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On The Prank Review, with Juli Weiner: An Introduction

You know what? This is a passably funny, if caustic, story, but it falls short, somehow, of being a prank. A prank is something more than a mere lie, even a mere published lie. All the would-be pranksters did in this case is abuse the trust and low-grade incompetence of a local newspaper. A prank seems like it should have at least three qualities that this funny-sad story lacks:
1. an element of the deeply and rewardingly surreal, a beautiful unsettling of perception like the police car that MIT hackers famously parked on top of that university's monumental landmark dome.
2. an element of, as somebody said, afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted: a prank seems at best like a form of equalizer, the turning of a system of power against itself. In this case, it seems more like a case of the bored abusing the guileless.
3. an element in which the revelation of the prank--successively as an event, and as a revealed deception--is itself part of the intended drama or pleasure, rather than a restless and vexing extended anti-climax for both the pranked and pranking, as was the case here.

I think that those unfortunate enough to have their own real weddings published on that same page and issue were demeaned.

One measure of a prank, or at least of a skillful or thoughtful one, is a clear consciousness of, and deep care for the status and sensibility of subject, object, victim, witness, and especially innocent bystander. Bad job.

Posted on November 25, 2009 at 9:06 pm 0

On The Woodchipper, by Claude Vordell, Former Manager of the Applebee's in Bozeman, MT

this is a wise analysis.

Posted on November 21, 2009 at 7:52 pm 0

On Stop Being a Wuss: How To Make Pie Crusts the Easy Way

Wait, Choire, please discuss pie contents and fillings: what do you do to the apples or cherries or whatever before they go between the dough? And why is it impossible to discuss baking without thinking about that other thing. Seriously, though, crust aone doesn't make a pie: so more please. Thanks for the recipe; as other commenters have said, all recipes should be written like this.

Posted on November 21, 2009 at 7:44 pm 0

On The Woodchipper, by Claude Vordell, Former Manager of the Applebee's in Bozeman, MT

"no problem" or "not a problem": both are awful. so is the psuedo australian "no worries". the problem is that the phrase implies that had the request or service been somehow a problem, then the server wouldn't have done it. but it's your job, server, to do problematic things. that's why, in this little exchange of capital and commodity, you're the one getting paid and i'm the one paying. the phrase implies that the server is filtering between the problematic and non-problematic, and only deigning to do the latter. i thank you for doing something precisely because it is problematic: mildly annoying, tedious, repetitive, insistent ...everything that i know that service job to be from my own experience on that side of the cash register. maybe aanother "thank YOU" is a better response if "you're welcome" feels too archaic...

Posted on November 20, 2009 at 11:44 pm 0