No, New Bedford Didn’t Ban People From Wearing Pajama Pants in Public

A fake story about keeping pajama bottoms out of public view has many people confused, unfortunately.

Screenshot via RottenScallop.com

Screenshot via RottenScallop.com

A New Bedford blog that has a satirical take on news, a la The Onion, has people prepared to pull out their pitchforks in protest after a faux-story was published claiming city officials banned residents from wearing pajama pants in public.

RottenScallop.com, a blog that uses the tagline “Where something always smells fishy!,” put up a post on Monday that people are planning a “Million Pajama Pants March,” after the New Bedford City Council “voted to ban pajama pants during daylight hours throughout the city.” It claimed the council did so during a private meeting “behind closed doors.”

The post riffs on the fact that a District Court Judge in New Bedford banned pajama pants, and revealing clothing, from being worn during court sessions over the summer. The ban was lifted in August, however, when first implemented, the media was not notified.

The latest fake story—based on the fact that the preceding report is about the New England Patriots changing their name to “The Kittens”—attributed quotes to city leaders, claiming they said “pajama pants are gateway clothing,” and that they lead to violence.

A worker from New Bedford City Hall said the story was an obvious joke, but they had received calls from concerned citizens. “I can’t believe anyone is taking that seriously. The story even has all the councilors names mixed up,” said the employee.

The confusion surrounding whether or not the story about the ban on pajama bottoms was real began after it was posted on NewBedfordGuide.com’s Facebook page. The New Bedford Guide bills itself as the “ultimate blog source for what’s what in New Bedford,” and is usually reserved for getting the word out about serious news topics in the city.

Unfortunately, when they posted the blog about the fake pants ban, they did so without a disclaimer, causing an immediate reaction from readers. “The New Bedford City Council voted to ban pajama pants during daylight hours throughout the city of New Bedford. The vote passed 6-5 and has been sent to Mayor Mitchell’s desk for signature or veto. Million Pajama Pants March planned!,” the post said. The Facebook post was shared more than 150 times, and more than 55 angry comments flooded the blog page.

A sample of some of the hundreds of comments between the Rotten Scallop blog, and the New Bedford Guide’s Facebook page, included:

“I think it’s stupid…why can’t we wear our pj bottoms outside it’s called [being] comfortable. Worry about the [other] shit den the drug dealers prostitutes an rapists.” [sic]

“Are u serious with all the unsolved murders in this city and the drugs crimes also ur really worried about people wearing pajamas outside u people really need to get ur priorities straight or step the fuck down.” [sic]

“I think it´s good they vote for people to not wear it are people so lazy to dress normal that they have to wear pj everywhere, that is just embrassing and showing that people are lazy and sloppy. Also people judge by looks so it is a good way to avoid problems for the near future like its written here.” [sic]

“So I’m lazy and soppy because after working a 12 hour overnight I decide at 2 aclock in the afternoon to go get some milk in my pajamas ? Banning Pajamas isnt going to do a god damn thing for this city and if this ludacris ban actually passes I’ll start wearing pajamas everyday in protest.” [sic]

“City Council has nothing better to do?! Hey! fix the friggin potholes!” [sic]

Of course, not everyone fell for the gag, even though there was no disclaimer about the blog being a joke on the website, or in the Facebook post by the resource guide for New Bedford residents. “New Bedford reading comprehension in full effect here,” one commenter wrote.

Others couldn’t believe the reaction the story was getting: “I don’t know what’s more hysterical— banning PJ’s in daylight, or the fools [whose] comments think this is true…can’t fix stupid.”

  • Nick LeBlanc

    Steve,

    I read your article regarding my hometown this morning and would like to share a few things with you.

    Like you, I noticed the rapid clamor spreading across Facebook and the absurd comments that were being left in the wake of a misunderstood satire. In fact, last night I even made a post on my personal Facebook page in regards to how ridiculous the whole situation seemed. But when I walked away from your article, I didn’t feel it was light-hearted or fun, I felt insulted and embarrassed. I feel in your position at a reputable News Magazine, you used an opportunity to bring attention to an under-served community as an excuse to point fun at people who were oblivious to the fact that the article was a joke.

    I would like you to consider what you could have written. New Bedford is a city that has struggled to get community involvement. Our public schools are suffering, our government officials hold terms far past the point in which they are useful (in fact, a few of these positions regularly run un-opposed in elections), and our city infrastructure is typically viewed as ‘do-nothings’ by a majority of residents. New Bedford suffers from major self-esteem issues. We have amazing culture, art, music, food, architecture, and one of the richest histories of any small city in the country, yet we can’t ever seem to get our act together.

    In framing an article as you did, you choose to poke fun at residents for being ignorant, rather than bring attention to the fact that there is a city where it is wholly believable that a government would address residents wearing PJs over public education problems or crime.

    It felt insulting to have a magazine associated with Boston–a city that is quickly being tied to us here in the Southcoast by the long-awaited commuter rail expansion–poke fun at a misunderstanding.

    I love seeing my city’s name in a large magazine, but not for something like this. I’m all for good humor, but this city could use some love.

    -Nick

  • J. Towers

    Now that I’ve recovered from the double dose of sheer embarrassment (first from the Rotten Scallop debacle as it was unfolding and again from reading your article), I can say that I’m grateful you published the piece. It needed to be written, after all, to raise awareness about the host of problems occurring in this city.

    As a New Bedford resident and product of its school system, I’m not sure how I got to this place where I am at once mortified about the content and caliber of posts in response to that obvious satire and concerned about the future of the city and employability of its citizens. New Bedford seems to be a bleak place these days populated with many people who have the resources to afford internet access and the wherewithal to post on Facebook but not the comprehension to understand what they are reading–even when others explain the joke in plain language.

    How will these people get hired into jobs that require reading, writing and deductive reasoning skills? How will they understand health messages when they encounter them? How will they educate their children? When will they participate in government instead of criticizing it? These are the types of questions that came to mind as I painfully read each and every comment yesterday; the same ones that come to mind while living and interacting with people here. It’s a stark contrast to my workweek in Boston but it doesn’t have to be this way. We need awareness and action.

    So, please circulate this article and more like it far and wide. Please shout New Bedford’s need for education/training of and investment in its population from the rafters of the State House. You have plenty of evidence of need thanks to the Rotten Scallop and its readership.