Political Pranks

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Arabic Graffiti on TV’s Homeland: The Writing’s on the Wall

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Pranks

Street Artists Infiltrate ‘Homeland’ With Subversive Graffiti
by Dan Bilefsky and Mona Boshnaq
The New York Times
October 15, 2015

On TV's "Homeland," artists hired to add authenticity to a Syrian refugee-camp set scrawled Arabic graffiti messages declaring the show "racist."

On TV’s “Homeland,” artists hired to add authenticity to a Syrian refugee-camp set scrawled Arabic graffiti messages declaring the show “racist.”

LONDON — In a recent episode of Showtime’s hit series “Homeland,” the former C.I.A. officer Carrie Mathison is escorted by a Hezbollah militant past a wall in a fictional Syrian refugee camp covered with Arabic graffiti.

Attentive viewers who read Arabic, however, might have noticed something awry. Among the messages spray-painted on the walls: “ ‘Homeland’ is racist,” “There is no ‘Homeland’ ” and “ ‘Homeland’ is not a show.”

The subversive messages seemingly escaped the notice of the producers of the television series.

On Wednesday, an Egyptian artist, Heba Y. Amin, and two other artists, Caram Kapp and Stone, took credit for the graffiti, saying it was a subtle protest of false and misleading stereotypes in the series, which has been heavily criticized for its portrayals of Muslims. (more…)

The Squicky Side of International Development

Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Pranks, Satire

JadedAid, a new party game derived in style and spirit from Cards Against Humanity, satirizes the international development industry in brutal and hilarious fashion.

Cards Against Humanitarians
by Iyla Lozofsky
Foreign Policy
September 28, 2015

Needless to say, this very serious industry has its very serious critics. But few are as creative (or as hilarious) as three young development professionals who, in the last few weeks, have chosen to express their discontent by self-publishing a satirical card game. JadedAid is modeled on the popular millennial game, Cards Against Humanity, in which players compete to select the funniest (or most vulgar) answers to a set of “fill-in-the-blank” questions. Just a week since its opening, the JadedAid KickStarter campaign has collected nearly twenty thousand dollars — far ahead of its creators’ targets — and the game is well on its way to completion. As an example of the kind of decidedly un-pc satire the game provides, here is one possible combination of cards:

Some of the card ideas were developed by the game’s inventors, who, all in their thirties, have extensive experience in the technology and communication side of the development industry. But the vast majority of the suggestions (nearly 800 at last count) were submitted by friends, colleagues, and anonymous development workers. One of the game’s co-founders, Jessica Heinzelman, 36, attributes the game’s immediate appeal to the need for development workers to “let off some steam” by subjecting their experiences in the field to mockery. (more…)

Elton John ‘happy to be pranked’

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Filed under: Political Pranks

Elton John ‘happy to be pranked’ if it sheds light on gay rights
By Faith Karimi
September 18, 2015

Pranks may be for giggles. But gay rights — not so much, Elton John says.

The pop star responded to a prank by a Russian TV celebrity who called him this week pretending to be President Vladimir Putin.

Elton John Instagram

“Pranks are funny. Homophobia, however is never funny,” he said in a post Thursday. “I love Russia and my offer to talk to President Putin about LGBT rights still stands.”

Read the whole story here.

Hanksy Takes a Trump

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Political Pranks, Satire

Artist “Hanksy” shares his opinion of the front-running GOP candidate:


Also, check out Hanksy’s recent tour of Detroit and its graffiti:
“Surplus Candy” :: Episode 2 :: DETROIT

Watch the video

via HuffPo

Non-profit that entrapped Planned Parenthood in supposed “fetus selling” scandal is not what it purports to be

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Filed under: Political Pranks, Propaganda and Disinformation

Update, August 1, 2015: A Los Angeles judge has placed a temporary injunction on the Center for Medical Progress, stopping them from issuing any further anti-Planned Parenthood videos they may have illegally obtained using fake IDs.

CMP logoHuffington Post states that the Center for Medical Progress, the anti-abortion group behind the sting that has discredited Planned Parenthood by publishing a video about the organization selling fetal parts, is a sham non-profit. The Center, in turn, created a “shell” group called Biomax, calling it a “fetal tissue procurement company,” to entrap a Planned Parenthood executive into speaking casually over a meal with wine about procedures for shipping fetuses to laboratories for research.

The final video was edited to make it appear that Planned Parenthood sells fetuses from abortions, when in actuality, at the request of some women, they donate the fetuses for research. Reimbursements are to cover the cost of transportation. None of this is illegal. According to Slate.com, there appears to be a link between the head of the group David Daleiden and James O’Keefe, known for creating similar dishonest and inflamatory videos in support of hot right wing political issues.

