TOTW: Anarchists storm, occupy, helium factory
Why are anarchists so serious all the time? Where are the flash mobs, the parodies, the theatre? Pranks are fun to execute with friends and also a great way to fuck with the State.
Many are familiar with the Situationist concept of detournement, but what about when Crass spliced together audio from speeches given by Ronald Regan and Margaret Thatcher and released it anonymously and the tape was taken seriously by the government as legitimate soviet propaganda?
Jello Biafra ran for mayor of San Francisco with the slogan "There's always room for Jello." All he needed was 1500 signatures or $1500 to receive equal airtime as other candidates, which he spent thoroughly mocking the entire political process. He finished third out of tenth place.
Jello may have been inspired by the Yippies, who threw fistfuls of money from the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange. Imagine witnessing the traders, some of them booing, as others scrambled to grab as much as they could, clutching the notes in greedy fists.
Not only were these pranks hilarious, but they earned political, social, and media attention in a way that in their frame of history protected them from the negative legal ramifications.
Why don't we do more fun things? Must everything be so clinically serious and/or dangerously illegal? Is there room in the gray for cutting up and showing spoof to power?
Oscar Wilde is incorrectly quoted as saying, "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." Regardless of whether this was said or not, there is a point: sometimes you can say things in jest that you can't say seriously. It's not currently illegal to make audio projects that challenge the boundaries of free use and copyright law, or to run for political office as an art stunt, or to parody famous figures to highlight their absurdity. Stunts like these are fun, and they also capture the attention of broader audiences because they disrupt assumptions on all sides–they make people laugh, and then they make them think. Is there room for innovation in the vacuum of dry, serious, deliberation?
What are some of your favorite historically acknowledged pranks? Are there still opportunities for more? What fantasies might you unleash as pranks that seriously stick it to the State?