Why Do a Prank?

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April Fool’s! Exploring Pranks and Practical Jokes, WNPR Interview

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Filed under: Sociology and Psychology of Pranks, The History of Pranks, What Makes a Good Prank?, Why Do a Prank?

WNPR News presents “April Fool’s! Exploring Pranks and Practical Jokes“, an hour long radio talk show broadcast April 1, 2014 at 1:00 pm & 8:00 pm EST.

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Show features Jeff Pinsker, president of Klutz and VP of Scholastic, Inc.; Martin Wainwright, author of The “Guardian” Book of April Fool’s Day; Tom Mabe, a professional prankster living in Kentucky; and Joey Skaggs, multimedia artist in New York City called The World’s Greatest Hoaxer.

Listen here.

Art of the Hoax – Joey Skaggs on PRI

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Definitions, Media Literacy, The Prank as Art, What Makes a Good Prank?, Why Do a Prank?

Jester_waitscmMarch 30, 2014: Pranks and Hoaxes, produced by Wisconsin Public Radio and distributed by Public Radio International, presents an interview with Joey Skaggs called Art of the Hoax – Joey Skaggs.

Listen here

Wired’s Guide to Hoaxes

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Filed under: Definitions, The Future of Pranks, Why Do a Prank?

Wired’s Guide to Hoaxes: How to Give — and Take — a Joke
Essay by Scott Brown, The Official Prankonomy by Steven Leckart
Wired.com
August 24, 2009

mf_hoax_f-200Here’s what you’ve been told: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” “Take or be taken.” “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.” These aphorisms are so ingrained in American life, they’re practically commandments. And for good reason: We are a credulous people. For proof, open your spam folder and count the chain emails from 1998 that are still coming in, dutifully forwarded by friends and relatives. Or consider that new Facebook pal whose name seemed familiar enough when you hit Confirm. We are, today, the same easy marks who ran screaming from Orson Welles’ made-up Martians and flocked to see the Cardiff Giant. So we’re defensive. A hoax, we are taught, is an invasive, aggressive stratagem—a nefarious short-circuiting of our natural social instincts, a hack of Trust itself, a deterministic, zero-sum shell game with a clear winner (the prankster) and loser (the gull).

Well, here’s what we’re telling you: Bullshit. (more…)

Wall Street Journal on The New Pranksters

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Why Do a Prank?

The New Pranksters
by Ellen Gamerman
Wall Street Journal
September 12, 2008

Across the country, young people are joining campaigns that are drawing thousands of followers inspired by a common purpose.

They’re not handing out leaflets at rallies for Barack Obama or John McCain. Instead, they’re posing like statues in public squares, dropping their pants in train stations and bursting into song in malls.

Cities are being swept up in a wave of inane pranks. On a recent weekend, “zombies” smeared with fake blood idly roamed the streets in downtown San Francisco. That same weekend, a crowd of people in New York’s Union Square danced to music that no one else could hear; and in Berkeley, Calif., jokesters in white, flowing robes handed out pamphlets at a farmer’s market, touting the benefits of joining a cult. (Reason No. 5: “A great excuse not to talk to your birth family anymore.”)

Pranksters say the random events are meant to jolt strangers out of their routines, shake up the monotony of urban life and create mildly awkward moments that play well on YouTube. Organized almost entirely online, the stunts also create a real-life sense of community among participants, many of whom are young people who spend their days in less-than-exciting office jobs.

“We’re finding ourselves more and more disconnected,” says Ari Lerner, a 24-year-old software engineer in Los Angeles who helps run a prankster group called GuerilLA. “We all sit at our computers and we forget there’s a sun outside. It’s a reaction to that.” (more…)

Pranks as Tools for Propaganda

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Filed under: Co-option (If You Can't Beat 'Em...), The History of Pranks, Why Do a Prank?

From New Right Australia / New Zealand Web site:

The New Right is organised throughout Europe and beyond. We are strongly opposed to liberalism, democracy and egalitarianism and fight to restore the eternal values and principles that have become submerged beneath the corrosive tsunami of the modern world. The New Right has an interest in the various strands of thought connected with the Traditionalists, the Revolutionary Conservatives; the Nouvelle Droit; and the Eurasianists.


fatbastarddiscovershisblogi-200.jpgHumour as a Weapon
by Andreas Gaust
New Right Australia / New Zealand
May 8, 2008

This article has been researched and compiled for the purposes of educating New Right and N-A activists in the use of humour as a political weapon. There is a paranoid feeling amongst many on the New Right that the mass media is our greatest enemy. Not so. This article looks at the ways in which activists can use and manipulate the media, rather than the other way around.

As an example: mention the 1932 opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to any older Australian, and the first image that will spring to their mind is a man on horseback, galloping forward to slash the ribbon with his sword, before the ‘official’ representative could get to it. The swordsman was a member of a political group called the New Guard. And while this stunt was not especially humorous, it was certainly eye-catching – it remains in the mass mind to this day. In that same city in 2007, the crew of television show The Chaser made world headlines when they infiltrated the APEC forum (one of them dressed as Osama bin Laden), making a complete mockery of the forum’s expensive security measures.

In general, the media doesn’t give coverage to alternative politics (the recent 9/11 Truth Forum in Sydney was completely ignored, even though one of the speakers was a prominent Japanese MP). But ‘fringe’ views can get past the editors if they are presented by means of some humorous prank or stunt. (more…)

Pranks Psych 101

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Filed under: Sociology and Psychology of Pranks, What Makes a Good Prank?, Why Do a Prank?

Submitted by Steffani Martin and Peter Maloney:

April Fool! The Purpose of Pranks
by Benedict Carey
New York Times
April 1, 2008

01mind3952-3.jpgKeep it above the belt, stop short of total humiliation and, if possible, mix in some irony, some drama, maybe even a bogus call from the person’s old flame or new boss. A good prank, of course, involves good stagecraft. But it also requires emotional intuition.

Psychologists have studied pranks for years, often in the context of harassment, bullying and all manner of malicious exclusion and prejudice.

Yet practical jokes are far more commonly an effort to bring a person into a group, anthropologists have found — an integral part of rituals around the world intended to temper success with humility. And recent research suggests that the experience of being duped can stir self-reflection in a way few other experiences can, functioning as a check on arrogance or obliviousness. (more…)

Prank You Very Much: The Etiquette of Hoaxing

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Filed under: Hoax Etiquette, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Why Do a Prank?

Three generations of pranksters: Self portrait of Caroline Weber with Nancy and Rose

In my natal family, the holiest of holidays were April Fools, Valentine’s, Halloween, and the first night of Passover, in that order. To joke was to love was to entertain was to celebrate liberty. My friends were brought up to take praying seriously; my brother and I, to take playing seriously. (more…)

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