Tuesday, April 1, 2008

An atypical genesis

April Fools' Day - like Arnold Schwarzenegger, democracy, and basically all good things - is a thoroughly American construct without any foreign influence whatsoever. But how many know the true history of this august April holiday? After today, my friend, you will know, and you can spread your newfound knowledge like the first tender shoots of a modern bubonic plague. Because knowledge is power: raw, unbridled, megalomaniacal power. Join us, won't you, as we journey down...

The Severely Abridged History of April Fools' Day

The very first April Fools' Day was actually April 18, 1775, when Paul Revere made his now-legendary midnight ride to "warn" his fellow colonists of the supposedly impending invasion. "The British are coming! The British are coming!" he cried, hiding his snickers under a thick glove. Upon realizing the prank, the other Sons of Liberty were so angry that they rebelled against England anyway, "just to show him." The poor British soldiers never saw it coming.

It was Samuel Adams who, staggering out of a pub, first hit on the notion of turning Revere's ride into a national holiday; he claims not to remember this, but John Hancock notes this was "par for the course" for Adams. In subsequent years the date was changed to April 1, as most colonists could not count past nine (that being the average number of fingers at the time).

From there the idea spread like musketfire, and each year the jokes got more elaborate:

April 1803: Napoleon Bonaparte jokingly offered the western half of North America to Thomas Jefferson for two nickels and a Cracker Jack. Jefferson failed to get the joke. To commemorate the event, Jefferson demanded all future nickels be remade in his own image.

April 1887: Susanna M. Salter was elected the USA's first female mayor, of Argonia, Kansas. A woman in a political role? LOLZ

April 1, 1981: The Council of Ministers first introduced Daylight Savings Time to the USSR. This led to widespread protests when Russians discovered there was, in fact, no daylight to save.

Only three? Well, yeah. I told you it was severely abridged. There have of course been others.

So now you know. See, this is good - American citizens getting informed and learning history that is completely true and in no way made up, at all. An informed electorate, a proud and semi-literate electorate: this is the electorate that will put Paul Burns in office! Be proud of your April Fools' legacy! Remember, folks: when in doubt, Wikipedia has the answer. Always.

Now get out there and make somebody laugh.


Susanna Madora Salter said...

It was a highly successful mayorriage.

Anonymous said...

I think this site is an April Fool's joke....

Brian Buckley said...

The whole site an April Fools' joke?

An awful lot of work for just one day, wouldn't you think?