Author Topic: X-Post from MaybeLogic  (Read 1008 times)

Cramulus

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X-Post from MaybeLogic
« on: March 19, 2008, 06:51:35 pm »
So in part to explain my absence over the last week or two, I'd like to talk about the pranks and projects that have been consuming most of my time. Here's the website upon which this stuff is housed.

Colbertgasm wrapped up in early March. It was a total success  - basically we flooded Stephen Colbert with snail mail supposedly from the Bavarian Illuminati, attempting to "recruit" him. In order to accepted our invitation, he was instructed to utter one of our memes on the air.

On March 2nd, he said "23 Skidoo" on his show. It made sense in context, but when he said it, he leaned in a bit and put quotes around it with his fingers. We believe that it was a secret coded message to us, as per our instructions. Possibly unrelated: A few days later (maybe it was a Friday?), he talked about flooding the President with mail inviting him to go eat Hot Dogs. A good laugh was had by all. To some extent, we hacked the media. Or maybe we just created another weird celebrity / subculture in-joke. Doesn't matter - it was fun.

I'm also working on EggGASM, which isn't so much a - prank - as an attmept to encourage people to hide plastic easter eggs with cool things in them. This is a form of street art, propaganda, or just a fun activity depending on your motivation for participation.


These are small scale things, but they're part an ongoing attempt to build a community of pranksters around this idea of OMGASM.

OMGASMs (Operation Mindfuck: Golden Apple Seed Missions) are a sort of "open source" prank network, a way to get people in the Lunatic Fringe to connect and share stupid ideas. Maybe even to participate in each other's projects.

We have a web structure set up in which ANYONE can post a prank, even to their own website. If they bookmark it properly (with this web application called del.icio.us) their prank and any media anyone creates for it will show up on our Mission Feed. This feed is automatically generated by tags from del.icio.us and flickr.com, and will show - at a glance - where you can find media related to a given prank. It makes it easy to centralize efforts which are taking place on multiple websites and in differing web communities.

The Colbertgasm prank is a good example of how this is supposed to work. On my own, I might have been able to send 20 or 30 letters. But it was much more powerful and effective to get dozens of people all over the country to play. Ratatosk wrote up the original article, I edited it and tagged it so it showed up on the feed. People wrote sample letters for others to print, and I hosted them on the wiki. In short, we made it really easy for people to participate, even if they just stumbled in from the web and had nothing to do with the community of lunatics which were pushing the idea.

The OMGASM structure could perhaps serve our ends, too. (our being this course) It is theoretically a way to tell lots of people that we need help with a prank. Those who are interested will participate. It is well suited for pranks which get better with increased participation, and pranks where the pranksters are geographically distant from one another.


My real challenge, however, is to get people involved in OMGASM. We've networked in a few web communities, but I won't consider OMGASM a success until people start hosting their own pranks on their without the motherly coaxing of the PrincipiaDiscordia.com community (the major co-conspirators of this project).

SO: If we set up a prank through the OMGASM network, and it seems fun to participate, we will probably get a handful of Discordians to tag along too.


One of the big discussions surrounding OMGASM is "Why should I, as a random person from the web, help you with your prank / cause / game?"  This question has caused me to explore the idea of setting up a prank for strangers to participate in. My thought on the matter is that when orchestrating a large prank, it must be "scaffolded" - that is, there should be a spectrum of reasons to play along. Some people prank "for the lulz", meaning they like to do it just because it's fun. Other people prank for a "Good Cause". A prank which gets a lot of participants is one which both supports a "Good Cause" and is fun to participate in, even if you don't care for the cause. That way we won't exclude each other if our motivations differ.


I'd like to propose that a letter-writing campaign may be one of the most parsimonious ways to get the class to unite in a prank. We would pick a target, and then all write to him or her. The best method is to approach from multiple angles - e-mail, snail mail, personal visits to his house, phone calls, et cetera. If we target someone with "media credibility", we have the opportunity for our effort to springboard to a more visible level.

Letter writing campaigns require little effort to participate. It only costs the participant 41 cents and a few minutes of his time. It's also one of the things that we can all do together despite our geographical separation. Here are some possible letter writing targets:



Target: Newspaper editors
Angle: Letters to the editor which argue multiple sides of a fictional cause.
Goal: get the newspaper to take our fictional cause seriously.


Target: Jack Chick (the guy who writes really out-there christian comics)
Angle: Letters warning him about a group or cause (like Discordia, Anonymous, or The Screenwriters Guild of America)
Goal: get him to write a tract defaming said group


Target: Newspaper editors
Angle: create a buzz surrounding a made-up drug. The more over-the-top, the better. Includes letters from concerned parents and youth groups. See also: Jenkem
Goal: create an actual reaction against a drug that no one does, or to get a common household product pulled from shelves due to its utility in concocting a drug.


Idea from Ratatosk: cause outrage at a fictional cult with bizarre practices... then, once everyone is denouncing it, expose the prank and point out that scientology practices the same things that the fictional cult practiced.


Target: Neighborhood watch groups, PTA, concerned citizens groups
Angle: Warn them about dangerous animals (like African Bees) that have wandered into their area due to climate change (Ahhh! Global warming!)
Goal: Have local groups spreading tips on protecting yourself from malaria (or whatever), or checking your boots for  scorpions, or some climate-inappropriate safety warning.



Target: Some celebrity
Angle: send fan mail thanking them for participating in some political or environmental cause
Goal: Have the target actually take up that cause, or at least publicly address it.


Target: A mayor, congressman, or lower-tier political figure.
Angle: Concerned citizens are dissapointed with him for the things he said about _____ during a public appearance.
Goal: To have the politician issue a statement or retraction addressing something he actually had nothing to do with. This would be extra funny if it were something totally absurd like the statement we're angry about is "Garfield: The Movie was the greatest movie ever made." How could you say that? Hasn't he seen ____? It was much better.


season to taste
« Last Edit: March 19, 2008, 07:33:48 pm by Professor Cramulus »

Cain

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Re: X-Post from MaybeLogic
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2008, 07:38:17 pm »
Bumped to GASM Command on request

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Re: X-Post from MaybeLogic
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2008, 07:47:56 pm »
I like where this is going, and that it's actually working.
Happy 23rd.
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