“Children Aren’t Playthings” Campaign

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Filed under: Creative Activism

Shared Hope International, whose mission is to eradicate sex trafficking, unveils their “Children Aren’t Playthings” doll box campaign to warn the public of the potential for and dangers of sex trafficking of minors at “mega” sporting events like the upcoming Super Bowl. Young women take turns standing in the box for hours on end to bring attention to this cause.

Anti-sex trafficking stunt at the Super Bowl

From Huffington Post, January 28, 2015:

The 7-foot exhibit debuted on Monday at Arizona State University, which is a hosting a weeklong anti-trafficking campaign, Offenbacher added.

It will also be stationed at Grand Canyon University, Glendale Community College and downtown Phoenix throughout the week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, according to a statement released by SHI. Saturday’s event will be held in conjunction with StreetLightUSA, a local Arizona group that rehabilitates sex trafficking survivors between the ages of 11 and 17.

Read more about it here.


A Chat With Bob Schriner, the Prankster Behind the Wendy’s Deep-Fryer Call

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Filed under: Phone Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

Full disclosure: I, Emerson Dameron, am a proud contributor to various Chunklet projects. My dividends from Chunklet’s revenue-sharing plan can be counted on one middle finger. I consider many in the Chunklet braintrust, including Bob Schriner and Henry Owings, my friends.


Henry Owings launched Chunklet as a zine in the ’90s in Athens, Georgia, after becoming disillusioned with proper music journalism. It drew in a range of writers, musicians, music-industry laborers, and comedians who wanted to poke fun at the commercial punk- and indie-rock establishment. Since then, it has released a range of entertainment products, taken full advantage of the internet, and showcased the savvy of phone pranksters including Earles and Jensen, erstwhile affiliates of The Best Show on WFMU.

In one of Chunklet’s prouder moments, contributor Bob Schriner achieved some minor digital notoriety by screwing with a Wendy’s fry cook.

Many, including our publishers, have expressed some skepticism about what really went on with this call. We gave Schriner an opportunity to explain himself. Read more…

Can Art Still Shock?

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Filed under: The Future of Pranks, The History of Pranks

Is Grayson Perry right – can we no longer be outraged by art and literature? From Manet’s Olympia to Pussy Riot and Houellebecq, Adam Thirlwell presents a short history of shock


Can art still shock?
by Adam Thirlwell
The Guardian
23 January 2015

Olympia by Édouard Manet. Photograph: Corbis

Olympia by Édouard Manet. Photograph: Corbis

For a long time, I’ve been nostalgic for the era of shock. It’s with a certain fondness that I reflect on the crazed year of 1857, which began with Gustave Flaubert in court for his first novel, Madame Bovary (in the presence of a stenographer, hired by Flaubert, for the benefit of an incredulous posterity), followed, six months later, by Charles Baudelaire, on trial for his first book of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal. On both occasions, the unlucky prosecutor was Ernest Pinard, who lamented “this unhealthy fever which induces writers to portray everything, to describe everything, to say everything”. The era of grand trials! Or if not trials, then scandales: like the first night of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in 1913, with its catcalling audience; or Duchamp’s impish Fountain – his notorious urinal, signed by R Mutt, submitted to the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in New York in 1917, but rejected by its committee.

I was nostalgic because it seemed to me that shock was no longer possible. Or, perhaps more precisely, shock was no longer admissible. We are all, pronounced Grayson Perry, bohemians now – and therefore unshockable by art. And if this is true, it signals a grand and maybe melancholy shift in the nature of art, and in the relation of art to society. It also appears to me – considering, let’s say, Pussy Riot and Ai Weiwei – a slightly provincial argument. And then came the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Read more…

Mayor de Blasio’s Tongue-in-Cheek Mea Culpa

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Filed under: Parody

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio pokes fun at himself by doing a public reading of The Onion’s parody of his handling of the impending snow storm Juno on January 27, 2015: “NYC Mayor: ‘Reconcile Yourselves With Your God, For All Will Perish In The Tempest’

Here’s his version:

via Laughing Squid

Negativeland’s Ian Allen, RIP

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Ian Allen, Former Negativland Member, Dead at 56
by Kory Grow
Rollingstone
January 22, 2015

The musician helped usher in the band’s notion of “culture jamming” and was most active in the group during the Eighties

Ian Allen, Peter Montgomery/Sharon Jue

Ian Allen, Peter Montgomery/Sharon Jue

Onetime Negativland member Ian Allen died on January 17th, a result of infections and complications following heart-valve replacement surgery at a hospital in Sanford, California. He was 56. The band reported the news on its Facebook page.

A member during their 1983 album A Big 10-8 Place, Allen was part of the group on the vanguard of “culture jamming,” the wry use of existing recorded material and tape splicing, joining the eras between John Cage and contemporary hip-hop sampling. He was most active between 1981 and 1987, leaving before the group’s critically acclaimed, confrontational mid-Eighties run on punk label SST. That run included their 1991 U2 EP, which kickstarted a legendary court case over unauthorized samples.

