Why Do We Need April Fools’ Jokes Anyway?

As I have commented before, I am not fond of April Fool’s jokes for a variety of reasons [1].  For one, I happen to be one of those people who happens to believe that the year should start at this time of the year in order to match the biblical lunar-solar calendar, which means I am among those people who are being made fun of, at least implicitly, by April Fool’s jokes to begin with.  Like most people, I tend not to be fond of being made fun of, despite my large amount of experience in having to deal with it.  For another, I don’t think we need a day where what someone says is going to be unreliable and subject to scrutiny and disbelief because they are simply trying to put one over on us.  Being a person who is somewhat predisposed to being cynical and skeptical in the best of circumstances, I especially dislike the encouragement of people in trying to test the credulity of other people and in delighting in making others look foolish by gulling them and deceiving them.  There is enough deception in this world without our needing to encourage it as fun.

At times, it is difficult to separate real news from what is obvious trolling, which is an ambiguity that is not a good thing.  For example, this morning I received an e-mail from a group of people I frequently critique for their unrealistic and antithetical views about urbanization, who celebrated a new initiative by New York City (a place whose initiatives should rarely, if ever, be celebrated) to charge a tax on drivers in New York City as part of a congestion pricing effort to increase the bloat of their already excessive taxation.  The thought is that some cities will try to repeat this in order to scare up some more money to pay for supposedly overly expensive transportation networks that are not nearly extensive enough as it is.  Driving in a city or suburbs is already torment enough without having to pay people who have already shown their incompetence in handling transportation and who worship before the false god of density to save them from their own inability to effectively govern their cities and maintain fiscal responsibility.

But no, this is not an April Fool’s Joke.  It may be a funny joke to (briefly) review the hit song “Baby Shark,” which is inexplicably popular on the music charts, but also a serious phenomenon that shows a good chance of making the year-end hot 100 hits, or to pretend that Dua Lipa has noticed you (if we could only be that lucky), but news stories about New York attempting to shake down its drivers for additional taxation like rapacious highwaymen is news and not humor.  There might be some people who would see stories about this and, because of what day it is on the calendar, would automatically discount the news as being obviously ridiculous and not realizing that people who are in charge of cities are actually that ridiculous in that they feel the need to punish those who are unfortunate enough to live and work and travel there.  In the future, I will find likely find more reasons than I already have to simply avoid that pestilential city in the course of my own driving, since there is no need to pay taxes to a city like New York City simply for desiring to drive through it.  There is nothing worth seeing that is worth having me pay taxes for driving there anyway.

Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to note that the fact that so many people (and even news outfits) have a great love of April Fools’ jokes means that one has to go through an additional level of thinking or research in order to determine if a story is legitimate.  One cannot simply dismiss something that comes on the news on April 1st, or simply accept it.  One has to instead figure out whether the given source is one that is inclined to levity or is generally serious, and see if the news matches that which has been reported earlier than April Fool’s, as is the case with New York City’s congestive pricing debacle.  And all too often, even if one can verify that a given story is accurate, it is one that one would wish was an April Fool’s joke so that one does not have to think that badly of those who are in charge of America’s largest city, who believe that their incompetence can be saved simply through increasing their revenue by squeezing the unfortunate people who are stuck having to travel in the city and who really deserve to live in a better place anyway.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/04/02/id-rather-be-an-april-fool/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/02/a-little-folly/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/19/book-review-rivets-of-the-warsaw-pact/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/04/03/esperanto-and-the-eus-unusual-revenge/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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4 Responses to Why Do We Need April Fools’ Jokes Anyway?

  1. Catharine Martin says:

    So many people in NYC don’t even own cars because of the awful congestion as well as the scarcity and exorbitant cost of parking. It’s ridiculous! It is far cheaper to take a taxi or ride the subway (depending on where you are going.) I’ve heard many people who live there say that they didn’t have driver’s licenses and didn’t even know how to drive. They never had to learn. They simply took a taxi to wherever they needed to go. I’m not sure that this tax will amount to much. People will probably end up selling their vehicles and save money by doing so.

    I totally agree that it is a stupid idea. It won’t garner any real income. What it will tax is the NYC residents’ tempers even more than they already are. A resounding Bronx cheer for this proposal!

    • Yes, I agree that this tax will probably not amount to very much considering the way that taxis and subways account for so much of NYC’s travel, but the concern is that the example will spread to other cities who are hungry for revenue, no matter how dodgy the means of getting it are.

  2. Catharine Martin says:

    Yes, that is a definite danger. The various government entities already tax gas up the wazoo and a proposal to tax drivers would definitely send motorists over the edge. I see cities with high congestion, such as Atlanta, Boston, Houston, LA, Chicago, and the like, licking their chops. It’s not a good sign.

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