A Perfect Prank

A perfect prank should be funny, but it should also make a statement and actually make the world a better place. I figure the prank recently revealed to have been perpetrated by the Untergunther, a French "cultural guerrilla" group, comes pretty close to fulfilling that definition. Members of the Untergunther secretly repaired a clock in the Pantheon, a Paris landmark. The clock had been broken for decades -- until one day it was mysteriously working again. The Guardian reports:
For a year from September 2005, under the nose of the Panthéon's unsuspecting security officials, a group of intrepid "illegal restorers" set up a secret workshop and lounge in a cavity under the building's famous dome. Under the supervision of group member Jean-Baptiste Viot, a professional clockmaker, they pieced apart and repaired the antique clock that had been left to rust in the building since the 1960s. Only when their clandestine revamp of the elaborate timepiece had been completed did they reveal themselves.

Instead of thanking them, the Centre of National Monuments, which felt embarrassed by the prank, decided to bring legal action against the group. The court recently cleared the charges against them.


Posted on Mon Nov 26, 2007


Oh. That is brilliant. I love it. Great prank. 😊
Posted by Tah  on  Mon Nov 26, 2007  at  08:10 PM
Heh.. the classic prank of makign something *better* and thereby making it stand out amid its surroundings.. Like polishing the testicles of an equestrian statue, the name and location of which escapes me.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  on  Tue Nov 27, 2007  at  01:37 AM
"A perfect prank should be funny, but it should also make a statement and actually make the world a better place."

I've long had a similar theory, which is why I think the two greatest hoaxes of the 20th Century were the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals and Arm The Homeless. Both of them employ arguments that are right on the edge of logic AND make a point about society.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Tue Nov 27, 2007  at  02:18 AM
I think that's an awesome prank! The Centre of National Monuments can go jump on their heads!
Posted by Nettie  on  Tue Nov 27, 2007  at  05:10 AM
I bet the French government feels doubly embarrassed now.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Tue Nov 27, 2007  at  05:21 PM
Oh, that is truely classic. Brillaint idea. And what were they going to charge with them - illegal repair work?
Posted by Nona  on  Wed Nov 28, 2007  at  06:01 AM
The authorities probably would charge them with trespassing.

It goes to show the adage: "It is easier to obtain forgiveness than permission." The Centre has had, what, more than forty years to fix that clock. The Centre administrators deserved the embarassment. I say, Well done.
Posted by KDP  on  Wed Nov 28, 2007  at  09:36 AM
So in a lawsuit they can be ordered to pay to undo their work?
Posted by Unfairly Balanced  on  Wed Dec 05, 2007  at  04:07 AM
The antique clock gets repaired at no cost, and they get sued? It's utterly amazing how ungrateful some people can be.

I collect Antique Marx Toys, some of which have damage. If someone fixed them for me at no cost, I would at least buy them dinner!
Posted by Bill  on  Wed Feb 20, 2008  at  12:38 PM
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