The World of the Prank

The artist as social provocateur and activist incorporates humor, satire, irony, political commentary and/or direct action to provoke critical thinking. Pranks challenge convention and the status quo and expose prejudices and biases.

Blog Posts

Beware of Excessive Prank Consequences… What Would Jesus Say?

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, The Big One

Teen May Get 2 Years For Pic Of Fake Oral Sex With Jesus
by Hilary Hanson
The Huffington Post
September 11, 2014

Will this boy get punished for coming to Jesus?

A Pennsylvania teen may face up to two years behind bars for allegedly taking a photo of himself simulating oral sex with a statue of Jesus, Kron 4 reports.

jesus-prank

The photo was taken in front of Love in the Name of Christ, a Christian organization in Everett, Pennsylvania, and posted on Facebook back in July. Read the full story here.

Murder By Bay Breezes, by John Elvin

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Filed under: Satire

Murder-By-Bay-Breezes-187x300John Elvin, aka W.J. Elvin III, whose columns and other contributions have often graced these pages (see Literateye and Ask the Fiddler for starters), is the author of Murder By Bay Breezes, a newly published mystery novel.

From Amazon.com:

Who killed Sammy Sanchez? Andy Holliday, recently signed on as feature writer for a travel magazine, is off to the Lower Eastern Shore, an off-the-beaten track region beside the Chesapeake Bay. But a piece-of-cake assignment takes a murderous twist. With sardonic wit and investigative skills forged in his clouded past, Holliday digs for secrets concealed by quirky, stubborn cranks, bumbling crooks and other peculiar characters.

Review from reader, Richard Lapidus:

This is one of the best mysteries I’ve read in several years. The main character is a hoot! He is witty, sarcastic, a newspaper man forced by circumstances to take a job he really doesn’t want. He’s not a detective, but the investigator inside him can’t leave the murder of a teenage boy unsolved. It’s a fun read, with much local color from the east coast. I can’t wait for the next in the series. Andy Holliday rocks!

Check it out at GunBoss Books and on FaceBook.


Anti-Koch Light Activists Arrested for “Illegal Advertising”

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Filed under: Creative Activism

From Naomi Pitcairn: Another hypocritical farce. Did the NYPD arrest the right “illegal advertisers”?


NYPD Detains Activists for Anti-Koch Light Graffiti at the Met
by Ben Davis
Artnet News
September 11, 2014

On Tuesday, three activists were detained by NYPD officers outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art after disrupting a gala honoring David H. Koch. The controversial billionaire was being fêted for his $65 million contribution to the newly reopened museum plaza, which prominently bears his name (see “Protesters Crash Koch Plaza Opening at the Met“). The three activists, Kyle Depew, Grayson Earle, and Yates McKee, were caught projecting images from a customized art truck onto the museum’s façade that read “The Met: Brought to you by the Tea Party” and “Koch = Climate Chaos”—references to Koch’s well-known role in funding right-wing and climate change denying groups.

Light Brigade at the MET

The incident followed a protest earlier in the day by the tenacious Occupy Wall Street spin-off Occupy Museums, which by all accounts brought a good-spirited group of art activists to the newly opened David H. Koch Plaza to stage anti-Koch performances. Early in the evening, the activists unexpectedly had a chance to confront Koch himself on the steps of the museum, chanting “Shame on climate change denier” as he passed by on the way to his car. (more…)

Mel Brooks’ Pinky Prank

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Satire

Mel Brooks celebrated the 40th anniversary of his comedy classic “Young Frankenstein” by imprinting his fingers into the sidewalk at Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. All eleven of them. Read the full story here.

mel-brooks-11-fingers

Pessimistic Weather Forecast is a Little Too Pessimistic

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief

Here’s a brief look at how the typical hoax-news-story sausage is made, from Emerson Dameron:

As an aspiring humor writer, I always keep one eye open for new sites that might be interested in running my stuff. A few years ago – neatly coinciding with the explosion of Twitter, reddit, Facebook, and other mass social-sharing sites – I began to notice more and more sites soliciting “satirical” news stories that were just slightly off. Not funny like The Onion, but close enough to the news to be somewhat believable yet false enough to make the people who spread them look like idiots.

When these sites get scads of clicks from a “hoax” story, they can have it both ways. They’ve significantly widened their audience, but can still explain that they were clearly just joshing.

That’s worth keeping very much in mind.


