Monday, April 02, 2007

An April Fool's Joke Backfires

Clearly an explanation is in order.

It is with great embarrassment and humility that I offer my sincerest apologies for yesterday's April Fool's joke, which went horribly awry. I had no idea that so many people would be taken in by it and I regret playing a joke that in retrospect was not the least bit funny. I have deleted that post and all of its comments and have asked the blogs that referred to it to take own their posts as well. I hope that by the time you read this it will also have been flushed from the cache of Google and Bloglines so that I can put this whole ugly episode behind me. I would also appreciate it if no one makes any references to the substance of the post in the comments to this one or I may be forced to delete those comments as well.

I do want to say a few words about yesterday's regrettable lapse in judgment without getting into too much detail. I wish to extend my sincerest apologies to the couple who contacted me through their attorneys. I chose your name at random and am very sorry (and surprised) that people took the trouble to look you up and make harassing telephone calls. I really thought people had better things to do with their time. I hope that what I have done to make amends is satisfactory to you. I was also surprised that so many people readily believed the patently absurd actions I jokingly attributed to Atrios. While I disagreed with his Blogroll Amnesty Day and I am not particularly delighted by such pieces as "Why Your Blog Sucks," he is certainly not as bad as all that and I am shocked that so many people would be ready to believe the worst about him. I hope he will accept my apology, though I guess I can give up all hope that he will ever link to me now.

I believe this is the first time I have written something that caused so many people to miss my intentions completely. I really did expect that more people would get the joke, though I must admit I should have given more clues that it was a joke so that readers would not have been so easily confused. I certainly will not let that happen again. In the future when I am being sarcastic I will link to this helpful post by Patterico so there is no risk of confusion. I do not want to shirk responsibility for this incident but I do want to caution people to be a little more careful about what they read on the Internet and not immediately jump to conclusions and accept everything they read at face value.

While I am disappointed in myself for this (rare, I hope) misfire, I must say I was not impressed with the level of discourse in the comments (with few exceptions), which is why I just deleted all of them. There are many occasions when I come upon a blog that I think needs its mouth washed out with soap and I don't plan to make this blog one of them. I was especially disappointed in the comments of Anonymous, who usually has more interesting things to say and uses much less colorful and repetitive language. I can't believe that I need to say this, but as disappointing as my piece may have been, death threats were not an appropriate response. In fact, death threats are never an appropriate response to anything. Do they not teach this in schools?

Some of you were also quite critical of the image that accompanied my unfortunate piece. I thought it was obviously the work of Photoshop, especially since the smoke, which I had some trouble with, was clearly not very realistic, but many of you seem to have been fooled. A number of people also saw something quite lewd in the photograph that I certainly did not intend and am embarrassed even to think about. All that I can say to those who could see something so obscene in something so innocent is that you should get your minds out of the gutter and perhaps get out a little more. I was also surprised that no one questioned a photo that so clearly defied the laws of physics. While evolution and global warming are clearly hoaxes, no one has disproved the laws of physics as far as I know. Although gravity is still only a theory, it is not one that has been refuted yet. And to all the animal rights activists who wrote me, using epithets that would not even be appropriate for a barnyard, I reiterate that no pets were harmed while making this image. As far as I know Photoshop is not harmful to animals, except perhaps to those animals capable of feeling embarrassment. To those species I once again apologize.

I have worked very hard to achieve a reputation for sincerity, honesty and trustworthiness and I hope this little attempt at an April Fool's prank that backfired does not permanently besmirch my name. I hope that my readers will forgive me and not judge me too harshly for this misstep and I promise in return that nothing like this will ever happen again. I pledge that this modest blog will once again return to its serious mission to enlighten and inform and will leave the practical jokes and sophomoric humor behind. On that you have my word.

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Anonymous said...

I'm glad you've come to your senses. I'd planned to take you out of my technorati favorites and never visit your site again. I only opened your page this morning because I was in a haze and had not yet had my morning coffee. Fortunately, you've seen the error of your ways, so I'll be giving you another chance. I don't know if others will be as forgiving as me though, so don't be surprised if you see a big dip in your traffic.

OutOfContext said...

I don't acknowledge April Fool's Day ever since I found out it is a French holiday . I prefer the more straightforward American holidays like Easter and St. Patrick's Day. Be patriotic, ignore the deceitful, intellectually smug, franco-holiday April Fool's Day.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that I'm actually going to comment on this post, especially since I rarely comment, but I am now wildly curious about this April 1st post.

I can't believe that it was that bad. I know I don't come to your site every day, especially since you don't update it every day, which I am now heartily regretting.

Can you perhaps put it somewhere and post a link to it so that people like me who missed this post get to read it?

Or, is this another of your satirical posts and I'm being gulliable?

jurassicpork said...

ha t: I'm beginning to wonder if Mr. Pope's friend actually did write an April Fool's post. Hmmm... No paper trail if he did delete it. Apparently, Mr. Swifty is a proud graduate of the Diebold School of blogging.

Anonymous said...

I am very disappointed that you took down your April Fool's day post. It was brilliant. Some people just can't take a joke. Your post about Atrios had me falling off my chair. Apparently I was one of the few who got a chance to read it before the humorless blog trolls attacked. What a shame that such humor can be censored. You should not have succumbed to your native decency. They don't deserve your gentlemanly behavior.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that you made mention of my comments as being especially disappointing. That was so embarrassing! What will my friends and family think?

You are a ##@!!ing &##!#!. If you single me out again, I will have to kill you.

Anonymous said...

