That inveterate joker Mark Levin is at it again. This time, he’s pretending it’s somehow fascistic to exercise legally defined oversight with the intent of holding a leader accountable for their actions and statements. But, Constitutional scholar that he is, he knows he’s just messing with people and fully expects to reveal on April 1st that he’s been pulling everyone’s leg for the last few years.
Surely there could be no other explanation.
I imagine he might also demonstrate his comprehensive knowledge of everything in the world by re-releasing some classic April Fool’s pranks. Of course, being an utter scamp, he’d slip three new ones in among the seven which were successfully perpetrated upon the gullible.
Can you, without hunting on the internet, figure out which seven actually happened on or around April 1st and which three are only “Trump true”?
- In 1992, news broke on NPR that President Nixon, having not served enough of his second term to preclude his return to the White House, would be challenging George Bush in the Republican Primary. Nixon explained during his interview that his campaign slogan was “I didn’t do anything wrong and I won’t do it again.” It was later revealed that the actual interviewee was Rich Little, performing his Nixon impersonation.
- In 1967, Simon & Schuster sent a press release announcing the follow-up to the best-selling A Spaniard in the Works by John Lennon, to be called The Beatles’ Bible. The hoax, inspired by the “more popular than Jesus” controversy of the prior year, was revealed less than two hours after the initial statement due to threats from Lennon to pull all existing and future writings from the publisher.
- In 1949, a New Zealand radio reporter announced the existence of a wasp swarm that measured a full mile in width, and that it was rapidly approaching Auckland. Residents were instructed to take precautions including tucking their pants into their socks and placing strips of honey-soaked paper outside windows and doors. Hundreds of people did as the trusted broadcaster instructed. After the joke was revealed, he was denounced in the national Parliament and summarily fired from his job.
- In January of 1708, a London astrologer named Isaac Bickerstaff published an almanac of predictions; one of them was the death of famed fellow astrologer John Partridge. On March 30, Bickerstaff released a self-congratulatory follow-up pamphlet reminding people of his prediction, after Partridge’s death. Partridge, however, was still alive and spent most of April 1 – and subsequent weeks – assuring people he wasn’t dead. Bickerstaff was later revealed to be satirist Jonathan Swift, operating under a pseudonym.
- In 1979, Time magazine released an April 1 issue with a previously-unpublished Norman Rockwell cover which had been discovered among the deceased artist’s effects. It had been one of his “April Fools” covers for the Saturday Evening Post, wherein readers were encouraged to find “mistakes and incongruities”. The 47th announced mistake was impossible to find, however, unless one guessed that the image was not painted by Rockwell but rather young artist James Gurney (later famed for the children’s illustrations of Dinotopia).
- In 1999, shoe maker Nike announced it was parting ways with basketball legend Michael Jordan, then a major shareholder in the company, due to financial obligations and that they were instead going to be manufacturing “Air Rodmans”. When rival Adidas was exposed as the company who sent the fake story to the press, Nike didn’t treat it as a joke; they filed a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission.
- In 1989, a U.F.O. was reported as touching down in Surrey, England. British police were dispatched to the site, where they discovered a glowing flying saucer in the field. As they approached, a door opened in the bottom of the saucer and a small alien in a silver spacesuit emerged. The police fled – only to later discover that the small alien was a midget, and the UFO was a hot air balloon which had been specially designed by the perpetrator, Virgin Records chairman Richard Branson.
- In 1992, travelers descending into Los Angeles Airport were greeted by an 85-foot banner reading “Welcome to Chicago”. The sign was mounted above the Hollywood Park race track, and caused consternation to some of the flying public who weren’t in on the joke. The sign remained up for two days before being removed by race track officials.
- In 2009, Google debuted Gmail Autopilot, a feature that promised to read and reply to any e-mail a particular address might receive. The announcement suggested that the Autopilot would believably imitate a person’s writing style, to include common spelling and grammar errors; more, that two accounts with Autopilot would be able to hold a realistic conversation with each other. This no longer seems like a joke….
- In 1998, wealthy pop artist Jeff Koons hosted a party for the new book by author William Boyd. The book was a biography of famed American expressionist Nat Tate, who destroyed all of his unsold work in 1960 before committing suicide by jumping off the Staten Island Ferry. David Bowie read passages from the book to the crowd of art experts. While Bowie, Boyd, and Boyd’s publisher knew it was a hoax – Nat Tate never existed – nobody in the crowd had been informed, nor was Koons. The appreciation went unchallenged until after the trick was revealed.
Three of those are less real than the other seven… only Mark Levin knows which ones. That’s because Mark knows everything.
UPDATE: The fake hoaxes (is that even a thing? I suppose it is.) are #2, #5, and #6. The New Zealand wasp swarm remains one of the most famous hoaxes in Australia and its nearby island nations. Jonathan Swift’s creation of Isaac Bickerstaff supposedly inspired Benjamin Franklin to write Poor Richard’s Almanack. And Richard Branson has a wicked sense of humor.