to the degree of “hair questions only.” This reminds me of all the Terrell Owens controversy that went on. Whenever reporters questioned him, he would put on a show. Although he was appealing to a certain crowd, most people considered him a liability to a team. And sure enough, all his talking and humiliating himself ended up with him leading the NFL in dropped passes this past season. Another example I can think of that somewhat is applicable to this case involves rapper Snoop Dogg. He was trial for murder and was eventually proven innocent. After the situation, he started to make songs again. In one song, he blatantly admits to the murder that he was previously on trial for. Although these acts generate lots of attention and publicity, it is not always good for the person. Owens failed to deliver due to the high pressure he brought upon himself from his careless comments. I felt bad for the victim’s family after I heard the song released by Snoop Dogg. This impacted me, as now I don’t listen to much of his music anymore. I’m sure many people felt the same way and have lost the respect they had for him. I’m sure these men will have consequences for their act in their everyday lives although the public might not be able to see these consequences.

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