Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Fool Indeed...

So here we are - April Fool's Day again. You know, I dread the coming of April 1st every year. Not because I fear falling victim to an April Fool's prank (they're too easy to spot - I mean, you are expecting them on April 1st, if people carried them out on, say, 13th June, there's more chance you'd actually be fooled), but simply because the quality of so many of these so-called pranks are so poor they make me cringe.

This is particularly true of the 'joke' articles carried by newspapers on this day every year. Now, these are usually easy to spot (in the case of the Daily Sport, Sun or Daily Mail, they are the only articles which actually seem like real news stories), but woefully unfunny. The Times' offering was particularly lame this year - 'Chip and Sing' recognition foor credit card users. Laugh? I thought I'd never start. In fact, I didn't. The Guardian's attempt was so bloody obvious, it was insulting that they took an entire inside page to try and push it. The idea that Tory leader David Cameron (or anyone with any musical taste, for that matter) would engage Coldplay's Chris Martin to produce a theme song for them is so obviously a joke, I don't know why they bothered. OK, I can see what they're getting at - Cameron=bland and boring, Coldyplay=bland and boring, but it really wasn't worth the effort.

The other media were just as bad. Mind you, whilst I lay in bed listening to Radio Five Live's breakfast news programme, I was wondering which of their stories was the joke, they all seemed so bizarre. Was it someone from local government complaining about the government's audacity in expecting them to subsidise the new initiative for free bus travel for over 60s (well, duh! Pensioners pay council tax, too!)? Was it the nonsense about the government planning to fine people who have too many bright lights in their gardens for light pollution? Or was it a policeman complaining that the formation of a new elite crimefighting force would take seven hundred policemen away from from 'real' policing and strip them of their powers of arrest, (conveniently ignoring the fact that these officers wre already sat behind desks on secondment to the NCS and NCIS which the new organisation was absorbing)? Frankly, I wasn't interested enough to find out, and went back to sleep. Working on the maxim that 'he who cries 'April Fool' after midday is a fool indeed', I stayed in bed until after midday.

It never ceases to amaze me how stupid the media think the public are, the way they hope to fool them every year with this kind of shit. Having said that, it never ceases to amaze me what people will believe - the number of times I've found stories from The Sleaze being earnestly discussed on message boards on the assumption that they are true. I'm particularly fond of the time some right-wing extremist board tried to start a campaign condemning 'Happy Crapping' after one of their members came across Confessions of a Crap Artist. I ask you, if a story about the latest youth craze being public defecation isn't obviously fake, I don't know what is! Another right wing board took a page and a half of discussion to ascertain that Hollywood Sex Pests was fiction, then bad temperedly labelled The Sleaze 'crass'! Some idiot on another board accused me of being a 'slanderer' because of the same story's claims that Charlie Chaplin used to mime acts of gross sexual perversion to starlets during auditions. I didn't have the heart to tell the pillock that if it is in writing it is 'libel, not 'slander', and that you can't libel a dead person anyway - making him guilty of libelling me. And let's not forget the idiot who actually posted on the old Sleaze message board to complain that the Dr Who? story was fiction. No shit, Sherlock!

It seems that no matter how ludicrous I make these stories, no matter how obviously surreal they are, there is always someone out there credulous enough to believe them. Scariest of all, however, is the fact that not all of these idiots are simply ordinary members of the public. Oh no. For a while I had research assistants from a TV production company contacting me trying to secure an interview with Maurice Gink (does that sound like a ral name to you?), the man who made the Suburban Sex Machines. No matter how many times I told them it was fiction, they just kept on e-mailing me! I subsequently had a researcher from another TV production company (who claimed to be a regular reader) trying to contact Suzy Jamette, the groupie from Rock Babylon whose underpants Mick Jagger had allegedly shat in. I wrote back pointing out that the story was fiction, but offering to try and line up the octopus featured in it - which Jimmy Page had trained to wank off eight people simultaneously - for an interview. They never replied.

Perhaps I'm being over-optimistic in hoping that people who work in the media might actually have some kind of critical faculties. Then I watch SKY News or see the Daily Mail and realise that I most definitely am!

So there you are - despite the fact that I hate April Fools' Day (almost as much as I hate St Patrick's Day, in fact), it seems that every day is April Fools' Day where The Sleaze is concerned!



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