Fools

Yesterday was April Fools’ Day, which means we can all breathe again.

To be honest, I haven’t got all that excited about pranks since I was about eight; now I find it just an antique quaintness.

And it seems I am not alone. An article in yesterday’s Guardian (not an April Fools’ joke, I hope) points out that in the age of Twitter and its rapid turnover of instant comedy hits, the laboured efforts of the major news outlets have become a bit stale.

It was not always so. In Britain the acme of April Fools’ jokes took place in 1957 when the sober voice of the BBC, Richard Dimbleby, deigned to lecture the country about the bumper spaghetti harvest in the south of Switzerland.

It was a momentous, epochal foolishness, a sort of saturnalia of saturnalias. The British public were first duped and then astonished that they had been duped, and then amazed at their own innocent stupidity and finally delighted with the unprecedented whimsy. Before they knew it, the sixties were upon them, and all hell broke loose in the summer of love.

So there we are. Having said all that, and made my rather grouchy views plainly known, I did, during my research, light on a couple of April specials that made me laugh. MoMa (the Museum of Modern Art in New York) announced a baby-tracker app (or one was announced on its behalf) which compares the size of your foetus to iconic design objects (compare yours here); and, for Cormac McCarthy aficionados, there’s the Cormac McCarthy interview in the Paris Review. But that’s all the smiles I would permit myself.

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