Novel Completion Queries, Day Seventeen
Posted on April 1, 2015 Posted by John Scalzi 85 Comments
Is the novel finished: NO
Today’s question: April Fool’s Day: Love it, hate it, indifferent about it?
My answer: I like it as a concept but am generally disappointed in the execution, as most “jokes” or “pranks” on April Fool’s Day aren’t really funny or clever. Being funny and clever is harder than most people seem to think it is.
Try to ignore it, except for whatever fun fake products Think Geek has come up with for the year (I particularly want the Game of Thrones-themed Clue set).
I suppose there is a big advantage in teaching kids that adults are mean liars.
That’s almost exactly what I said about it the other day. I find most “pranks” are either dumb, childish, poorly planned/executed, overdone, unfunny, tedious, offensive, or some combination thereof.
With the exception of looking forward to the fake products that thinkgeek.com comes up with each year, I’m not a huge fan. Most people seem to use the opportunity to let their inner asshole out to play as opposed to coming up with something clever yet harmless.
Every cranium has a built-in cleverness-suppression field: anything conceived inside each seems cleverer within than without.
mostly indifferent about it. I think the April Fool’s Day “jokes” or “pranks” had it’s time in the sun but now have gone the way of the dodo. as well they should.
Did I read somewhere the April 1 use to be the start of a new year on some old calendars?
This novel is just an elaborate April Fool’s joke, isn’t it?
Mostly there are some feak and weeble joke stories, but a few good gags come up each year. This year I particularly enjoyed the “CM cube” ad (search for it on youtube, or look on my blog). Lots of effort went into it, and it’s quite sci-fi. :)
Indifferent to opportunistic, in general. If I remember and the situation presents itself, okay. Otherwise, another day.
Hate it*. I dislike spending the entire day wondering if my friends are lying to me. I also waste enough of my time trying to figure out if something on the internet is true or not; having a day devoted to muddying the waters makes me cranky.
*With exceptions grudgingly carved out for ThinkGeek and Google’s jokes.
Love it! April fools!
And remember that, to quote a great sage, the failure mode of clever is asshole.
Joseph Finn – YES, and the tauntaun sleeping bag started out as a fake product, but everyone clamored for one, so they decided to make it! I can’t say that GoT Clue would be all that fun (too many combinations!) but the Voltron cat condo is kind of brilliant.
Very very lame. Gives ad writers the chance to play at being “funny” and everyone else to realize why they are copywriters not comic writers.
It’s my husband’s birthday. We try to make up for the scars of his youth.
I don’t generally like practical jokes, whether on April Fools Day or otherwise. (In college, I served as a sort of censor for a group of guys who would prank each other, vetoing pranks I considered too nasty or perilous — the latter including stretching a wire at ankle length across the hallway and inducing the mark to run down the hall…). However, I did indulge in April Fools Day a couple of times as a child, with my older brother as target. Once I found a years-old newspaper and put it out where the daily paper should have been. The other and more creative time, I found the phone number for Dial-A-Prayer (my brother and I were both essentially atheists at the time) and put it on a phone message purportedly from someone with whom my brother was engaged in a local political matter.
My older daughter, however, holds the family prize for creative April Fooling. When she was perhaps twelve years old, there was a software program called something like Bonzai Buddy. It placed a little purple gorilla on one’s computer screen which (as best I can recall) would tell bad jokes and trigger the occasional advertisement. There was a fairly simple way to banish it. My daughter took my wallpaper and pasted on it the image of the Bonzai Buddy gorilla, in the same spot as it would usually appear. I guess I was by then in the habit of banishing it every time it appeared — but this time, no matter what I did, the gorilla stayed in place. . . . I’m not sure whether I figured out what she’d done or whether she had to tell me.
I like it, sort of. Too many people use it as an excuse to be an asshole for me to like it more, but there’s some genuinely funny, and harmless, stuff out there if you know where to look.
I do love a good jape, and I can forgive when I fall for one, if it’s all done in fun.
Best one I ever witnessed was when one of my coworkers somehow convinced one of our other coworkers that his new sneakers actually lit up like a kid’s sneakers sometimes do, but that his were broken. [Granted, the style he wore had bits in the sole that really did look like embedded LEDs.] We had him going for most of the day when he realized what day it was. :)
I like April Fool’s Day but agree most pranks aren’t clever, which is unfortunate. They really need to be to make it fun. My best was in college when I convinced a friend to put my hub caps back on my car after he had taken them off my car (in retaliation to something I had done). Now that was fun, nor was it easy to do.
As an annual reminder that one needs to keep the BS detectors fully charged and tuned, it’s useful. As a way to express wit and humor, it tends towards failure. -Aristotle
Tends to be mean-spirited and always, always escalates until someone gets pissed or their feelings hurt, etc.
