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    Fools Are Everywhere: The Court Jester Around the World

    Fools Are Everywhere: The Court Jester Around the
    World

    An in-depth history of the privileged fool?
    Surely you jest! But Beatrice K. Otto’s new book is just that: a
    well-researched look at the origin, evolution, and impact of the
    court jester–an entertainer whose job it was to amuse, be laughed
    at, and to laugh at those in power.

    And why did the elite suffer these ‘Fools’? Otto explains that in
    the pre-industrial world, jesters provided the entertainment that
    would later be displaced by radio, recordings, movies, television,
    and finally the computer. In short, bigwigs have always needed a
    good time and a good laugh.

    Citing historical facts and quotations from all over the world,
    including such diverse cultures as East Asia, the Middle East,
    Africa, America, and Europe, Otto’s book reveals that the role of
    court jester was often more prestigious, powerful, protected and
    outspoken than many members of the aristocracy’s staff. The book is
    rife with anecdotes portraying classic cases of interaction between
    royalty and subject, where the entertainer uses his wry talent to
    affect official policy.

    The study reveals that jesters were a curious, afflicted, and
    talented lot-including the deformed and disfigured, and
    addlebrained and oafish, as well as gifted musicians, acrobats,
    jugglers, storytellers, and actors.

    What may be the most interesting and relevant revelation of the
    book is the fact that many of these so-called ‘fools’ were able to
    use their wit, harmless persona, and ability to entertain as a
    soapbox to address, influence, and mock the policies of the royalty
    they served.
    –Al Paulson
    Go there>>

    Read an interview with the author of ‘Fools’,
    Beatrice K. Otto, who argues the need for jester-like characters in
    today’s stressful corporate culture.
    Go there>>

    Published on Apr 1, 2001

    UTNE

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