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April Fools

Our interview pulls the wool over a few eyes.

By Steve Biodrowski     April 09, 2000

Well, our little April Fools joke a week ago managed to deceive at least a few people. On April 1, supposedly to tie in with the video release of Star Wars, Episode One: The Phantom Menace, we ran an 'interview' with George Lucas that consisted mostly of paragraph long questions and simple one-word or one-sentence answers. (In reality, these answers were paraphrases of actual quotes from legitimate interviews.)

There were at least a couple clues to the bogus nature of the article. The interviewer's name was given as Zed R. Nemo (Latin for 'no one'), and a brief biographical description at the end of the text indicated that Nemo's ancestor had been a captain of a submarine (cf., 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea); also, he was described as a graduate of the Miskatonic University School of Journalism (a reference to the fictional university that appears in many stories by H.P. Lovecraft). Additionally, at the bottom of the article was a link to an editorial entitled 'Happy April Fools Day!' which included references to similar pranks played by the media (such as last year's article in Los Angeles' New Times claiming that the home run race between Mark McGuire and Samo Sosa was a fix). Finally, on the front page of Fandom that day, a poll ran asking browsers to vote on their favorite April Fools prank; the last choice was 'perpetrating a hoax, like posting a phony interview on the Internet.'

Since this turned out to be the poll's winning choice, with 40% of the vote, we assume that most people got the joke, but it wouldn't really be a good gag if nobody at all fell for it. Therefore, we were glad, in a weird kind of way, when we got irate letters from our browsers (names will be omitted to protect the innocent). One browser wrote to tell us, 'I guarantee you ain't gettin' George back after that amateurish waste of space posing as questions. Come on guys that was an opportunity!' After being told to check out our editorial describing similar pranks, this browser realized it was all a joke, and wrote back: 'FAAAAAAAANNNNNNNTTTASTIC! Very cool. Thanks.'

Another browser figured out from the start that the interview was not genuine (probably from recognizing that the alleged answers were culled from previous interviews); however, the humor eluded him, at least initially. He wrote, 'I really liked your 'fake' interview with George Lucas. NOT!! If you're going to post an interview with someone, at least have the interview first.' In response, we apologized for getting carried away with the April Fools Day spirit and quoted Bob Cratchet's plaintive statement to Ebenezer Scrooge: 'It's only once a year...' After hearing this, our once-irate browser decided the whole thing was pretty funny after all. He was nice enough to write back, 'Uhhh... Sure, I knew it was a joke....uhhh...I DID!! I DID!! Honest!'

We rather hate to admit it, but that might actually be funnier than our original prank.


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