I’m no good at pranks because I am a bad liar, or drop out half way through to spare someone’s feelings. But I like silly pranks that are not mean spirited. I guess that makes me a lightweight.
p.s. Is your novel really not completed or is that your April Fool’s joke? :)
Not crazy about it. But years ago we used a software program at work that had a number of annoying dings, beeps and clicks when you did various actions. I went in and replaced all of the canned sounds with “better” sounds. Bangs, screams, rings and various animal noises. People liked it so well that they kept my custom sound files with a few further customizations. I miss that program.
I have never been a fan of April Fool’s day. Too many of the pranks and jokes are mean spirited.
As a teacher, it’s the third worst day of the school year.
Fortunately for me, we’re on spring break right now.
I love watching it done well. I think Mary R-K has a good one going today. Long haul.
Most April Fools Day pranks aren’t worth the time or effort that went into them. On the other hand, April Fools Day also gave us Shadow War of the Night Dragons, so I’ll tolerate its existence.
Indifferent. Occasionally something funny tickles me, but many people aren’t as clever as they think they are. Also, I’ve noticed that jokes and pranks have their own demographic, and if you aren’t part of it, you just don’t get it. Which I’m fine with, I don’t need to get every joke.
April 1st? The official Joke Day in Spain is on December 28th. Something to do with the commemoration of the children that Herodes ordered to kill while hoping to get rid of the future King of the Jews, which apparently was amusing? I quite enjoy the clever jokes, but have never practised them.
Really tired of the meaningless cruelties masquerading as “practical” jokes.
Poe’s Law – I can no longer read news on and about April 1st. Way too many April Fools Jokes are amazing parodies of extremism, making it way too painful to read the news.
I’ve played one prank in my life, back in 1986. It was a riproaring success, one that made its target laugh uproariously whenever anyone mentioned it, from the day it was played until the day he died last year. On the whole, I can’t imagine a more successful practical joke, so I’ve never played another.
I often enjoy the April Fools pranks played by websites, but 99% of in-person pranks strike me as meanspirited or unfunny or both.
I generally like jokes, but some people just aren’t meant to tell them, and April 1 is the worst example of this.
I thought the “night dragons” gags were well executed…
I’m torn. I hate any actual news breaking on this day b/c I wonder if it’s a joke, or I hope and pray it’s a joke and almost cry when I find out it’s real.
Personal April Fool’s jokes are good if they’re not mean or painful. My personal favorite was played by a college friend, Spencer. Spencer loved the Chinese language and culture and said for over a year that he would eventually marry a Chinese girl. Then he did a study abroad in China. One day he took picture of him and this pretty Chinese girl and posted them on FB comments about these being the engagement pics. No one twigged to the fact that he posted on April 1st :)
NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered have had some ingenious fake news stories over the years, and the BBC’s coverage of the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland remains a classic. But generally, a snore, and the practical joke strikes me as a case of the “failure mode of clever”.
I like a good joke when done well. Unfortunately there are a lot that are not.
I am not really interested in April Fools. Day. However, since I am commenting, I’d like to recommend Charlie Stross’s most recent blog post about issues of technology and writing. (http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/) (WARNING: Incredibly unsuitable for work!)
I like it; I’m reluctant to condemn an opportunity to verify trusted sources or to encourage people to be cleverer than they’d otherwise try to be. I’m willing to put up with the tepid, the assholeish, or the corporate amateur comedy because lord knows you can’t actually stand for something in this economy, for the few that are actually worthwhile. 90% of everything is drek, I can’t really be upset that it’s compressed into one day.
I feel similarly about Valentines’ Day.
I teach middle school, so April Fools’ Day is always a bit trying since 13 & 14 year olds tend to fail spectacularly at jokes and pranks. But I just go along with it. Kids need to have some fun – as long as no one is hurt. Plus, I give them permission to pull pranks (within reason), which of course makes it immediately uncool.
I don’t mind the occasional well thought out gag, but for the most part the people around me come up with stupidity that I would rather they hadn’t bothered me with.
So many sites think a good prank is to effectively make their site useless. So it’s like ‘no news or information or community for you today’. April fools!
I’ve seen a few places refer to it as Internet Jackass Day. That about sums up my feelings
Today is my unbirthday. (alice in wonderland reference)
Mostly indifferent because, as other commenters have noted, a lot of the pranks are mean, stupid, annoying, poorly planned, poorly executed, or simply unfunny, or all of the above. As stated in “This Is Spinal Tap,” “It’s such a fine line between stupid…and clever.” However, if the joke is really, really well done, I can appreciate it.
