"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Fool's Day is outdated occasion

The front page of the Morris Sun Tribune is ridiculous. This isn't said in a spirit of sour grapes. I'm referring to the April 1 edition, a date that tempted their staff to attempt humor on a juvenile level. If they read this they'll snicker at me. People in the old corporate media aren't receptive to criticism.
Let's start with consideration of "April Fool's Day" itself. Haven't you noticed that we don't hear much about that occasion anymore? Doesn't it, in fact, seem like a stupid, outdated occasion? Do you find any humor in the kind of jokes associated with it? Aren't you a little fearful that such jokes can be hurtful? What sort of satisfaction can anyone take in such foolish gestures?
April Fool's Day has faded partly because of the litigious tendencies in our society.
I remember when Neil Thielke was one of the pastors writing a pastor's column in the Morris paper. This was back when the paper was substantially larger, twice a week in fact. Neil's column represented some of the best journalism in the paper. He recalled telling some young people about the dangers of actually doing some of the things you might see in the movies. Hollywood is the dream factory. The actors themselves say "leave 'em laughing." The expression is meant to show the line drawn between themselves and their audience. What's on the screen is make-believe, even for movies that claim to be "based on" or "inspired by" reality.
Is it legitimate to engage in a "barroom brawl?" Is it innocuous behavior? Is it "boys will be boys?" Movies that I grew up with showed violent conflict. But if you break someone's nose in an altercation, the victim will seek medical help and the insurance company will want to know what outside party was responsible. The Neanderthal behavior will be shut down readily. Try some elaborate April Fool's joke on someone and you could be setting up some undesirable consequences for yourself. You might get sued.
Someone mentioned to me that elderly people could be misled by the Morris Sun Tribune front page. I'm getting to that age where I might not be as "hip" and I could be vulnerable.
I saw a headline that announced the trade of Tom Brady from New England to Buffalo. At the time I wasn't aware it was April 1 or April Fool's Day. I just wasn't conscious of it. I couldn't care less. But I saw the headline and immediately took it seriously. OK maybe I was thinking like an elderly person, taking things at face value too readily. Is it ridiculous on the face of it to believe Brady would be traded to Buffalo? It seems unusual and certainly worthy of big headlines. But preposterous? Harmon Killebrew ended up playing for Kansas City. Brady is up in years. Player movement in pro sports is always to be expected.
I sort of shrugged and just moved on with my reading, as I used a computer at the Morris Senior Citizens Center. More affirmation that I'm elderly. A couple days went by. I suddenly realized I wasn't hearing any more about the Brady trade. Ergo, it was an April Fool's gag! So what? What satisfaction could the perpetrators have taken? It was dumb. It was nothing but dumb, just like the front page of the Morris paper which if nothing else engaged in overkill.
If you really want to appreciate an April Fool's joke, such a joke should be subtle and maybe have some finesse, IMHO. But I would suggest, why even bother? I remember when a joke was pulled on a fellow at our DeToy's Restaurant, wherein he was given a fake winning lottery ticket. It resulted in genuine better feelings. Again, why bother with such a joke?
If April Fool's Day had the kind of high profile it once did, we'd hear a lot more patter in connection to it on TV, on the cable news channels. I recall hardly any acknowledgment.
The news connected to Donald Trump might be taken as some sort of cruel joke: the fact he ran as a populist but now is doing things quite in contradiction. Remember the endless debates? Were there any debates at all between Nixon and Humphrey or Nixon and McGovern? But in 2016 in our new media-saturated world, we get incessant debates which resulted in a truly dangerous man getting elected president. So what have we accomplished? What does April Fool's Day accomplish?
At least we're inching close to more pleasant weather, quite belatedly. Let's shelve the April Fool's Day foolishness. Mr. Thielke, do you agree?
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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