The Wall Street Journal's Ellen Gamerman has written an article
about the resurgent popularity of pranks. But the pranks aren't aimed at making fun of anything. Instead, their only goal seems to be to introduce an element of the surreal into everyday life. Examples include:
- "Freezing" events: people pose like statues in public places.
- going pantless in subways
- staging impromptu musicals in malls
- pretending to be zombies and roaming city streets
- crowds of people dancing to music no one else can hear.
- identical twins on subways mirroring each other's actions
Not everyone is taken with the new pranks. Old-school prankster Joey Skaggs is paraphrased as saying, "the stunts lack a subversive, anti-establishment edge. Because of that, people are less likely to stop and think about what they're seeing -- or even care. 'The bar's been really lowered,' he says. 'There's a lot of junk out there calling itself pranks.'"
And then there's the inevitable attempt by corporations to co-opt the trend. For instance, Mr. Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere, was hired by Taco Bell to stage a "freeze" in one of its restaurants:
The stunt was later used in a viral marketing campaign for the restaurant's Frutista Freeze drink, and a video of the prank has been viewed 500,000 times online, says Taco Bell spokesman Will Bortz. "We thought it was brilliant," he says.