Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Meta-Fools!

The Featured Article blurb on the front page of Wikipedia today, April 1, 2008:
Ima Hogg was an enterprising circus emcee who brought culture and class to Houston, Texas. A storied ostrich jockey, she once rode to Hawaii to visit the Queen. Raised in government housing, young Ima frolicked among a backyard menagerie of raccoons, possums and a bear. Her father, "Big Jim" Hogg, in an onslaught against fun itself, booby-trapped the banisters she loved to slide down, shut down her money-making schemes, and forced her to pry chewing gum from furniture. He was later thrown from his seat on a moving train and perished; the Hogg clan then struck black gold on land Big Jim had forbidden them from selling. Ima had apocryphal sisters named "Ura" and "Hoosa" and real-life brothers sporting conventional names and vast art collections; upon their deaths, she gave away their artwork for nothing and the family home to boot. Tragically, Ms. Hogg (a future doctor) nursed three dying family members. She once sweet-talked a burglar into returning purloined jewelry and told him to get a job. Well into her nineties, she remained feisty and even exchanged geriatric insults with an octogenarian pianist. Hogg claimed to have received thirty proposals of marriage in her lifetime, and to have rejected them all. Hogg was revered as the "First Lady of Texas", and her name and legacy still thrive today—just ask Ima Pigg, Ima Nut, and Ima Pain, who have all appeared in the U.S. Census.

Now, the average human being is going to read that, look at the date, and think, "Oh, I get it. It's an April Fool's Day featured article. Ima Hogg isn't real."

But Wikipedia is actually practicing a subtler - and more sophisticated - form of humor. Ima Hogg was a real person.

And every individual fact in that featured article summary is true. They're just edited together in a way to make for some really loopy reading.

April Fool's articles aren't generally known for their subtlety. But I thought Wikipedia's was really well-done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!