I suppose I should stand up and officially scotch the (self-started) rumour that I’m going to be writing in the Star Wars universe. That was my April Fool, obviously, and probably not a good one either (Mary Robinette Kowal pretty much owned April Fool’s Day for pranking purposes; mine was a 4.30am first-coffee-of-the-day effort). Needless to say, Disney wouldn’t come to me first for a new entry to the canon, and certainly not for a continuation of the Jar Jar Binks story. Anyway, they’ve already got Chuck Wendig, and that’s enough beard for anybody.
It’s interesting to note that there seemed to be a lot less pranking than usual this time around. Paul Cornell posted on Twitter that there was more anger than anything else, though personally I didn’t see any of that through the morning. He wondered if we had been battered too much by the “absurdity” of everyday life.
It’s possible – there hasn’t been much good news this year, both in general and in personal terms. Looking ahead – US elections, idiot fundamentalists, idiot Conservatives, the demolition of the NHS and the return to Victorian-style poverty – there’s not much good on the horizon either. There aren’t too many reasons to laugh out loud. And that’s just the general stuff.
Should I feel bad over posting what was basically just an “unfunny lie”? Has April Fool’s Day become the Heath Ledger of jokes, uncomfortable, unwanted, polarising and vicious (reminds me of the troll-in-law, but less sociopathic)?
As with most things, it depends on what you’re doing and why. For example my own pranking is pointed at myself as much as anything else: I don’t take myself seriously, and I rarely expect anybody else to. I’m happy to set myself up as the butt of a joke (even a bad one) because I’ll most likely be the first one (sometimes the only one) to laugh. The world’s going to hell, led by the Pied Piper of Fart, so rather than drive myself mad worrying about it I’ll turn away for a moment and have a giggle. At myself, not at anyone else. It’s not big, it’s not clever, but it’s not directed at anybody else and it’s not hurtful either, unlike some of the other jokes.
We’re frustrated, we’re angry, we lash out – and the “jokes” hurt people.
Perhaps the world gets the jokes it deserves. If that’s the case, then if we want better jokes, then we really ought to do something about the world.