Political Pranks

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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…)

    Iranian Prank Calls the NSA

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    Filed under: Political Pranks, Satire

    We interviewed the guy who prank-called the NSA
    by Brian Fung
    September 1, 2013

    The NSA is in dire need of customer service training — at least in the case of Bahram Sadeghi, a Dutch-Iranian filmmaker who decided to call the surveillance agency for “help” after one of his e-mails was accidentally deleted. In a three-minute exchange with NSA spokespeople, Sadeghi manages to confound one with his request (you can almost hear the relief in her voice when Sadeghi asks to speak to someone else) and gets a curt reply from another.

    How did Sadeghi pull off his trick? In an interview Sunday, the prankster revealed how his plan came together and where it went off the rails. The following transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

    Read the rest of the story here.

    via BoingBoing

    Turkson for Pope!

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    Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Political Pranks

    From ZeroZeroKappaKappa collective:

    Spoof campaign poster for Cardinal Turkson appears in pre-conclave Rome
    March 1, 2013


    Spoof “vote for Turkson” posters have popped up in Rome along walls still plastered with campaign posters from Italy’s general election on Sunday and Monday. Campaigning for the papacy is officially forbidden and even suggesting one is a candidate is usually enough to end any cardinal’s chances of ascending to the throne of Saint Peter.

    Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson is the Irish bookmakers’ favorite to replace Pope Benedict, putting a non-European in pole position to lead the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church for the first time in more than a millennium. (more…)

    Washington Post Needs Training to Spot Satire

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    Filed under: Political Pranks, Satire

    Sarah Palin Wins Correction Of The Day After WaPo Runs Patently Unbelievable Al Jazeera Scoop
    by Jason Linkins
    Huffington Post
    February 12, 2013

    Sarah PalinSo, despite what you’ve heard, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is not going to be proselytizing from a perch at Al Jazeera English. This is something that The Washington Post briefly reported Tuesday, on its “She The People” blog, and it is 100 percent wrong. So now, the Post gets to run this fun correction:

    CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that Sarah Palin planned to contribute to the Al Jazeera America news network.

    Palin and Al Jazeera, eh? Well, that would sure be a weird fit, wouldn’t it, given their past intersections. Almost too impossible to believe? Well, the source for the Post’s story was this piece from a website called “The Daily Currant,” and if you can believe this, then you’ll believe anything: (more…)

    Joey Skaggs as Santa Takes His Missile Tow to the United Nations

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    Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Political Pranks

    Update: Checkout Joey Skaggs’ Facebook Page to see the event invitation and photos.

    ‘Santa Claus’ At United Nations: Prankster Joey Skaggs Demands Nuclear Disarmament
    by Michael McLaughlin
    The Huffington Post
    November 14, 2012

    Joey Skaggs, dressed as Santa Claus, worries that a nuclear apocalypse is a serious threat overlooked by the mainstream media.

    NEW YORK — Doesn’t it seem like the holiday protest season starts earlier and earlier every year?

    A protesting Santa on an adult-sized tricycle pedaled up First Avenue Tuesday, dragging an 8-foot missile to the United Nations. His message to world leaders: “Peace on Earth — Or Else.”

    Nobody ran for cover. The comically fake bomb was a dud. And this St. Nick was the legendary media prankster Joey Skaggs, accompanied by six performance artists serving as elves.

    Given that New York suffered the worst hurricane in its history just two weeks ago, perhaps it’s little surprise that this Santa and his giant toy explosive were overlooked.

    Skaggs didn’t care. He just wanted to kick off the holiday season with a not-so-gentile reminder about “the absurdity of nuclear Holocaust and the direction we’re going with North Korea, Iran and Israel.

    “Everyone wants a missile,” Skaggs told The Huffington Post.

    “If you don’t do it now, when do you do it?,” he said, “after the Holocaust?”


    Code Pink Threatens to Arrest Condoleezza Rice for War Crimes

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    Convention protesters try to arrest Condoleezza Rice
    by Mike Schneider
    Detroit Free Press
    August 28, 2012

    Tampa — Police in Tampa stopped a dozen anti-war protesters from entering an event attended by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after the group said it intended to arrest her for war crimes.

    The protesters from Code Pink carried handcuffs today and tried to enter a performing arts center. Rice was attending an event in conjunction with the Republican National Convention. They said they wanted to make a citizen’s arrest of Rice. She was George W. Bush’s National Security Adviser when the Iraq war started in 2003.

    Officers told protesters to leave because they were on private property. They went back to the sidewalk and several lay down under sheets made to look like they were blood-splattered.

    The group says it will try to arrest other members of the George W. Bush administration.

    Obama-Romney: Say It With a Condom

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    Filed under: Political Pranks

    Submitted by Erin:

    From Say It With a Condom

    Pussy Riot, Russian Punk Rock Band, Experiences the Consequences of Dissent in Russia

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    Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Pranks

    Russian prosecutors ask for 3 years in punk case
    by Nataliya Vasilyeva
    August 7, 2012
    Associated Press

    Moscow (AP) – Prosecutors on Tuesday called for three-year sentences for the members of a feminist punk band who performed an anti-Vladimir Putin stunt in Moscow’s main cathedral, ignoring demands by human rights groups that the three women be set free.

    Defense lawyers and an influential Russian Orthodox cleric warned that jail time for the women could backfire by severing trust between ordinary Russians and the country’s institutions.

    Prosecutor Alexander Nikiforov portrayed his request as lenient, saying the recommendation takes into account the fact that two of the defendants are young mothers and that they have good character references.

    The hooliganism charges the three women of the Pussy Riot band face can carry a sentence of up to 7 years in prison.

    The three women – Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23; Maria Alekhina, 24; and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 – have been in custody for five months following the February stunt, in which they took over a church pulpit in Christ the Savior cathedral for less than a minute, singing, high-kicking and dancing.

    Their case is part of a widening government crackdown on dissent that followed Putin’s election in March and caused strong protests in Russia and abroad. Musicians including Madonna, the Who’s Pete Townshend and Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys have urged their release.

    The verdict is expected this week. Read the rest of this article here.