April Fool’s Day is essentially “Betray Someone Who Trusts You So You Can Mock Them” Day, and I have come to detest it. The internet has made the tradition less tolerable than ever, with web hoaxes multiplying the victims of “jokes” from individual friends and family members into thousands of strangers.
What is necessary to have an April Fool’s prank “work” is for someone to trust the prankster and ideally to not be especially aware of April Fool’s Day. I have a problem with the latter: imposing a tradition on someone who doesn’t embrace the tradition is unethical. The first part is also ethically troubling when the April Fooler is a person or entity who is obligated to be trustworthy. I would never host an April Fool’s gag on Ethics Alarms, and I have criticized other professionals who have carelessly used their professional blogs to indulge their juvenile senses of humor at the expense of others. No professional should be pulling tricks on clients or anyone who looks to them for facts, advice, experience or truth. That means April Fool’s Day is off limits to doctors, lawyers, journalists, elected officials, serious bloggers, accountants, law enforcement officials, teachers and priests in their official capacities, to name just a few. It also means that corporations should leave the faux holiday from honesty to individuals.