I work in an elementary school and it’s tough. Our 4th grade teachers switched name badges and acted like each other for the beginning of school. That was funny. A couple of 1st grade teachers switched the classroom signs for all the first and second grade classes. It was pretty funny for the students but some of the other teachers nit in on it got a bit huffy. I thought it was funny but you don’t want to mess with someone’s day first thing in the morning. The huffy teachers probably need to lighten up, but they also are under a lot of strain. So I’d say either have more folks in on it or make sure everyone is going to at least enjoy it.
when I was a kid, it was fun, we didn’t do anything that was mean, usually something like, “Your shoe is untied.” or “Hey, zip your zipper!”. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t find it as humorous as it was then. As a rule, I don’t play April Fool jokes on people.
Don’t like it much. In my experience, most April Fool’s day jokes are more mean spirited than funny. Of course, a lot of those jokes were played on myself or others by folks who weren’t our friends…. Especially when back in school. Ugh. I can definitely do without April Fools Day. And the old New’s Year Day used to be 25 March, at least in England before they updated their calendar….
On April Fool’s Day in second grade, a teacher accosted me in the hall and told me she liked my green shirt. I looked at her like she was insane, because I knew I was wearing a gray sweatshirt, and said “I’m wearing gray.” She insisted it was a great green shirt. I looked at her like she was insane and dangerous, and started backing away, looking down so as not to meet her crazy eyes. The second I looked down, she said “HAH! April Fool!”
So I hope she got some satisfaction at “fooling” a second-grader. I’ve thought April Fool’s Day was ridiculous ever since.
I took a $2500 For Life scratch-off ticket to my boss and said, “Oh my gosh, I won!” He said, “Are you going to turn in your resignation?” April Fools. That was last year. Today, I told him I needed to take the database down at 8:30 a.m. and it would not be available until 4:30 p.m. He believed that too.
Generally indifferent, though some jokes and/or pranks that come out on 1 April can be hella funny.
I like the idea of jokes and pranks, but it seems to be an excuse to be flat-out mean to people and expect them to laugh it off.
I hate “practical” jokes that require a victim to clean up a mess, or embarrass a victim, or possibly cause injury.
I enjoy the Think Geek and Google effforts. One April, Byte magazine did a new product review for a knife sharpening attachment for the original Macintosh computer and they nailed the design cues perfectly.
Indifferent. It was a big deal in grade school, but even then, most of the ‘jokes’ were cruel.
My greatest April Fool’s day joke was a meta-joke. Back in high school, the federal government had just changed a bunch of holidays (like President’s Day, etc.) to all be celebrated on a Monday.
Well, it so happened that April 1st fell on a weekend.
A group of my friends and I convinced one of our fellow students that the federal government didn’t want kids to miss out on April Fool’s Day and so they had shifted the holiday to that Monday.
We watched in great humor as he proceeded to pull April Fool’s pranks on his confused and bewildered classmates for the rest of the day!
Not a huge fan because I’m always either (a) literal or (b) lost in my own thoughts and therefore (c) very, very easy to fool.
I teach high school. Need I say more? Actually, the fake products and news stories on April 1 can be fun. They are the only part of April 1 that I care for; I can do without the rest.
The staff has decided that whenever someone comes in today and acts like a dick, the appropriate response is to stare at them blankly for a couple of seconds, then say “Oh, yeah! April Fool’s!”
I used to contrive pranks in my youth and I considered myself very clever. Perhaps I was, on occasion. As I got older, I found, except for the infrequently amusing corporate or media stunt, that pranks were most often poorly disguised acts of aggression or similar acting out of one’s inner issues. So, now, I warn colleagues in advance: “Please don’t prank me. You won’t get the response you’re aiming for and will likely get one for which you haven’t planned. Thank you and have a pleasant April.”
Hate! But I recognize it as a necessity for fools. Seriously, isn’t there enough stupidity in the world with out us having to celebrate it?
addendum, I like the things thinkgeek put out, I am constantly amazed with what the human imagination can conceive. and in some cases, make an actual product 5 years down the line
Whatever else we may think of it, Stephen King had an excellent prank this morning. I was so excited that I forgot what day it was for a moment. Then I read his quote and remembered. It was good.
I am not very fond of it in real life, but some of the “pranks” I’ve seen cross my facebook feed today have been somewhat amusing.
Also, I believe it was our gracious host who pointed out that “[t]he failure mode of ‘clever’ is ‘asshole.'” which is why most April Fools’ jokes fall flat, IMO.
Although I will admit that I have found some pranks funny bordering on clever, in general, I am not a fan of Coliseum humor. That being said, years ago, a friend pulled me into an elaborate prank on a coworker. She was an obstetrician, and at one point I ended up in stirrups, a teddy bear between my legs, with the two guys who were playing my husband and boyfriend chatting each other up. The victim was quite impressed with the elaborate nature of the prank. I have mixed feelings about it, despite the success. Also, I’d had tequila. Quite a bit of tequila.