Here’s the video in question. Watch carefully. Look for the numerous camera angles, as there are at least 2 if not 3 concealed cameras. And listen to the dialog to see how easy it is to take what someone says out of context, turning it into a story about something totally different.

Read more about this here:

  • Slate.com: What Is the Center for Medical Progress, the Group Behind the Latest Viral Abortion Video?
  • Huffington Post: Group Behind Planned Parenthood Sting Video May Have Tricked IRS, Donors

  • Fake Tweet Fakes-out the Press

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    Filed under: Political Pranks, Pranksters

    From Concepta Cassar: Social media prank masquerading as news gets picked up as news…

    A Prankster Convinced the Media that Glastonbury was 74% Tory
    by Abi Wilkinson
    VPoint News
    July 1, 2015

    The ‘fact’ that 74% of Glastonbury attendees voted Tory, and 13% voted Ukip, was shared widely on social media and printed in the Sunday Telegraph. However, these statistics are entirely false. They originate from a fake Guardian pie chart created by a Twitter prankster. It just shows how easy it is for lies to spread on social media.

    fake tweet from @prayforpatrick

    On Friday evening, Twitter user @PrayForPatrick tweeted an infographic that claimed to show some surprising statistics about the voting preferences of Glastonbury attendees.

    Allegedly, an on-site poll had found that 74% of Glastonbury-goers voted Conservative in the 2015 general election and 13% voted Ukip – making the festival more right-wing that the constituency of Chelsea and Fulham.

    The graphic featured the Guardian’s logo and similar, though not identical, fonts to those commonly used by the newspaper. This was apparently enough to convince many people that the unlikely stats were authentic, even though the chart included a glaring spelling error: “attendeees”. The capitalisation of “UKIP” is also out of line with Guardian house style.

    The myth took on a life of its own as other Twitter users began sharing the image independently as well as retweeting Patrick’s original post.

    Read the rest of the article here.

    Molla Nisreddin: A Classic of Iranian Satire

    Filed under: Political Pranks, Satire, The History of Pranks

    Yes, you read that correctly.

    “When Satire Conquered Iran”
    Adapted by the Editors from Slavs and Tatars Presents: Molla Nasreddin: The Magazine That Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve
    New York Review of Books Blog
    September 18. 2012

    MOLLA-move-forward-nocapPublished between 1906 and 1930, Molla Nasreddin was a satirical Azeri magazine edited by the writer Jalil Mammadguluzadeh (1866-1932), and named after Nasreddin, the legendary Sufi wise man-cum-fool of the Middle Ages. With an acerbic sense of humor and realist illustrations reminiscent of a Caucasian Honoré Daumier or Toulouse-Lautrec, Molla Nasreddin attacked the hypocrisy of the Muslim clergy, the colonial policies of the US and European nations towards the rest of the world, and the venal corruption of the local elite, while arguing repeatedly for Westernization, educational reform, and equal rights for women. Publishing such stridently anti-clerical material, in a Muslim country, in the early twentieth century, was done at no small risk to the editorial team. Members of MN were often harassed, their offices attacked, and on more than one occasion, Mammadguluzadeh had to escape from protesters incensed by the contents of the magazine. (more…)

    The Dangers of Parody in Peoria

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    Filed under: Parody, Political Pranks

    The Police Raided My Friend’s House Over a Parody Twitter Account
    by Justin Glawe
    April 18 2014

    Jon Daniel

    Jon Daniel woke up on Thursday morning to a news crew in his living room, which was a welcome change from the company he had on Tuesday night, when the Peoria, Illinois, police came crashing through the door. The officers tore the 28-year-old’s home apart, seizing electronics and taking several of his roommates in for questioning; one woman who lived there spent three hours in an interrogation room. All for a parody Twitter account.

    Yes, the cops raided Daniel’s home because they wanted to find out who was behind @peoriamayor, an account that had been shut down weeks ago by Twitter. When it was active, Daniel used it to portray Jim Ardis, the mayor of Peoria, as a weed-smoking, stripper-loving, Midwestern answer to Rob Ford. The account never had more than 50 followers, and Twitter had killed it because it wasn’t clearly marked as a parody. It was a joke, a lark—but it brought the police to Daniel’s door. The cops even took Daniel and one of his housemates in for in-depth questioning—they showed up at their jobs, cuffed them, and confiscated their phones—because of a bunch of Twitter jokes.

