Last Prankster Standing Banksy Strikes Again, Bristol (UK) in an Uproar
Writing in Wired, Jeff Howe gleefully called the shadowy British graffitist, Banksy, “the most wanted man in the art world.”
In this dreary politically correct world, Banksy’s pranks represent catnip for the rest of us.
Banksy’s finest work to date has got the entire city of Bristol, England, his hometown, into a lather over whether it should go or stay.
A Brief History of Pranksters
Jim Moran (1907-1999). I remember seeing press agent James Sterling (Jim) Moran when he was a guest on Jack Paar’s late-night talk show, where I used to be an NBC page, hired to squeeze fat tourists into thin seats. The bearded, deadpan Moran was famous for such madcap stunts as changing horses in mid-stream, searching for a needle in a haystack, taking a bull into a Fifth Avenue china shop and publicizing Betty McDonald’s 1946 best-seller, “The Egg and I” by sitting on an ostrich egg for 19 days until it hatched. Jack Renniger recalled a story from a book by Jack Paar:
An example of the Moran technique was his stunt on behalf of a product called X-M, designed to keep eyeglasses from fogging.
To publicize his spectacle de-fogger, the bearded flack came to Washington, D.C., with a hundred homing pigeons. They were like any other homing pigeons, except that each was equipped with miniature spectacles.
“I’m going to free these homing pigeons,” Jim announced to the assembled press. “As you can see, they’re all wearing spectacles. Half of the spectacles have been treated with X-M, half have not. I’m willing to wager that those whose glasses have been treated with this fine product will get home quicker and safer than those whose spectacles have not been so treated.”
Sure enough, the 50 birds with X-M on their tiny glasses headed home to New York as straight as arrows, while the others fluttered about erratically and took off in all directions. One eventually turned up in Steubenville, Ohio, looking as if it had been trapped on the way in a badminton game.