Friday, April 1, 2011

Pranks for the Memories

Today, April Fool's, is a sort of holiday around the world and has been with us for the better part of a millennium (Falcon by Ford; to say nothing of Harrison). The origins of this day seem to stretch back to the time of Geoffrey Chaucer, and Canterbury Tales. I wonder, had Geoffrey ('Jeff' to his friends, perhaps) seen Ashton Kutcher's interpretation, if his face, at first just ghostly, would turn a whiter shade of pale.

Based on headlines across the globe this week, we've been practicing for today except no one was aware we were supposed to only be practicing. On every page in every paper and on every screen that flickers, are stories it's reasonable to assume are simply made up except they're not. And yes, I mean the logic that has US forces attacking Libyan military installations because, as our President explained, their leader is killing his own people. Except...that nut job's been murdering anyone he can put his hands to since he grabbed power forty something years ago. Actually, that is how he came to power in the first place. But as of last week, now it is wrong. Good to know.

Meanwhile, you might assume, there are governments in Syria and Bahrain (among other places and yes, Yemen, I was thinking of you) wondering just how close, if at all, they are to getting a Tomahawk chop from Nick NATO and the Nightimers. And I'd mention what the North Korean government does to its own people, and to everyone else, but we all already know about that-but it's all good I guess. When we awaken and ask how we are here instead of why we are here, we're lost because "if they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers."

Here in lower New England, instead of spring cleaning, we're still snow shoveling. Perhaps the meteorologists are just getting into the spirit of the day. If they are, it'd be a bigger laugh if some of them wandered around their viewing areas and offered snow blower rides (I'm holding out for a pony ride and don't have too many more days before I don't get one again for my birthday).

In Bangladesh, where I imagine a translation of Canterbury Tales might not be an especially good house-warming gift, there are news accounts of the murder of a fourteen year old girl as punishment for being raped (I'll wait while you read that again, or more than a single again). My visceral reaction to the story was that it must be a joke AND it's in terrible taste. It seems to be more an instance of 'take a number' rather than take to the streets in outrage.

And to some extent, that's probably right--years ago, I removed the phrase 'that's the most seven letter gerund ending in ing stupid thing I've heard' because I was saying/thinking it almost non-stop. The stuff listed above happened in recent days and is by no means a complete or even representational reflection of the egregious awfulness that has been happening in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood probably since Eve's heavy steady said 'who doesn't love apples?'

Today, you can stand the world on its head. By tomorrow, no one will remember because nothing you may have done today will seem out of place in a vulgar and venal vale of perdition. A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now. Except now.
-bill kenny

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