Hey, 90% (at least) of everything is still crap, but the other 10% can be hella funny. (A couple years ago Kodak advertised a machine to print your own live kittens; I don’t want one, but I’d love to see it work…)
Thinkgeek is a treat on April 1, and occasionally someone will do something that is plausible-and-funny, but there’s a lot of tired old junk that gets a label saying “joke” slapped on it. Being genuinely clever and pulling a plausible prank is hard. I like that some people make the effort, though.
Like our gracious host, I’m okay with the overall concept, but tend to be massively disappointed by the execution. I also, since I live in the Time Zone Western Society Forgot (GMT +8) tend to miss a lot of what goes on every year – or find (as I’m finding on Habit RPG) that it drags on into April 2nd, by which point I’m starting to be a bit fed up with the whole notion.
The original holiday only ran for the MORNING of April 1 – it was supposed to stop at 12 noon, and was a purely local celebration. Having it start at midnight of GMT-12, and then run through until midnight of GMT+12 means we’re definitely over-egging the pudding. Particularly when the capability to have things change at midday has been built into most computer systems since the late 1960s.
(Need I point out as far as I’m concerned, it’s 7.30am on 02 APR 2015?)
I had a good laugh when some people I knew bought into a story about flying penguins in a ‘respectable’ newspaper.
Mostly indifferent with hatred towards mean spirited pranks.
I had a good laugh when some people I knew bought into a story about flying penguins in a ‘respectable’ newspaper.
At an old job of mine we used to have to move our cars every few hours or get ticketed. A woman in my office had just returned and told me that the police were out and were ticketing cars. I of course ran the two blocks only to find no one writing tickets.
The woman used to do the mail and I work with very large accounts that often had 100-150 mailings that had to be done. We closed at 4:30 and at 4:20 I gave her a stack of envelopes and told her the boss said these had to be mailed today. It was a good 1/2 hour worth of work. She got all upset and argued with me, then grabbed the envelopes only to find they were empty.
I felt it was a very fitting April Food’s Day prank.
whoops that’s FOOL’s day. Proof read, proof read, proof read…
I enjoy the ThinkGeek, Google, and other such jokes. Hulu had a pretty good one today, Samsung’s was moderately amusing, T-Mobile was funny, and so forth with other tech companies. Some packaging material company in Britain announced scented bubble wrap (bacon, bread, flowers, your choice) and I bet someone eventually invents that.
No one under 18 should be legally allowed to do participate, though.
I think it’s pretty fun if you’re not being offensive or physically hurting someone.
Sometimes people come up with jokes I really like, but more people seem to use it to hurt people, which sucks.
A good April Fool’s prank requires preparation. It always sneaks up on me before I’m ready.
Knew it was April first yesterday because of (of all things) puppy pill. Didn’t think about April Fools Day till I got to this post this morning. Didn’t miss it.
I pay as much attention to it as I do to reality TV and all the various talent shows – all of them quite easy to ignore in other words.
However, even I know about two of the greatest April Fool stories ever and both can still make me smile.
On the other hand, two exception-that-proves-the-rule examples out of a pool of millions of eye-rolling tedium delivery systems…?
1) Spaghetti harvest: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tVo_wkxH9dU
2) Flying penguins: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0IPazA9Lxks
I like a well-constructed, clever trick. Loathe the mean ones.
The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum had a particularly lovely one yesterday: http://blog.nasm.si.edu/behind-the-scenes/wonder-womans-invisible-jet/
Most of the pranks are kind of stupid and/or mean-spirited, and I never indulge in them personally, though I will sometimes play along with a friend’s – like when SHOCK! SHOCK! SHOCK! co-director Arn McConnell, who’s very liberal, announced he was joining the Republican Party yesterday!
Also, sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s pranking and what’s not – i.e., the report on Peter Capaldi being suspended from DOCTOR WHO for punching a Dalek in the eyestalk, which got reported as a legit news item all over the Internet yesterday! Since the headline didn’t include that it was a Dalek he punched, too many people starting wringing their hands over WTF was wrong with BBC personalities turning violent…..
I was also rather fond of the CERN news release yesterday.
I have had some doozies pulled on me that I still laugh about. Likewise I may have been able to pull off the occasional clever prank myself. All of the talk about “mean spirited” or “just to hurt people” appearing on this thread reminded me of something I have always believed about practical jokes.
That is, practical jokes are not for everybody. Some people love pulling them and love having them done to themselves. Other people hate it. Determining the difference is an art form. I believe it is wrong to pull a practical joke on somebody who will not enjoy it. It is not that they do not have a sense of humor (as is often alleged) but they do not have *that sort* of a sense of humor. Big difference.
That said, I personally happen to love a good practical joke. The Cal Tech 1961 Rose Bowl prank? Epic.