Meteorologists-Predict-Record-Shattering-Snowfalls-Coming-Soon-Bread-Milk-Prices-Expected-To-Soar-

via EmpireNews.net

Popular map suggesting ‘record-shattering snowfall’ is a hoax
by Scott Dance
The Baltimore Sun
September 9, 2014

A winter forecast map that is going viral and suggests above-normal snowfall for most of the country – and “well above-normal” snow for the mid-Atlantic and New England – comes from a satire website.

The story has been shared widely across social media, carrying the headline “Meteorologists Predict Record-Shattering Snowfall Coming Soon.” The accompanying map forecasts an unusually snowy winter for about two-thirds of the country, and a corridor of even heavier snow from Virginia to Maine. Read more…


Blame It On The Devil

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Filed under: Satire, The Big One

Naked Satan Statue Has Vancouver Locals Asking, ‘What The Devil?’
by David Moye
The Huffington Post
September 9, 2014

Naked-saluting-Satan-statue

What the hell?

That’s the question some Vancouver locals were asking after a naked, anatomically correct statue of Satan was mysteriously erected in a local park.

The 9-foot-tall statue was a representation of the devil, complete with red skin, a pointed tail and horns atop his head. The statue also holds one hand up in a devil-horn salute familiar to heavy metal fans the world over.

But what has aroused controversy is the statue’s prominent, erect phallus, CTV News reports. Read the whole story here.

Watch the video




4Chan v. Tumblr: Young Idealists at War

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Filed under: All About Pranks, Media Literacy, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

Over the last two decades, kids in the U.S. have grown up never not having had the internet. Plumbing the culture they’re maturing in and exploring the places they hone their ideas and social skills can lead to some interesting clues about the future. This is the second in a series of reports on contemporary American pranksters from Emerson Dameron, a writer, storyteller, and humorist searching for signs of life in a world plastered with ads.


4Chan v. Tumblr: Young Idealists at War
by Emerson Dameron
September 6, 2014

This summer, some of the most extreme personae on the internet celebrated their constitutional freedom of association by going to war.

Various self-contained hives of the internet give its users thousands of targeted factions to join. Over time, these sub-communities foster their own in-jokes, jargon, and culture that defies penetration by outsiders. They can be maddeningly complex. Asking their denizens the most basic of questions pegs one as impossibly square, an easy mark for mockery that strengthens the group.

These subcultures sometimes compete with each other. It can look silly from the outside, but the stakes can be quite high for those involved.

Tumblr

In the last few years, the blogging platform Tumblr, with its emphasis on sharing and community rather than high-effort original content, has become a hub for young outsiders looking for very specific places to belong. It may be eroding Facebook’s dominance among teenagers and college students, quite a few of whom seem to be in the early stages of embracing feminist theory, questioning their sexuality, and performing fraught public experiments with personal identity, gender, and politics. Because they feel so ostracized in “real life,” these Tumblr users can be intensely protective of each other and hostile toward anyone who may be antagonizing them in their safe spaces. (more…)

Performance Artist Explores the Weight of Personal Violation

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Filed under: Creative Activism

Emma Sulkowicz says her senior thesis is more performance art than an act of protest. Perhaps it is both.


Columbia Student Will Carry a Mattress Everywhere Until Her Alleged Rapist Is Expelled
By Jessica Roy
New York Magazine
September 2, 2014

columbia-performance-art-rape-student.200Emma Sulkowicz says she was raped in her own dorm bed by a classmate on the first day of her sophomore year of college. Since then, a substantial amount of her time at Columbia University has been spent trying to convince college administrators, police, and even friends that what happened to her really happened, that it was rape, and that her rapist deserves to be punished for what he did.


[Read The Cut's September 4 interview with Sulkowicz here.]

Sulkowicz is one of 23 students who are part of a federal Title IX complaint filed against Columbia in April for mishandling sexual-assault cases. Though she and two other students reported that the same student had assaulted them, all of their claims were swept under the rug, and the male student was not expelled from campus.

…Now a senior majoring in visual arts, Sulkowicz has devised a senior thesis rooted in performance art that will allow her to protest the fact that her rapist continues to study on campus. She has committed to carrying around a twin-size dorm mattress everywhere she goes on campus, to classes and appointments, “for as long as I attend the same school as my rapist.” Read the rest of this article here.

