Foolish Decisions Confuse the General Public

Foolish+Decisions+Confuse+the+General+Public

Written by Haley Saffer, The Woodgrove Outlander

On April 1, 2016, Woodgrove High School is eliminating the A Day and B Day schedule in exchange for an eight block schedule, with each class lasting 45 minutes. This change is due to the many advantages of having all blocks on the same day: students have daily contact with all their teachers, students will be more focused during class, and it makes it easier for students to remember assignments. On the initiating day, April Fools’ Day, the A Day and B Day schedule will actually be continued because this is all a joke.

 

This wouldn’t be the first time the general public fell for an epic April Fools’ Day joke.

Richard Nixon was the only President to resign from office as a result of the Watergate Scandal; however, the ‘last’ time Nixon ran for President turned out to be one of the best hoaxes played on April Fools’ Day.  In 1992, it was announced on National Public Radio’s ‘Talk of the Nation,’ that Richard Nixon was running for President again. The announcement included Nixon’s supposed candidacy speech and his slogan, “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.” The audience was unaware that Comedian Rich Little impersonating Nixon’s voice during the speech.

 

The audience bombarded the show with calls expressing its shock and outrage. “We are stunned and think it’s an obvious attempt by Nixon to upstage our foreign policy announcement day,” said the Press Secretary of the Bush-Quayle campaign, Torrie Clarke.   During the second half of the show, John Hockenberry admitted it was only a practical joke.

 

Writer Robert Todd Carroll, the author of the ‘Skeptic’s Dictionary,’ said, “It’s pretty easy to hoax people. We all want to be deceived, but only up to a point. Some hoaxes are fun and pleasant, others are malicious and unpleasant. We’d like a way to tell the difference.”

 

Agreeing with Carroll, the masterminds behind the Nixon hoax and a major hoax in LA  believed their pranks were so ludicrous that no one would believe them. Both pranksters were wrong, and when the audience discovered these were pranks, they didn’t think it was very funny.

 

In 1987, LA disc jockey Steve Morris reported on his morning show from 6:30 to 9:30 am that from April 8 to May 1 all of the highways in LA would be closed all day due to construction. Listeners were in horror as they used the roadways daily. It wasn’t until the very end of his morning show that Hockenberry said, “April Fools’!”

 

Rather than being furious when believing the hoax, gullible individuals were fascinated by the absurd idea within another prank, the invention of a food machine. In 1878, it was revealed by the New York ‘Graphic’ that Thomas Edison had invented a food machine. The food machine was able to convert soil into cereal and transform water into wine. Knowing Edison invented the phonograph, many Americans believed this hoax. All  major United States newspapers copied the article, including the conservative ‘Buffalo Advertiser.’

 

The ‘Advertiser’ raved in an editorial about Edison’s brilliance. “Let steady-going people whose breath has been taken away by the pace we seem to be driving at just now, take heart therefore,” it read. “And be thankful that the genius of true benefactors of the race, like Edison, cannot now be crippled and blighted by superstition and bigotry, as it was when Galileo was forced to recant the awful heresy that two and two make four.”

 

The ‘Graphic’ responded to the Buffalo ‘Advertiser’ by reprinting the ‘Advertiser’s’ editorial and adding a headline that said, “They Bite!”

 

Like the invention of a food machine, the practical joke of modifying the value of Pi quickly swept across the area. The April 1998 issue of ‘New Mexicans for Science and Reason’ newsletter included an article stating the Alabama state legislature had approved changing the value of the mathematical constant of pi from 3.14159 to the ‘Biblical value’ of 3.0 during a vote. Soon, this article became so widespread that the Alabama state legislature received hundreds of calls of individuals against this change. The initial article was designed to be a parody of the legislature’s attempt to eliminate the teaching of evolution.

 

Richard Nixon is not running for President again, the LA highways will not be closed from April 8 to May, Thomas Edison didn’t invent a food machine, and the Alabama legislature did not change the value of Pi; these are just some of the best hoaxes and practical jokes played on April Fools’ that provoked an intense reaction in hundreds of people.