RU Sirius on pranksters and tricksters

BB pal RU Sirius is teaching an online course titled "Pranks, Pranksters, Trickster & Tricks" next month at the Maybe Logic Academy. Negativland's Mark Hosler and legendary prankster Joey Skaggs will also be participating. Leading up to the seminar, The Art of the Prank interviewed RU about why tricks are a treat. From the interview:
 Course-Trickster Your course covers Pranksters and Tricksters. Is there a difference between them?

RU Sirius: There’s a lot of crossover, but yeah, they’re different. For starters, obviously the trickster is a mythological concept – or a series of mythological figures – and a prankster is a real flesh and blood mortal. Trickster activities generally take place among the gods. Tricksters prank powerful, otherworldly beings while pranksters prank schmucks who think they’re in control.

Also the figure of the trickster, as it’s been characterized by Lewis Hyde (author of the seminal book, Trickster Makes The World), might be described as amoral or even immoral. Tricksters tend to appear in cultures and mythological systems where the boundaries and values and taboos are very well defined. And in these legends, you have your morally straight characters and you have your basic grim and serious “bad guys.” And then you have these tricksters who are playful and unpredictable criminals… thiefs mostly – and they’re generally imaginative and sneaky and able to play with ambiguity in otherwise rather diagrammatic narratives. And while they might commit theft or even murder, they also might unexpectedly leave behind gifts, or do things that confound or illuminate their victims, but there’s always some strategy, some sort of selfish motivation. Also, while the Trickster is clever, he (almost all are male) is also a fuck-up. Tricksters tend to get snared in their own tricks.
Link to interview, Link to Maybe Logic Academy

Previously on BB:
• Joey Skaggs launches Art of the Prank Link
• Negativland's My Favorite Things DVD Link


  1. That interview excerpt is tempting, and the course description on the page you linked to is even -more- intriguing (a course where you get to look at figures that encourage you to ‘question reality,’ AND to plan pranks?? I think the only course that might beat that would be one that involved weekly puppy cuddling and beer drinking assignments). I read Trickster Makes The World a few years back and found it really intriguing – it was well worth the read, and the opportunity to discuss/examine it in an academic setting sounds amazing. Aargh, if I had the $135 to spare I would sign up in a heartbeat!

    Well, I hope it turns out to be a huge hit (and I hope it gets offered again at some point! =)

  2. I signed up for this course about a month ago. It looks to be amazing. The chaps at Maybe Logic are very understanding, and If you ask nicely the would probably let you get involved in the course for a very small amount of money. But if you’ve got the cash, supporting ML and R.U. is a noble cause.
    Get in there!

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