Today is April Fools Day.
So, to all those who take that sort of thing serious, Happy April Fools Day!
To everyone else, I have another message.
Let’s end this bullshit excuse for a holiday.
Yes, I understand there’s a history behind it. And yes, I understand that there’s a time and a place for a good prank. I have a sense of humor. I love to laugh as much as anyone else. But April Fools Day, as a holiday and a concept, just doesn’t work anymore.
This sentiment is fairly new for me. I didn’t used to have an opinion on April Fools Day. That has changed in the past few years and not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not because was the victim of a nasty prank or because I know anyone who gets way too into it. This is just a conclusion I’ve come to after living on this planet long enough and being on the internet long enough to understand the dangers of human stupidity.
If it sounds like bitter musings from someone who is getting older than he cares to admit, I promise that’s not an overriding factor here. There are plenty of idiots on this planet and you don’t have to look hard to find hilarious examples of their idiocy. They’re the entire reason why the Darwin Award exists. And they don’t restrict their antics to a single day.
Thanks to the internet, we can easily look up and follow the fools of this world and all their stupidity fueled mishaps whenever we want. In years past, that wasn’t as easy. And celebrating our foolish side made sense to some extent. Some people do need to remind themselves that there’s humor in this world and it’s okay to laugh at yourself.
But these are different times. This is an era in which mind-numbingly stupid individuals can use the internet to actually influence people. Between flat-Earthers and creationists, idiots and fools aren’t just documenting how stupid they are. They’re actively trying to entice people to join them in being idiots with them. And at a time when we’re so divided politically and socially that we can’t even agree on objective reality, that’s not just foolish. That’s dangerous.
We’ve seen what happens when large groups of idiots buy into a stupid lie. The internet and news cycles have made it frustratingly easy to spread those stupid lies. This kind of foolishness isn’t funny. It actually causes real damage, both to our political discourse and to actual people.
There’s still a time for jokes, pranks, and general foolishness. I’m all in favor of people not taking themselves too seriously. But we already have way too many people who fall for fake headlines from the Onion. We don’t need to celebrate that once a year.
Again, I wish those who take it seriously a very Happy April Fools Day.
But to everyone else, fuck April Fools Day.