Happy April Fool’s Day! Enjoy the marketing geniuses who fall all over themselves in hopes of getting clicks and traffic so they can high-five each other across the office.

I’m not participating, obviously.

The reason I’m not participating is that I don’t think there’s any safety in online humor in the current climate. We live in a world where things have to clearly proclaim “[SATIRE]” in their titles so search engines don’t penalize them. Online pearl-clutchers will demand their fainting couches so that they can focus on tweeting their outrage before passing out that anyone would dare say such a thing!

April Fool’s Day can be a lot of fun. But it’s far too risky to trot out my original idea, which was a post titled “I’m Done with Star Wars” that would spend a solid 800 words with vagaries and non-statements that would then end with the statement, “By the way, this is a joke.”

Jonathan Swift Would Be Ratio’d and Hate-Mobbed

I’m not convinced that the majority of people, especially online, are tuned in to that sort of humor anymore. People have formed their opinion by the end of the headline. They read two paragraphs so they can sound informed when discussing things afterward.

Worse is the trend to read nothing more than selected screenshots of a paragraph taken out of context and not accounting for tone. There’s no benefit of the doubt, because there’s no doubt that what they’re reading is in the spirit they’re taking it, and not the one intended.

Farewell to true satire. It used to be biting, occasionally vicious, but always thought-provoking. Now it’s practically non-existent.

The end result is we’re left with stultifying, lame jokes from corporations designed to build our trust in them by making us say, “Ha ha, they like funny things like me!” A few will get shared, some will get judged harshly, but their biggest accomplishment will be to prove, more than ever, that we’ve all become sticks in the mud to be led around by our purchasing desires and brand identity.

Sure, this all sounds cranky, and I guess it is. This is also one of the shorter posts I’ve written recently. We’re hitting a lot of important benchmarks here.

Anyway, have a great April Fools Day.

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