I want to talk a bit about the cultural value of April Fools' Day.

There are many people asking amidst this global pandemic and related stress that everyone forgo April Fools' Day jokes and pranks. There are understandable and well-intentioned concerns, but I disagree with this view of April 1st. Here's why: (THREAD)

April Fools thread! 

Historically across many countries, April Fools' Day was a day of mischief and foolishness. Reading about common pranks reveals a sense of harmless fun: in Italy and France, one might try to stick a paper fish onto someone else's back without being caught. In Ireland and Scotland, you might ask someone to deliver a letter for you, but secretly the letter asks the recipient to send the deliverer out again to someone new, leading deliverer in circles until they realize. 2/

April Fools thread! 

These are, at worst, light inconveniences. It is onlywith the rise of global media and the internet that April Fools has become so disliked. Newspapers and media corporations are genuinely misleading thousands of people about things of real consequence, which can be dangerous. In this hyper-connected world, people feel more disconnected from others than ever, and an egotistical attitude brought about an element of arrogance into jokes. 3/

April Fools thread! 

People started planning elaborate, cruel jokes so they could feel superior, a point-and-laugh approach to something meant to be communal. These people wanted to be the one who fooled you, never the fool.

Here's the thing: humor is meant for bonding. People laugh together and they feel at ease, they feel like they belong. You know you have forged a friendship with someone when you realize you can joke around about things and chuckle. 4/

April Fools thread! 

In communities, there are understood values and boundaries--a person in that community understands what is funny and what isn't. April Fools' makes us all the fool in turn: we are all the same, no one is better than anyone else, and we must all learn to laugh at ourselves as much as we laugh at the foolishness of others.

In most places throughout history, it was understood that pranks, jokes, and silliness were only permitted before noon. 5/

April Fools thread! 

After that, it was tacky and no longer fun. That's half a day of harmless silliness. An excuse to laugh, a designated time to let everyone--kids and adults alike--play the fool and make mischief.

In a time when we are all deeply afraid, when we feel disconnected from our communities and humanity itself, when we feel hopeless and angry, now more than ever we need harmless, silly foolishness. We need to laugh, feel good, and remember we belong. 6/

April Fools thread! 

Today, don't go on the internet and try to trick strangers with misinformation and tell them they're gullible--that's unkind. Instead, be foolish with the people you know and care about. Wear a silly costume and surprise someone with a song. Hide a lemon with a drawn-on smiley face under someone's pillow. Write a cipher that says "butts" and beg for help decoding it. Get creative if you are in quarantine and think of ways to make the people with you laugh. 7/

Maybe honor that delightful tradition and stick a good old paper fish on someone's back.

Stay safe, healthy, and happy out there, folks! :D

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