I hope that this will be a lesson to you. I, of course, was never taken in by your childish human attempt at humour, seeing the obvious implausibility of an army of super-intelligent chimpanzees. But of course, anyone not familiar with the obvious mental deficits inherent in Chimps, and their patent unruliness might be fooled.

It appears, however, that you were a victim of your own prank, as you appear to have blown up and superimposed a copyright watermark embedded in photoshop's software onto your image. I have no idea, however, how you could have failed to notice the very obvious image of Jenna Jameson in her black DP cumshot scene from Cleave my Beaver. Because of public domain issues, stills from this piece of performance art are frequently used as watermarks.

Let this be a lesson to you. Humour is no funny.

Yours truly

G. Grodd, Esquire
Gorilla City, Africa

mw said...

I told myself I would never visit your blog again, but decided to confirm my decision and take one last look. I am glad I did. You are doing the right thing.

Allright, I'll admit that I might have missed the joke and over-reacted by deleting you from my blog-roll. You are restored now. But it will be a while before I visit as often as I did in the past. You understand I am sure.

While the blogroll deletion was an over-reaction, reporting and copying your piece to to PETA, the SPCA, and EARTH FIRST! certainly was not. Please understand Jon, that not all of your readers work for Reuters, and/or are sophisticated technologists, and can distinguished between what is real and what has emerged from your fevered photoshopped imagination.

While your apology is appreciated, I cannot let this disingenuous (at best) or blatant falsehood (more likely) slip by:

"All that I can say to those who could see something so obscene in something so innocent is that you should get your minds out of the gutter and perhaps get out a little more."

You know as well I do what was in that image. Normally I find myself neither titilated nor offended by pornographic imagery. In the case of this image my reaction was immediate and intense. My wife walked in while I was looking at the screen and engaged in - well nevermind - that is not important. What is important is that you took our call and I was, with your help, able to convince my wife that I am not a pervert and not seeking out images like the one you displayed, but simply happened on it accidently. We will need to go to some counseling, but I am confident we will be able to work things out.

Finally, I think it is a bit of a over reaction on your part, to characterize our admittedly energetic conversation as including a "death threat". To fail to distinguish between what was actually said and a "death threat", is as silly an failing to distinguish between "water boarding" and "torture".

Anyway its over. The financial compensation you offered is not adequate to compensate for the psychological damage we suffered, but we have accepted in the interest of putting this behind us, so we can all get on with our live.

Stick to satire Jon.

Manila Ryce said...

Damn, I missed out. I'm with Jurassicpork on this one. How do we know this isn't the real April Fools post? It's damn clever of you to post it a day late while faking comments about a nonexistent story.

Well, whatever this phantom hoax was I'm sure it wasn't as bad as some of the other fake stories I've seen on conservative blogs, such as, "Bush's Latin America Tour was a Success" or "The Troop Surge is Working".

In keeping with tradition, I will end this post in an angry tone.

I hope you crash into a ditch, become paralyzed, and are slowly eaten alive by a goat. Good day.

Dave Latchaw said...

What I can't figure out is how you were able to cross-post this calumny at the prestigious Drudge Report. Fortunately, Mr. Drudge has deleted it as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. How can you call yourself a conservative and apologize for something you did wrong?

Conservatives never apologize! Attack critics, yes, but never apologize.

Or is this whole post just a Day-After-April-Fool's joke?

booza said...

I saw the post before it was deleted, and while I admit that it was in breathtakingly poor taste, I am hip enough to get that it was a joke (although a lame one).

You did kind of have a point about the Attorney General and the bathtub, though.

Kel said...

As my blog took part in the scam about Bush being impeached, I know how you must be feeling Jon.

However, no matter how much we all like a laugh and a merry jape there is a limit to what is acceptable. I accept your apology, though in truth I might be saying that because the meds I took after reading your column are still in my system.

Did it ever occur to you that April Fools Day was on a Sunday this year? That's I think why the accompanying photograph caused so much offense. I can honestly say that I will never eat a carrot again. Nor did I even imagine one could be used for such a horrendous purpose.

Oh, and the look of horror on the face of sweet little Barney is one that I will take to my grave.

Anonymous said...

I think this is an important first step. Bloggers need to have some sense of when they've crossed the line and I believe Mr. Swift is making an honest effort at doing so.

The few of us having seen even the barest glimpses of Mr. Swift's so called "joke" have an understanding of the task he has taken upon himself. Clearly, his only hope for survival lies in confronting the beast within. A beast of such vile, psychopathic, repugnance as to freeze the heart of Satan himself.

I wish you luck, Jon Swift.

James Higham said...

Well, Jon, you've certainly stirred the interest now. Apart from making a second error - global warming is a hoax, which it quite clearly isn't, you got one right with evolution being a hoax.

As to the whole biz you find yourself in, this has to be Focussed on tomorrow evening. Fascinating post, as I missed the deleted one unfortunately.

You mention litigation. Is there a lot of that over your way then?

Jaesoreal said...

C'mon, you gotta give me a hint! What could it have been???

Anonymous said...

What was the joke? I'm going to do it next year. It's sounds like a classic!

SamuelAlito said...

I came here on an oddball trip from somewhere else, so I have absolutely no idea what happened on this site on April 1. That being said, the apology, read without context, is a terrific, Monty-Pythonesque routine. I am seventy-percent sure that there was no post on April Fools, and that this post itself is the joke. If so, hooray. Hooray indeed. If not, you certainly made up for whatever physics-defying, photoshop-smoked calumny made those two people contact you through an attorney (and no, I don't want to know what it was).

Thank you

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