“His impact, inspiration and influence on the group is impossible to overestimate,” the group wrote in its statement. “There would be no group as we know it today, no Over The Edge radio show [on KPFA], no ‘culture jamming’ and no A Big 10-8 Place LP without him.”

Read the rest of this article here.

VICE Falls for Dream Hoax

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Filed under: Media Pranks, Pranksters, Urban Legends

thisman.org
thisman.org

If you’ve ever seen this man in your dreams, you’re not alone. Famed prankster Andrea Natella’s long-lived dreamy hoax just caught VICE sleeping.

Read VICE’s mea culpa: Ugh, We Just Got Hoaxed: The Real Story About the ‘This Man’ Dream Face, January 15, 2015

Glitter-bomb Prankster Can’t Stop His Own Creation

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Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, Prank News, Pranksters, Publicity Stunts, Spin

It was an idea that practically shimmered with brilliance: Have packages full of glitter shipped to your enemies, assuring they won’t get your sparkly animus out of their sweaters for a long time. It exploded on blogs and social media, and now Matthew Carpenter, its creator, is not having fun anymore. He’s trying to sell the business after just one day. Sounds like a marketing ploy if there ever was one. “This is too successful. Please take it off my hands for a lot of money.”

ViceGlitter-020


“Evil genius behind ‘Ship Your Enemies Glitter’ didn’t quite think it through”
by Andrea Romano
Mashable
January 15, 2015

Mathew Carpenter has made a huge mistake, and much like his creation, it’s not going anywhere for a while.

The 22-year-old creator of ShipYourEnemiesGlitter.com — and self-proclaimed person who “live[s] for moolah” on Twitter — is urging his millions of fans to stop using his brilliantly evil website to get revenge on their enemies.

After a boom in sales that also caused a temporary site crash, Carpenter decided he is in way over his sparkly head and put the site up for grabs to anyone who wants to buy it from him.

He also posted on the website ProductHunt.com, pleading with customers to stop buying his shiny and swift revenge methods.

Read the rest here.

 

Free Speech for Everyone? Really?

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Filed under: First Amendment Issues

By Glen Greenwald of The Intercept, January 9, 2015:


In Solidarity with a Free Press: Some More Blasphemous Cartoons

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Defending free speech and free press rights, which typically means defending the right to disseminate the very ideas society finds most repellent, has been one of my principal passions for the last 20 years: previously as a lawyer and now as a journalist. So I consider it positive when large numbers of people loudly invoke this principle, as has been happening over the last 48 hours in response to the horrific attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Usually, defending free speech rights is much more of a lonely task. For instance, the day before the Paris murders, I wrote an article about multiple cases where Muslims are being prosecuted and even imprisoned by western governments for their online political speech – assaults that have provoked relatively little protest, including from those free speech champions who have been so vocal this week.

I’ve previously covered cases where Muslims were imprisoned for many years in the U.S. for things like translating and posting “extremist” videos to the internet, writing scholarly articles in defense of Palestinian groups and expressing harsh criticism of Israel, and even including a Hezbollah channel in a cable package. That’s all well beyond the numerous cases of jobs being lost or careers destroyed for expressing criticism of Israel or (much more dangerously and rarely) Judaism. I’m hoping this week’s celebration of free speech values will generate widespread opposition to all of these long-standing and growing infringements of core political rights in the west, not just some.

Read the whole article here.

Improv Everywhere: No Pants Subway Ride 2015

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Practical Jokes and Mischief

From Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere:


No Pants Subway Ride 2015

On Sunday, January 11th, 2015 tens of thousands of people took off their pants on subways in over 60 cities in over 25 countries around the world. In New York, [the] 14th Annual No Pants Subway Ride had over 4,000 participants, spread out over seven meeting points and eleven subway lines.

no pants subway 2015

Watch the video:

More photos and info here.

Je Suis Charlie

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Filed under: The Big One

Here’s an example of the cartoons created by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo prior to today’s brutal attack on their office by Muslim extremists in Paris, France, during which 12 people were killed and numerous others wounded. The cartoon says: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.”

This issue, published in 2011, invited Muhammad to become a “guest editor.” After its publication, their office was fire-bombed. They refused to stop using humor and satire to combat fanatic fundamentalism. We stand in solidarity with them.

o-100-LASHES-570

See more Charlie Hebdo cartoons at Huffington Post here.

Joaquin Phoenix Pranks David Letterman Again

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Filed under: Media Pranks, Pranksters, Publicity Stunts, The History of Pranks

phoenixlettermanWhen he retires from television in 2015, David Letterman will wrap a remarkable career of stunts, water-cooler bombshells, and awkward celebrity interviews.

In some cases, Letterman has been seemingly ambushed by guests who were physically combative (Crispin Glover), doped out of their gourds (Farrah Fawcett, Harmony Korine), or simply engaging in the unhinged antics that are their calling cards (Courtney Love, who inspired the host to quip, “I’m glad I have a son.”)

In others, the hosts and his guests have worked in collaboration. Witness the legendary encounter between comedian Andy Kaufman and wrestler Jerry Lawler.