Watch video of Sulkowicz explaining her thesis project:

The Art of Human Hacking

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Fraud and Deception

Patrick Howell O’Neill reports from Def Con 2014 in Las Vegas, where he witnesses an odd sort of game: Social Engineering Capture the Flag.


Inside the Super Bowl of Lying
by Patrick Howell O’Neill
The Daily Dot
September 2, 2014

Nobody can find a seat, the room is so packed. The boisterous audience, undeterred, crowds against the walls and lies down on the floor at every edge of the room to catch the action. A line of people stretches out the front door.

Social engineering capture the flag

via social-engineer.org

This is the 2014 Def Con hacker conference at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas. The people are in one of the tiniest rooms in the casino to see the Super Bowl of lying.

The Social Engineering Capture The Flag contest was launched by Christopher Hadnagy in 2009. This year, nine teams of two players each are given a long list of goals that can only be accomplished through skillful lying and manipulation. The contest has been going on for five years, but most of the crowd, listening in rapt attention, is experiencing it for the very first time.

Hadnagy has another name for social engineering: “The art of human hacking.” While almost all of Def Con is dedicated to the art of computer hacking, this event targeted the mind. (more…)

A Rough Week for Celebrities: Recap

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Publicity Stunts

This week, a major Hollywood star faces repercussions for a public stunt, while another remains with us despite a death hoax.

bettywhite

via Flickr

The satirical website EmpireNews.net caused a brief scare with a pun about beloved actress Betty White “dyeing.” In light of the very real passing of comedian Joan Rivers, the goof caused understandable alarm.


from NBC 5 San Diego

from NBC 5 San Diego

Meanwhile, Steve-O, a star of the Jackass franchise, is facing criminal charges for defacing a sign directing Southern California motorists to Sea World. With the horrifying scandals that have lately surrounded the aquatic amusement park, Sea World must be particularly sensitive about its reputation.

Grover Norquist Meets the Wisdom of Burning Man

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Can “radical inclusiveness” ever win out over entrenched political partisanship?


My first Burning Man: confessions of a conservative from Washington
by Grover Norquist
theguardian.com
2 September 2014 16.20 EDT

‘Some day, I want to live 52 weeks a year in a state or city that acts like this. I want to attend a national political convention that advocates the wisdom of Burning Man.’

grover-norquist-burning-man
Illustration: Bart van Leeuwen for Guardian US Opinion (based on photos via Getty)

What is Burning Man?

It is a larger version of … what? Woodstock? That was a bunch of teenagers coming to watch artists perform. At Burning Man, everyone is expected to be a participant. Burners bring their art work, their art cars, their personal dress and/or undress: everyone is on stage. The story of Woodstock was thousands of young people, without the sense to bring their own food and water, being rescued by the state police and sensible bourgeois rural folks. The story of Burning Man is one of radical self-reliance.

It is a more intense than … what? Not quite the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Burning Man is an arts festival in the middle of the Nevada desert. It takes hours to get there, and you must bring what you eat or wear or need: you cannot buy anything there. Burning Man is more like Brigadoon – a western ghost town that springs to life. Dust storms. Cold nights. Black Rock City is completely built and then taken apart and disappeared each year, by 65,000 people.

Burning Man is greater than I had ever imagined. (more…)

Toilet Etiquette 101

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Satire

First in a series of instructional videos for my kids, by Will Reid:

Watch the video:

Mutant Giant Spider Dog

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

From SA Wardega

Watch the video:

Murder Evidence or Text Prank?

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Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters

An unnamed 65-year-old Athens, Georgia woman who is probably not an accessory to homicide reported receiving an unusual text message.


“Athens woman possibly target of phone prank”
by Police Blotter staff
OnlineAthens.com
September 3, 2014

Crime SceneA 65-year Athens woman reported to Athens-Clarke County police that on Monday she received a text message from an anonymous person who said, “Hey baby I disposed the body. What do I do?”

Police said they traced the text message to a phone number belonging to a 61-year-old Colbert woman who claimed she knew nothing about it. Read the full story here.


6th Annual Air Sex Competition

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Filed under: Parody, Satire

You Cannot Unsee The Air Sex World Championships (NSFW VIDEO)
by Andy Campbell
Huffington Post
August 30, 2014

The 6th-annual Air Sex World Championships reached its climax in New York City Thursday, when a handful of New York’s biggest libidos drank enough beer to get on stage and simulate sex. Alone. With (most of) their clothes on. Read the whole article here.

Watch the video: