Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Foolishness Day

Another month, another "special day" that I don't care about.

Actually, April 1 does interest me in one way: it lets me know which magazines and websites I should stop reading. I have nothing against jokes, whether presented on April 1 or another date. Some "April Fool's" jokes are quite clever and amusing. However, a very important note: the jokes must be clearly identifiable. Put an "April Fool's!" at the end, or present something that's so clearly satire that any remotely informed reader will know it's a joke (and would recognize it as such on any other day).

Too many people think that "joke" is a synonym for "lie". They think that saying (or printing) something that's plausible, but completely untrue, is acceptable because of which calendar page just got turned up. They're incorrect.

As an example, I just Googled the phrases "McCain drops out", "Clinton drops out", and "Obama drops out." Many of the search results were speculative discussion ("What happens if Clinton drops out of the race?"). A depressing number, though, were pages presented as breaking news. Guess what date was on those pages.

Don and Maggie Thompson, editors of the Comics Buyer's Guide when I was a kid, had a very strict No-April-Fool's-Jokes policy for all their contributors. They felt it would damage the credibility of their magazine if, for even one issue, they knowingly printed lies. They were absolutely right.

If you feel justified in lying just because it's April 1st, then you are a liar. As much as you may want to rationalize otherwise, that fact won't change when the sun comes up on April 2nd.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of the Winnie The Pooh starring vehicle Does It Float (closeup detail of front cover, number 5 in a series).

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