More recently, actor Joaquin Phoenix used a disturbing and incoherent Letterman appearance to promote his controversial documentary I’m Still Here, for which he embarked on a half-assed hip hop career. Letterman later admitted that he was in on the gag.

Earlier this month, Phoenix returned to the show to announce that, like Alec Baldwin before him, he had decided to marry his yoga instructor. Read more here.

Watch the video:

TV Viewers Disappointed to Not See Host Eaten Alive

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Filed under: Publicity Stunts, Spin

Promotional materials for the Discovery Channel program Eaten Alive led some viewers to expect that they would see host Paul Rosolie devoured by a wild anaconda. When he wasn’t, animal-rights activists and passive sadists alike expressed dismay.


‘Eaten Alive’ Watched by 4.1 Million Viewers
by Lynn Elber
ABCNews
December 8, 2014

eaten aliveLOS ANGELES (AP) – Discovery Channel’s “Eaten Alive” special that pitted snake against man drew more than 4 million viewers, but not all considered it time well spent.

Although the title and a promotional video indicated that naturalist Paul Rosolie would be swallowed by a giant anaconda, Sunday’s pre-taped special didn’t go that far.

Rosolie, described by Discovery as a snake researcher and conservationist, ended his Amazon jungle encounter with the snake after it encircled his body and began squeezing. Wearing bulky protective gear, Rosolie escaped with a sore arm but uneaten.

Online, some viewers jeered the show for falling short of its promise. One posting showed a photo of a mild-looking dog nibbling on a person’s finger, accompanied by a request for their own Discovery show. Read more…

Michigan Porta-Potty Takes Flight

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Prank News

Screen shot 2014-12-17 at 8.45.30 AMIt takes a special sort of engineer to look at a common port-o-let, think “this brave soul longs for flight,” and make it happen. Bob Bylander is that engineer.

On Saturday, December 13, a Porta-Potty took to the skies over Southwest Michigan courtesy of Bylander and his compatriots in the Michiana Rocketry Club, a/k/a the Throne Thrusters.

 

Watch the video:

via HuffPo

New York Teenager Confesses to Not Being a Millionaire

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Media Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

The December 15, 2014 issue of New York magazine reported that 17-year-old Mohammed Islam brought down $72 million swapping stocks between classes, but the story quickly dissolved into a mixture of journalistic credulity and outright bullshit. After a cancelled TV appearance and protests from his fellow members of the high school Leaders Investment Club, Islam comes clean in a chat with the New York Observer.


“New York Mag’s Boy Genius Investor Made It All Up”
by Ken Kurson
The New York Observer
December 15, 2014

fullsizerender4It’s been a tough month for fact-checking. After the Rolling Stone campus rape story unraveled, readers of all publications can be forgiven for questioning the process by which Americans get our news. And now it turns out that another blockbuster story is—to quote its subject in an exclusive Observer interview — ”not true.”

Monday’s edition of New York magazine includes an irresistible story about a Stuyvesant High senior named Mohammed Islam who had made a fortune investing in the stock market. Reporter Jessica Pressler wrote regarding the precise number, “Though he is shy about the $72 million number, he confirmed his net worth is in the ‘high eight figures.’” The New York Post followed up with a story of its own, with the fat figure playing a key role in the headline: “High school student scores $72M playing the stock market.”

And now it turns out, the real number is… zero.

In an exclusive interview with Mr. Islam and his friend Damir Tulemaganbetov, who also featured heavily in the New York story, the baby-faced boys who dress in suits with tie clips came clean. Swept up in a tide of media adulation, they made the whole thing up.

Speaking at the offices of their newly hired crisis pr firm, 5WPR, and handled by a phalanx of four, including the lawyer Ed Mermelstein of RheemBell & Mermelstein, Mr. Islam told a story that will be familiar to just about any 12th grader—a fib turns into a lie turns into a rumor turns into a bunch of mainstream media stories and invitations to appear on CNBC.

Here’s how it happened. Read more.

Valuable Life Lessons and Limited-Edition Boxes of Poo

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody, Pranksters

Emerson Dameron chats with Cards Against Humanity’s Max Temkin:


bullshitcahLike numerous other small businesspeople, the braintrust behind the controversial party game Cards Against Humanity ran a money-saving special on “Black Friday,” the designated consumer orgy following Thanksgiving.

First, the company pulled its flagship game offline for the day, leaving any prospective buyers with plumper wallets. In case anyone remained dead set on exchanging scratch for CAH merch, it introduced an exclusive new item: the Box of Bullshit. It sold out within hours, despite the fact that it was, as its creators explained repeatedly throughout the day, precisely as advertised.

I checked in with Max Temkin, a Chicago-based designer and the most high-profile member of the Cards Against Humanity team, to see how it went.

How did you hatch the idea for the Box of Bullshit?

We all hate “Black Friday” and the ensuing media frenzy around it, which is a problem for us because holiday sales are pretty important for our company. I’ve always loved the Black Friday culture jamming that happens, like people who run up to a Best Buy moments before it opens and U-lock the doors shut. So it just seemed right for us to parody black friday by taking part in it in completely the wrong way. Read more…