Friday Rant: Our Litigious Society & Unhappy April Fools

Earlier today, Jason posted an April Fools' spoof in the spirit of the season. And while some claim that the chicanery and practical joking that the day invites goes back as far as Chaucer, Wikipedia suggests that "In the eighteenth century, the festival was often posited as going back to the time of Noah. According to an English newspaper article published in 1789, the day had its origin when Noah sent his dove off too early, before the waters had receded; he did this on the first day of the Hebrew month that corresponds with April." How ever April Fools' Day evolved, it's no longer a day when we can freely spend precious time attempting to create some levity at the end of a long cold winter.

As VP of Business Development for Spend Matters, I received a phone call this morning shortly after Jason's post went live from a not-so-gentlemanly fellow who claimed to be calling from the general counsel's office of an organization. He claimed that the post was libelous, anti-Semitic and if it wasn't taken down within twenty minutes, he would initiate a lawsuit against us. We decided to comply, given the entire thing was in jest and we weren't proposing, defending or arguing a point of view -- in fact, as we said numerous times, it was April First.

Beauty and offense is clearly in the eye of the beholder. A few may have been offended (for those that were, we are sorry). Many weren't. But more important, we're deadly serious 99% of the time here -- as far too many of us are in our profession. And when a community can't poke at the status quo without being commanded to cease and desist under the threat of litigation, something is terribly wrong. As for us, Jason assured the team we'll go back to being our same boring selves on Monday, covering a subject that is often so dry as to put our significant others to sleep. Excel best practices for procurement anyone? Sign me up. Ought to be a safe topic to explore ...

- William Busch

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