April Fools’ Jokes
Every time April Fools’ jokes come up, I can’t help but thinking of the story of the “cowtomato.”
I remember sometime after the reforms and opening- up of the country, the media reported on a scientific discovery that caused quite the sensation: “cowtomatoes.” Apparently a professor at some college in Germany had mixed tomato cells together with cow cells and had successfully grown “cow- tomatoes.” These tomatoes contained ten times the amount of vitamin C that the original tomatoes had and were high in protein, making this incredible combination of meat and vegetable into a brand- new super-food.
This news caused quite the stir in China at the time. Back then, the country had only just opened up its doors, we opened our eyes to take a look and: Wow! Compared with developed countries we were really lagging behind by a large distance. If we wanted to eat beef and tomatoes, we would need to buy tomatoes and some beef, then we would need to stir- fry them together to make a single dish. Other countries, though, had already made a hybrid of the two; you can eat a tomato and chew on it like you’d chew on a piece of soybraised beef. Giving you vitamins and high protein all in one bite. If everyone had this kind of tomato, then they wouldn’t need to tend so many cows anymore.
Apparently, in order to get these tomatoes accessible to the Chinese population as soon as possible, professional technicians made a special trip, over a great distance, to Germany to visit the professor who invented the “cowtomato.” But it was all for nothing. No such outstanding professor ever existed. It was only later that they found out, the whole thing was an April Fools’ joke cookedup by the British magazine New
This kind of humor was certainly new for people who had recently experienced medical treatments like injecting chicken blood, drinking cold water, arm swinging therapy and drinking fermented tea. The joke in New
Scientist , left Chinese people excited for quite a while.
If we say that “lies” like the “cow-tomato” were able to deceive the Chinese public who were totally unfamiliar with Western culture. Then, can it be said that everyone who lives in the West is immune to April Fools’ jokes? The answer is: no.
Westerners mainly just use April Fools’ Day as a way to have some fun. Very often you will see jokes played on famous people to entertain the public. In recent years, even Microsoft’s CEO, Bill Gates, was pranked on April Fools’ Day.
In 2002, two newsreaders at a French TV Station, in Montreal, Québec, Canada, were bored out of their minds. They came up with the idea to find a famous person who was intelligent and hard to fool, to prank for fun