“A nude horse is a rude horse” – Alan Abel
Long before The Yes Men, long before Sascha Baron Cohen, and long before hipsters began pranking the Jerry Springer show, there was Alan Abel, the legendary culture-jammer. The director of the 1970’s conservative-infuriating cult films Is There Sex After Death and The Faking of the President, Abel has made a name for himself several times over with amazing media stunts that are just ridiculous enough to be believable – especially to a media that feeds on salacious, far-fetched stories.
One of Abel’s more well known media pranks was the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, or SINA [pronounced “sinna”]. SINA was a hoax perpetrated by Alan Abel starting in 1959. Abel wrote a satirical story about this imaginary organization for The Saturday Evening Post, but the editors rejected it. Abel then transformed his story into a series of press releases from the organization that garnered media attention. The group used the language and rhetoric of conservative moralists for the aim of clothing naked animals, including pets, barnyard animals, and large wildlife. An alleged debate within SINA was how large an animal had to be to require clothing. Slogans such as “Decency today means morality tomorrow” and “A nude horse is a rude horse” were offered. Abel persuaded the actor Buck Henry to play the group president, G. Clifford Prout, in public appearances and Abel played the group vice president. SINA actually acquired ardent supporters, some of whom attempted to contribute a great deal of money. That aided SINA’s (false) claims of gaining momentum – at one time they claimed tens of thousands of members.
Alan Abel has published eight books, sixteen musical compositions and drum solos, recorded several percussion albums for RCA Victor and produced two feature films with his wife, Jeanne. He taught a creative workshop at The New School in New York and has lectured extensively for the past thirty years on promotion and public relations throughout the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand. He currently lectures a self-help and culture jamming series called Using Your Wits To Win, based on his two books, Don’t Get Mad…Get Even and How to Thrive on Rejection.
He is most famous for his grand scale pranks. He has pulled close to one hundred hoaxes on the media over the past forty years. Alan Abel’s radio and television appearances include Today, Tonight, BBC, Good Morning America, 20/20, 48 Hours, National Public Radio and CNN Financial News. His published articles have appeared in National Lampoon, The Atlanta Constitution, San Francisco Chronicle and U.S News and World Report. Abel has been profiled by New Yorker Magazine, Interview, Insight and Town and Country. He was recently honored by Life Magazine’s publication Century of Change as a cultural icon during the 20th century.