Saturday, March 31, 2018


The poor fish faces extinction. Since the sixteenth century, the Poisson d’Avril has been associated with tomfoolery on the 1st of April. Before King Charles XIV switched France to the new Gregorian calendar, the New Year was celebrated from 25 March to 1 April according to the Roman calendar. Those who hadn’t heard about the move or who chose to still celebrate the New Year on April 1st were made fun of as ‘fools’. Children play an April Fools’ Day trick by placing a paper fish on adults’ backs then running away yelling Poisson d'Avril.

Such innocence!

There have been audaciously absurd japes that have gone down in history and even inspired re-enactment.

from Wiki
“The spaghetti-tree hoax was a three-minute report broadcast on April Fools' Day 1957 by the BBC current-affairs programme Panorama, purportedly showing a family in southern Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from the family ‘spaghetti tree’. At the time spaghetti was relatively little known in the United Kingdom so that many Britons were unaware that it is made from wheat flour and water. A number of viewers afterwards contacted the BBC for advice on growing their own spaghetti trees. Decades later CNN called this broadcast ‘the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled’.”

But today the ‘news establishment’ cannot be called universally ‘reputable. With Herr Drumpf across the pond and Brexit the preoccupation in Britain, what may appear in 2018 to be a trenchant jest can turn out to be a grim reality, especially when Rees-Mogg or Boris are involved. Of course, neither man can be called an ardent Francophile, so I guess the Poisson was doomed.

Fish ‘n’ chips anyone?

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