Every year I enjoy the April Fools stories on NPR's All Things Considered. I have been fooled badly in the past. So tonight I was listening carefully.
With just 15 minutes to go, an interview came on. It was a review of a biography of dancer/choreographer Jerome Robbins. It was odd. The story of his life is odd: very eccentric, very diverse. One of a kind. Strange drug experiences, strange politics, etc. Especially odd was that the author of the biography was Amanda Veil (not sure of spelling, this being radio). They kept repeating the name of the author. Yes, this has to be the joke, I thought: "A Man Ta Veil," how could a biographer have that name? But strange as the story was, it wasn't strange enough.
Last year's April Fools story was a profile of a billionaire who endowed a new "Positive Opera Company" that was commissioning famous composers to rewrite classic operas and make them less tragic and more uplifting, a la Norman Vincent Peal. Now that is the kind of story that could really raise some hackles, opera fans being so fanatical and all. The story of an odd choreographer just didn't have that same punch. No, Amanda Veil it may be, but it was not the story of the day.
The next story though, about the Indigenous Sculpture Society sounded promising. And indeed, it was about a group of sculptors, whose very British spokeswoman, Olira Pofl (or something close to that), explained how they find strangely named towns, like Monkey's Eyebrow, Kentucky, and sculpt that name (in this case giant Monkey's Eyebrows arching over the highway) out of indigenous materials.
It was a little too wacky, not quite believable this year. Still, I fell for it in a different way. Bring a critical ear to every story and you can't help but be fooled.