Truth is seldom palatable to the ears of kings,
yet fools are privileged to have free leave to speak not only bare truths,
but the most bitter ones too.
– Desiderius Erasmus, Praise of Folly
I can teach you with a quip if I’ve a mind,
I can trick you into learning with a laugh,
Oh, winnow all my folly and you’ll find
A grain or two of truth among the chaff.
– W.S. Gilbert, The Yeomen of the Guard
Throughout history, jesters were masters of topsy-turvydom. They came from humble backgrounds, but were welcome in royal palaces. They had no political expertise, but they could sometimes serve as the most valuable advisors, by showing kings the most absurd consequences of their policies. They understood that humor is the great equalizer; it can take a king down a notch or elevate a beggar.
Jesters were loved by everyone from royalty to common people – everyone, that is, except dictators. The jester’s job is to make the king laugh at himself, which dictators are notoriously bad at. And those who try to rule through fear and intimidation understand that people can’t be frightened or cowed as long as they’re laughing.
Today’s topsy-turvy world cries out for jesters. In an age where facts are called “fake news” and lies are called “alternative facts”, the truth can be hard to find, and the jester’s job of delivering truth wrapped in humor is more vital than ever.
If you also feel that the Jester’s work is of value, then please feel free to help by liking, sharing, following, and retweeting. And always remember: Ridicule is resistance. And if you’re laughing, it’s a sign that you’re still breathing.