    Now Daniel’s panicking. Read the rest of this article here.

    via: Peoria Mayor and Police Violate The 1st Amendment Over Twitter Parody; Twitter image: TheStoopKids

    GayVillage Proposal Dupes Media

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    Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Pranks

    From Concepta Cassar:

    Dutch ‘gay-only village’ hoax fools press
    The Guardian
    19 June 2014

    Dutch and foreign media taken in by gay rights group’s hoax plan for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender-only community

    Scott Brown, dressed as a native American and Pilo Pilkes, as Henry Hudson, are married in Amsterdam

    Dutch media have hit out after the authorities in a southern city took part in an elaborate hoax announcing the construction of a “gay-only” village.

    The state broadcaster NOS and the national daily newspaper NRC reacted angrily on Thursday after they fell for the hoax a day earlier by publishing stories about plans for a community outside Tilburg specifically for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents.

    The hoax also caught out several international news outlets.

    The plan for the “GayVillage”, which had a slick website and promotional videos, was cooked up by the Pink Monday Foundation, which organises a gay festival with the same name during Tilburg’s summer festival.

    Endorsed by the city’s mayor and a developer to give it more authenticity, “GayVillage” was supposedly a “protected” community to be built on land north of in Tilburg. Read more here.

    Gil Fulbright for Senate!

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    Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Pranks

    From Represent.Us: Help the honest politician crash the most expensive Senate race of all time. Get This Guy on TV

    Gil Fulbright for Senate

    Watch the video

    via Huffington Post

    John Oliver’s Political Parody Ads

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    Filed under: Parody, Political Pranks, Publicity Stunts

    Last Week Tonight, John Oliver’s soon-to-debut new comedy show, took aim at the GOP’s new ad campaign aimed at “hip” young Republicans on their YouTube channel. Here are two videos parodying their look-alike counterparts, which can be seen here and here.

    Watch the videos:

    More info:

  • Republicans Are Going After Dissatisfied Hipsters, Minorities, and Women in a New Ad Campaign, Slate
  • First on CNN: RNC makes play for unhappy Obama voters in new ad buy, CNN
  • Britain and U.S. Intelligence Punked by Punks

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    Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Political Pranks, The History of Pranks

    The British Punk Band That Fooled Reagan, Thatcher And The CIA
    by Nico Hines
    Daily Beast
    January 4, 2014

    How a small British punk band fooled Reagan, Thatcher, the MI6, and American spies.

    The U.S. government blamed the KGB; British intelligence agencies pointed the finger at Argentine spies. They couldn’t have been further from the truth.

    Crass band member

    The full story of a hoax recording of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher can now be disclosed after a raft of secret documents were declassified in London. A crackly tape purporting to capture a confrontational phone call between Reagan and Thatcher in 1982 was created as a prank in the Essex bedroom of an English punk band, and yet we now know it was being analyzed by the British Prime Minister and top officials in Washington years later.

    Read the whole story here.

    Roosevelt Riding a Moose: 1912 Political Fakery

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    Filed under: Political Pranks, The History of Pranks, Urban Legends

    From Joe K & Deborah T:

    Myths debunked: Sadly, Theodore Roosevelt never rode a moose
    by Heather Cole
    September 20, 2013

    Many of Theodore Roosevelt’s adventures seem like something out of a tall tale: he survived an assassination attempt; nearly died while exploring the Amazonian jungle; and became the first president to drive a car and fly in a plane; among many others. Despite having been a larger-than-life figure, this is one thing that TR never did:


    Read the full article by Heather Cole, Assistant Curator of Modern Books & Manuscripts and Curator of the Theodore Roosevelt Collection

    Fox News Falls Prey to Satirical Website

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    Filed under: Political Pranks, Satire

    UPDATE, October 8, 2013: Jimmy Kimmel Live – Fox News is Gullible

    Fox Falls For Fake Story About Obama Personally Funding Muslim Museum During Shutdown
    by Mike Burns
    Media Matters
    October 5, 2013

    Fox & Friends Saturday criticized President Obama for offering to personally pay for a “museum of Muslim culture” during the government shutdown, a claim that originated from a satire website.

    Read the rest of the story here.

    ‘Sex Jihad’ Hoax Exposed

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    Filed under: Political Pranks

    From Juan:

    ‘Sex jihad’ almost certainly a hoax
    Raw Story
    via Agence France-Presse
    October 1, 2013


    Over the past few weeks, various media outlets have been awash with sensational stories of an alleged “sex jihad” taking place in parts of Syria controlled by the rebels.

    Hundreds of Muslim women, notably from Tunisia, are reportedly going to Syria to offer themselves to jihadist fighters as a sign of their devotion to their cause.

    While this certainly makes for a good story, it may all be a hoax. (more…)