Scoping about the web this morning and there’s the usual April 1 activity. Nothing so shocking so far – but maybe someone will push the boat out and surprise us. In fact probably someone will push the boat out and there will be a twitter storm. We’ll see.
I rather like the history of the fool’s day (whichever one you observe) and there are some really nice stories and pranks. I also like folktales and lore so I threw this together – I was meant to be researching Mister Punch, but one trickster led to another…
So, here’s a very short scrap of fiction about how we like to be fooled. And it seems we really do – in a way similar to being taken in by a stage magician. But we’re disappointed when we can see the wires and mirrors.
Hello Boys and Girls,
One of the more amusing mistakes mankind has made is the idea that gods and monsters would not follow them through digital times. It’s rather quaint really, so arrogant of man to eschew the ‘old-fashioned’ tales only to tell them again on electric typewriters.
And yet, who is it they turn to when things go wrong?
There are great gods and monsters revived in new guises, the women of the sea who once tempted the sailors now sell you coffee. The cartoon characters that frolick in bright colours are the same ones under your bed, they just wait for a different trigger.
When mankind creates such monsters, they never seem to notice the caveats. So excited they are to imagine a fearful something to enslave others, the contracts are signed without reading the terms and conditions – a habit that is still pervasive today. See what I mean?
The important built-in facility for all spirits, the one that you miss, is patience.
Time and time again we read, watch and laugh at tales of gods and spirits bemoaning the idea that humanity no longer believes in us. That’s really okay. We are patient and we change. Just because one set is more fashionable than another means nothing to an entity without time. But it is still flattering when such stories are written, so nice to be kept in mind. That’s the way to do it.
I should introduce myself. I am the trickster. I have so many names, you might as well choose one you like and stick with that. I even have a Wikipedia page listing maybe a fraction of my incarnations.
So today is my day. April 1. Go on. Strike up the band. I get another one on December 28th and well, every prank played in between, that’s mine too.
I’ve been around an awfully long time. Even the Romans liked a good trick. You can shift the date around as you please – but I’m still around to observe and take in the willingness to prey upon the good nature of another.
As you might imagine (or not it may seem) where humans go, we too are present. So your ‘pranks’ online are nothing new to me. One thing is for sure, if I really could only exist by consuming the actions done in my name, through digital means, I’d starve.
A site that is not the same, a claim that is extravagant, the purchase of one company by another, the arrival of a product so obviously questionable. Your lack of imagination is startling.
The joy of pranking for so many centuries has been the physical effort and manifestation of a trick. The digital pulling together of a pun is really a rather poor example by comparison. When the execution is fair, the idea wouldn’t fool a child. Where the trick is good, the execution is usually so poorly rendered it could be seen from the moon. Wither the artistic trickster? Where is the truth in the joke?
In recent times Porky Bikar drew my attention by tricking townsfolk into thinking a volcano had erupted. That’s a fine effort. It takes time and planning to pull off a good trick.
A quick scope of the more recent events, it appears that the medium with which you pull your prank has an influence on your intended victims. The UK’s BBC Panorama program with it’s amusing Spaghetti trees. A nice turn, and one well placed in a programme that was to be taken seriously.
That said, many people appear to be more easily fooled by an evening radio play. My Halloween cousins are still delighted by this.
In the 1950s Nicole Riche was apparently abducted from the Grand Guignol. She lied to the police, the press followed suit. But the trick was revealed to be a prank by the theatre manager. There again two main sources the public relied upon came into question.
These physical pranks were given credence by the media of the day. But the media of today is now questioned – quite right too.
But if you are unsure of your sources and require three sources of provenance, however can your digital pranks work? If you’re so jolly viral – you’d have at least tapped your network. But still this doesn’t come to mind.
However, this bothers me and my bretheren not. While your digital games have yet to mature to a state where you can trust enough to be tricked, there will always be plenty of games to be had physically. Afterall, this is why the word gullible was removed from all dictionaries around the turn of this century no?
Maybe the element missing in these pranks is people. They often provide the veracity which really pushes a great trick to its brink.
You funny naked apes will have to work harder to delight a spirit as old as me. But as I said before, I have patience longer than a thousand of your lifetimes, so I am sure you will think of something, maybe around the time a new medium is being invented.
(Is that the one you chose? Maybe Coyote, Brer, Mercurius, Eshu, Ananse, Picaro, Cagn, Puck …)