Potential Pranks

NPR’s BPP this morning had a segment on photobombing. And with one look at the photos featured here on this site, it’s easy to see this practice is completely and infectiously hilarious, worthy of Buzzfeed‘s Internet meme status. What is it?

Intentionally turning up in the background of other people’s photographs with the goal of ruining them now has a name: Photobombing. I do this daily, unintentionally, walking along Canal Street to work, but the art of the photobomber is appearing in the background at just the right moment and with just the right face.

Curiously, it’s not the only definition out there. Wikipedia actually lists another definition: “the act of attaching a numbered series of photographs to public places.” The person behind this scheme has a website, where he explains in the FAQ how he planted his photos, and what to do if you find them.

I’m more interested, though, in the first definition. While hilarious, it’s also a bit strange, because the joke here is assumed. You really don’t get to see the look on your “victim’s” faces when they realize you’ve ruined (or enhanced…) their photo. It’s a joke in the potential, and, as everyone knows, pranks like this are funnier when you get to share in the laughter.

Is a whoopee cushion, or today’s high tech version, still funny if you’re not around to hear it?

So while it’s funny to think you’re going to show up looking ridiculous in someone else’s picture, you’ll never see it realized. It’s probably only a stoke of luck that you’d ever stumble across it posted on Facebook, or some other site. Maybe this makes more sense if this thing takes off, and we see photobombing sites appear, where you can see the fruits of your labor posted somewhere.

Oh hell. No sense overthinking it.

If something’s funny, it’s funny.


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