Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Stretch Sarkozy? A Bisexual 007? Jungle Penguins? April Fools

Believe everything in the news, even in this age of spinmeisters ? Oops. You may have been stung by these seasonal spoofs, reported by Agence France Presse.

Media around the world regaled their audiences with stories of stretched French presidents and bisexual James Bonds on Tuesday, proving the tradition of April Fool's jokes was alive and kicking.

Britain's Daily Telegraph printed pictures of penguins apparently flying to the Amazon, while many papers ran a spoof story saying luxury carmaker BMW had invented a model that electrocuted dogs which tried to relieve themselves against its wheels.

Australian radio station 2UE marked April 1 by reporting that the pope would conduct a special mass for homosexuals during his visit Down Under in July.

The British press combined jokes with a little French-bashing -- light-heartedly ignoring pleas for closer cross-Channel cooperation from President Nicolas Sarkozy during his state visit last week.

The president's diminutive stature was the butt of an April Fool in the Sun tabloid.

Under the headline "Docs to Stretch Sarkozy," it said the president -- who wore built-up heels, in contrast to his ex-model wife Carla's flat shoes, in London -- "is to have pioneering stretch surgery in a bid to make him taller."

"The patient is stretched on a traction bed for several hours and calcium supplements are injected in the bone shafts near the joints," it quoted French government spokesman "Luc Bigger" as saying.

The Sun even provided photos and a "How it Works" graphic showing a man on a torture-style bed.

Playing on France's reputation for sophistication, the Guardian reported that Prime Minister Gordon Brown had enlisted Carla Bruni-Sarkozy to give Britons lessons on style.

"Continental good taste and sophistication should be a birthright for all, says PM," headlined the left-leaning daily, getting in a satirical dig at Brown's regular promises of ever-greater rights for everyone.

There were also plans to encourage British parents "to serve small volumes of red wine with meals to children as young as seven or eight," it said, in a piece bylined Avril de Poisson -- a play on the French for April Fool.

Other British newspapers got in on the act -- the tabloid Daily Star said rugged James Bond star Daniel Craig wanted 007 to "swing both ways", while the Daily Express said one of London's best-known monuments, Big Ben, was using a digital clock while its traditional timepiece was repaired.

The Telegraph meanwhile said Adele penguins had amazed documentary makers "by taking to the air and flying to warmer climes when the weather closed in."

In France, the national football team's coach Raymond Domenech gave fans a fright by saying in a video blog that his team had decided to give the Euro 2008 championships a miss.

"We have given this a lot of thought, and it was tough because it's been a busy season for the players -- but what's the point of taking a French team to the Euro if it's not competitive?" Domenech asked.

"The best is just to say 'We're not going'. We've let FIFA know already. I prefer to prepare quietly for the (2010) World Cup," he quipped.

And French sports daily L'Equipe ran a full-page spoof advertisement by carmaker Citroen introducing a "Universal Steering Wheel" -- capable of switching from left- to right-hand driving positions at the touch of a button.

The ad quoted a "secret" report showing that drivers from Britain and continental Europe had trouble when forced to drive on the "wrong" side of the road.

But the British weekly New Scientist took a new tack on the tradition by publishing stories on its website that seemed so bizarre that they could only be April Fools, but were in fact genuine.

One was a study by pair of Italian physicists who came up with a quantum explanation for poltergeists -- the ghostly phenomenon whereby objects fly around the room, apparently of their own accord. Another was about how surgery could transform your arms into wings.

"They are April Fools that aren't," the magazine told AFP, as comments piled up on its website from baffled and occasionally irritated readers.

Also, check out the LA Times foolery posing as a "Newy new new shiny wiki wow Main Page Bunkwiki for a few chuckles. Click here

No comments: