Tuesday, January 14, 2020

'Reality is what you can get away with'


Buck Henry in 1978. Creative Commons photo by Alan Light 

An amusing example of the slogan Robert Anton Wilson coined. From the New York Times obituary for screenwriter and comedic actor Buck Henry:

Then, in 1959, he joined forces with a friend, Alan Abel, who had created a hoax organization, the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, which was dedicated to putting pants — or at least undershorts — on dogs, horses and cows as a response to society’s evident moral decline.

Mr. Henry became the public face of SINA, as the organization was known, playing the role of its president, G. Clifford Prout, giving interviews to newspapers and magazines and appearing on television, where he would argue that zoos should be closed down until the animals could be properly attired.

The hoax wasn’t entirely unmasked until 1965, but until then many people — millions, perhaps — had been hoodwinked. Among them was Walter Cronkite, who featured a segment on SINA in August 1962 on the “CBS Evening News.” He never forgave Mr. Henry after learning that it had been a joke.

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