Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World

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9780814796290: Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World
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Title: Pranksters( Making Mischief in the Modern World) <>Binding: Hardcover <>Author: KembrewMcLeod <>Publisher: NewYorkUniversityPress

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“In locating mischief at the center of media history, Pranksters transforms what, up until now, has been a series of odd footnotes into a rich and hilarious story about the making of the modern world. In doing so McLeod challenges overly-rationalist accounts by compelling us to laugh out loud about hoaxes, hoodwinks, cons, and more. But this isn’t laughter simply for its own sake.  He has a deeply ethical purpose in mind, showing us how to use media spectacularly, and, indeed, responsibly, to promote meaningful social transformation Pranksters is smart, lucid, and funny―but it’s no joke.”-Ted Striphas,Indiana University

"The story of how mischief-makers hope to change the world one prank at a time . . . McLeod’s renditions of his own pranks bring sparkle and humor to the serious message of his book."-Kirkus Reviews

"From Jonathan Swift's 'A Modest Proposal' to the modern 'hacktivists' of anonymous 'spoofing' corporations and governments, McLeod, the man who actually trademarked the phrase 'Freedom of Expression,' examines hoaxes, pranks, and successful feats of trickery that inspire widespread public amazement and reinforce the need to critically assess miraculous stories or occurrences. He shares thoughtful insights into both lighthearted hoaxes like the Feejee mermaid and well-known darker pranks, such as the 17th century Illuminati conspiracy created by a college student or the 1980s 'Satanic Panic.'  Benjamin Franklin (who borrowed liberally from Swift) and P.T. Barnum are notable, famous tricksters, but McLeod's description of the lonely, blind phone-phreakers who created their own 'electronic social net-work' in the 1960s speaks to the primary need for expression and connection commonly found among the perpetrators. McLeod entertains and engages readers with everything from Thomas Paine to T-Pain in this clever mix of historical figures' imaginative pranks and modern attempts to capture public attention."   -Publishers Weekly

“A spellbinder of a book, Pranksters attempts to weave together a slew of seemingly unrelated individuals, anecdotes, and themes...[I]t cuts a swath along a wide range of academic disciplines, making it relevant to scholars of popular culture, sociology, media studies, and the history of the book.”-Journal of Popular Culture

“Overall, this study of pranks is engrossing in the fullest meaning of the term.”-Historian

"Those who like their reads breezy need not apply―but this is not to say that Pranksters is not worth the read. Anyone in the business of deception―whether remediating or fomenting it―ought to treat this as a primary source." -PopMatters

"Meticulously organized and researched book."-Popmatters.com

“In his new book Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World, Kembrew McLeod demonstrates that sometimes pranksters, working as cultural jammers, provoke worthy debates ‘by showing skepticism’ about power.”-Reuters Blog

"McLeod is good at finding common threads that unite all the multifarious pranks together and making sense of what may seem like a tangled mess of characters and events . . . . The heady stew of the 1960s―including the Merry Pranksters, and Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies―serves as an object lesson on pranks and how they could interface with society, culture, politics, and activism. McLeod’s vivid description of the Merry Pranksters’ kooky school bus, painted in wild colors, makes you pine for the freewheeling San Francisco of yore, before the Google bus took over."-Slate.com

"It's fantastic! Finally, a book that rescues the critically important art of the prank. Thanks to Pranksters, we finally understand what we've been trying to do all these years. No joke! Read it, and get out there and apply it!"-The Yes Men

About the Author:

Kembrew McLeod is a writer, filmmaker, and Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa, and occasional prankster. He is the author of Creative License, Cutting Across Media, Owning Culture, and the award-winning Freedom of Expression®. McLeod’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Village Voice, and Rolling Stone.

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Book Description New York University Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. From BenjaminFranklin's newspaper hoax that faked the death of his rival to Abbie Hoffman'sattempt to levitate the Pentagon, pranksters, hoaxers, and con artists have causedconfusion, disorder, and laughter in Western society for centuries. Profilingthe most notorious mischief makers from the 1600s to the present day, Prankstersexplores how "pranks" are part of a long tradition of speaking truth to powerand social critique.Invoking such historical and contemporary figures as P.T. Barnum,Jonathan Swift, WITCH, The Yes Men, and Stephen Colbert, Kembrew McLeod showshow staged spectacles that balance the serious and humorous can spark importantpublic conversations. In some instances, tricksters have incited social change(and unfortunate prank blowback) by manipulating various forms of media, fromnewspapers to YouTube. For example, in the 1960s, self-proclaimed "professionalhoaxer" Alan Abel lampooned America's hypocritical sexual mores by usingconservative rhetoric to fool the news media into covering a satirical organizationthat advocated clothing naked animals. In the 1990s, Sub Pop Recordsthen-receptionist Megan Jasper satirized the commodification of alternativemusic culture by pranking the New YorkTimes into reporting on her fake lexicon of "grunge speak." Throughout thisbook, McLeod shows how pranks interrupt the daily flow of approved informationand news, using humor to underscore larger, pointed truths.Written in an accessible, story-driven style, Prankstersreveals how mischief makers have left their shocking, entertaining, andeducational mark on modern political and social life. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780814796290

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Book Description New York University Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. From BenjaminFranklin's newspaper hoax that faked the death of his rival to Abbie Hoffman'sattempt to levitate the Pentagon, pranksters, hoaxers, and con artists have causedconfusion, disorder, and laughter in Western society for centuries. Profilingthe most notorious mischief makers from the 1600s to the present day, Prankstersexplores how "pranks" are part of a long tradition of speaking truth to powerand social critique.Invoking such historical and contemporary figures as P.T. Barnum,Jonathan Swift, WITCH, The Yes Men, and Stephen Colbert, Kembrew McLeod showshow staged spectacles that balance the serious and humorous can spark importantpublic conversations. In some instances, tricksters have incited social change(and unfortunate prank blowback) by manipulating various forms of media, fromnewspapers to YouTube. For example, in the 1960s, self-proclaimed "professionalhoaxer" Alan Abel lampooned America's hypocritical sexual mores by usingconservative rhetoric to fool the news media into covering a satirical organizationthat advocated clothing naked animals. In the 1990s, Sub Pop Recordsthen-receptionist Megan Jasper satirized the commodification of alternativemusic culture by pranking the New YorkTimes into reporting on her fake lexicon of "grunge speak." Throughout thisbook, McLeod shows how pranks interrupt the daily flow of approved informationand news, using humor to underscore larger, pointed truths.Written in an accessible, story-driven style, Prankstersreveals how mischief makers have left their shocking, entertaining, andeducational mark on modern political and social life. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780814796290

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