Archive for March 31st, 2007

We can’t fool all the people all the time?

31 March 2007

In 1999, Burger King UK announced the launch of the new left-handed Whopper designed to fit more comfortably in the left hand, resulting in fewer ‘spills’.

In 1994, PC Computing blew the lid on legislative efforts to ban the use of the Internet while drunk.

In 1985, George Plimpton pulled off one of the biggest coups in sports journalism by announcing the arrival of Sidd Finch, a baseball pitcher who could throw at 168 kmph.

In 1957, BBC pleasantly shocked the world by throwing light on a surprising harvest of spaghetti in Switzerland.

All great stories except that they weren’t true. They were classic jokes pulled off by the media on April 1 of those years, which ended up making fools of readers. So in the interests of gullible readers, Jack Shafer of Slate has sat down and come up with a kit to protect them.

Read the full story here: The April Fools’ Day defence kit

Related link: The April Fools’ index

Also read: Esquire’s list of the best April Fools’ pranks on YouTube

All the booze that’s fit to drink

31 March 2007

H.L. Mencken‘s motto was clear: “I’ve made it a rule to never drink by daylight and never refuse a drink after dark.”

Ambrose Bierce said, it is “a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure (of a drink).”

When an editor asked columnist Murray Kempton, “How much more?” the Pulitzer Prize winner “lifted his almost-completed bottle of Dewar’s and said, ‘Oh, about an inch.”

***

Tony Dokoupil charts the connection between booze and the news.

“Psychologists have shown that neurotics can make good journalists when they project their inner doubts and dissatisfactions onto the world. This is the energy behind investigative reporting and the source of journalism’s vaunted distrust of power, the argument goes.”

Read the full article here

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