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8:34am on Monday, 20th June, 2005:

Practical Jokes


I hate practical jokes. Hate 'em, hate 'em, hate 'em. I find them excruciating to watch, and not remotely funny. Their "humour" comes from acquiring people's trust then punishing them for it. I don't find betrayal of those who have done nothing to deserve it a laughing matter. Practical jokers are griefers in serious need of some personal esteem.

Thus, it was with some rejoicing that I heard the news that Tom Cruise had taken to task some TV pranksters who thought it might be funny to take advantage of the fact he gives impromptu interviews to squirt him in the face with water from a dummy microphone. The jolly japesters were arrested as a result; I don't suppose spending a few hours in police cells will cause them to reconsider their belief that it's hilarious to set up people who have done nothing to deserve it, but at least they get to suffer for their actions. Lucky for Tom they didn't put blue dye on the blue towel they gave him to dry off his face...

Practical jokes are a power thing. The prankster feels they have the right to break social norms in a way that if everyone did it would bring down society. Imagine a world where practical joking happened the whole time. You couldn't walk down the street without being suspicious of every person, every paving stone, every open window... It's so easy to play a practical joke that it takes a special kind of imbecile actually to do it.

Tom Cruise may be a mad cultist (gotta say that while I still can) and he may have only one front tooth, but other than that he seems a pretty decent kind of bloke. Squirting him with water for having the temerity to banter with his fans for a couple of hours is not funny. What's it supposed to do, stop him from talking to anyone with a microphone ever again in case it squirts water at them? Or were they hoping to catch him again next week and then crow that he hadn't learned his lesson?

Hate 'em, hate 'em, hate 'em...

Referenced by Space Cadets.

Referenced by One thing you know more about me.

Referenced by Elder's Moonstone.

Referenced by No Sense of Humour.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).