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1989 Fools: April Fools called off!

From woods@encar.ucar.edu Fri Mar 31 18:00:00 1989
From: woods@encar.ucar.edu (Greg Woods)
Subject: April Fools called off!
Date: 1 Apr 89 00:00:00 GMT
Followup-To: news.admin
Organization: Scientific Computing Division/NCAR, Boulder CO

It was announced today that the annual USENET April Fools Competition has
been called off. Officials for UGH, the USENET's Group for Humor, called off
the annual competition after they found that there was no USENET activity
that deserved parodying. This is the first time since the creation of USENET
that this event has been cancelled.

"Look at it from the point of view of a professional parodist," stated Greg
Woods, honorary chairman of UGH and the official Backbone Cabal
representative to the organization. "I think it's a symptom of the growth of
the net. Everyone takes everything much too seriously these days. You can't
poke fun at someone who has no sense of humor. USENET itself has lost that
sense of fun that it used to have back in the good old days."

Woods, a tall, balding man with a cherubic face continued "Look at the
last year, and what parody candidates do you see? Brad Templeton and
rec.humor.funny. A natural, right? Except the situation went out of
control and now we have a free speech/censorship hassle. It's not funny
when it's on the front page of the Boston Globe. JEDR would be a natural for
a parody, but I refuse to take advantage of a man without the ability to
understand the joke, much less appreciate it. Besides, he'd probably sue me
for being abusive to nerds or something. So he's out.

"I like a good joke with the rest of them. Ask anyone -- my sense of
humor is legendary on USENET. I always get asked to do the opening
monologue at the Usenix BOF. Last year, a group of people got together
and wanted to do a roast at Usenix for me, but for some reason it never
happened. I spent two hours in the conference room and nobody showed.
Must have been the weather or something."

"Anyway, we looked really hard at Salman Rushdie. That should have been
a natural. There should be *dozens* of people making Iran jokes. Are
there? Not when you're worried about someone coming and killing your
dog. We thought long and hard about doing an Ayatollah piece, but I
value my life too much. I'd rather ask Mark Ethan Smith out for a date.
Or spend an evening with Weemba in a gay bar. Or spend an evening with
Weemba *anywhere*, for that matter.

"What's that leave us? The Backbone Cabal announced its retirement.
What happened? Nothing. How do you parody silence? It shows how useful
the Backbone really was, but it's not parody material.  MES?  The
Brahm's Gang? Tim Maroney? There is no challenge in parodying what is a
parody to begin with. Chuq didn't even once announce the impending
death of the net!  He did go to work for Apple, but it's hard to tell
whether that means we should make fun of him or of Sun. Spafford's at
Purdue now, but making fun of *that* is like throwing a bucket of water
on a drowning man.

"We were getting really desperate! We even thought about cross-posting
a "Car for Sale" ad between nj.wanted and news.announce.important, but
we decided nobody would notice.  So we finally just called it all off.

"Face it. USENET just isn't fun any more. How can you parody something that
won't get the joke? We talked about this during the Backbone Cabal BOF and
Orgy at Usenix, since we were worried even then, but nothing came of it."

In a related announcement, Woods announced the first USENET Computer
Network Parody Annual.  "Rather than repeat them on the net, (or waste
$10 posting a message asking, 'does anybody have...') you can get these
jokes in book form.  The 1988 Annual has around 800 parodies, and costs
$9.95 + S/H. (USD) Send mail to parodybook@looking.UUCP for details on
how to order."

This message is copyright The USENET Community Trust. If you read this
message, you are in violation of our copyright and owe us a royalty. You can
absolve this violation in one of two ways: buy our book or send $2.95 to 
the "USENET Defense Fund, C/O Rick Adams, Box 13459-27A, Honolulu, Hawaii,

You can copy and distribute this in whole or in part in electronic
form, as long as you don't try to read it, or pretend that you are the
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