Friday, April 2, 2010

Foolish April

April may be my least favorite month of the year. Though it usually marks the long-awaited arrival of true spring weather, it starts with April 1. April Fools' Day. Aka Everyone-has-an-excuse-to-be-a-jerk day.

I'm not really a prankster type -- my allegiance to sincerity is too strong -- but I do love holidays. So I usually take the lead in coming up with some kind of joke for Above the Law. This year, I presented a racy date between two lawyers. I prefer pranks that contain the reveal, so that you're only fooled if you neglect to read all the way through or to click on a stray link (e.g., TechCrunch's foolery).

But Above the Law played a small part in a massive prank yesterday: a legal blogger claiming to have been chosen by the White House to man a new national law blog. Though some recognized it as an April Fools' joke, the venerable New York Times fell for it.

Though it made Gawker laugh, I feel badly about the Grey Lady's slip and fall. My heart is just not totally into pulling the wool over people's eyes.

I'm in journalism because I want to provide people with information they can rely on. I realize April Fools' Day is an escapist holiday, but pranks that involve the spread of misinformation happen too often in the blogosphere already (e.g., Anyone remember John Roberts's retirement?)

Humans seem to have some innate tendency to believe one another. A day of the year that makes a mockery of that sad, beautiful human condition makes me feel foolishly despairing.

Happy April 2.

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