Enough with the Pranks

[Content Note: Pranking; bullying; endangerment.]

I have previously noted my resounding contempt for "pranks," the vast majority of which are nothing but bullying paired with a rhetorical arsenal full of "humorless!" ready to be launched at any of its unwilling targets who dare to object.

Never mind that many targets of "pranking" are not so much objecting as they are getting triggered. Shock humor can be an absolute nightmare for many veterans and other survivors of trauma, for some people who are neuro-atypical, for people with anxiety disorders, among others—well beyond the common "I hate being pranked" reaction that a lot of people without additional considerations have.

The popularity of "pranking" is thus troubling because it's a tacit endorsement of bullying, even as we shake our heads and wring our hands and make grave faces about the horrors of bullying. (Might Karen Klein's teenage bullies merely have imagined they were "pulling a prank" as they filmed their torment?) Pranksters try to one-up each other, filming their antics for upload, and we are all meant to laugh, and to ignore that the target of the prank probably wasn't given the option to choose whether their "pranking" was made available to the entire world.

It's messed up on a lot of levels, is what I'm saying.

So it's really frustrating to see CNN doing a cutesy story on some d-bag who "pranks" his wife by routinely scaring the shit out of her, after a video of one of his "pranks"—that he filmed while driving on the highway with his family in the car—went viral this week.

[Transcript here; it's the very last segment on the page.]

"See prankster's wife get rude awakening." Har har. It would have been EVEN MORE HILARIOUS if she'd reflexively grabbed the wheel and crashed the car, don't you think? Well, let's hope someone ups the ante to try to get on national television! I'm sure if we all REALLY TRY we can kill a few people with pranks this summer!

Seriously. Enough with the fucking pranks.

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