The essential and eternal fool

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be
a fool.
-Touchstone, As You Like It, Act 5, scene 1.

In these times, there appears to be mobilizing a concerted effort to stamp out all forms of discourse and behaviour which could be construed by the more ?enlightened? as harmful or divisive.

The term being used predominantly to describe this is ?hate speech?.

Some have publicly feared that this growing political momentum of censorious intolerance will ultimately devour all forms of communication and colour our minds with the base alloy of political correctness and unthinking moral servitude.

But have no fear.

What the would-be dictatorial clowns fail to appreciate is what I understand as the ?eternal fool?.

Since time immemorial, it seems the fool has played an essential role in both the development and maintenance of societies and cultures.

There are an endless set of historical examples of the ?fool?: from the Nordic mythological trickster ?Loki?; to the roving bands of medieval players known as ?Comedia del Arte?; to the Mudhead clowns of the Hopi Indians.

In fact, it seems that every unique culture that has ever come to light throughout history has had one form or another of this interesting and significant player.

I find the ?fool? fascinating to say the least, as this role not only gives much insight and knowledge but also provides the space and room for change to occur.

When looking at our contemporary western societies, one ?fool? that springs to my mind would have to be the Canadian stand-up comedian, Norm MacDonald.

MacDonald began his career in the popular mindset during the early eighties when he starred in Saturday Night Live.

The material MacDonald touched on in these early years, in retrospect, seems quite shocking.

His focus on things such as: Michael Jackson?s sexual proclivities; Bill Cosby?s raping (before anyone spoke of such claims); O.J Simpson?s tendency towards scheming homicide; the Clinton?s questionable activities including?alleged drug trafficking and murders; were all delivered in a deadpan sardonic attitude which oftentimes left the audience gasping for air, yet he was able to practice his comedic art with seeming impunity.

I expect the role of the ?fool? to be targeted by the intolerant in the near future but they will never truly be able to stamp this figure out entirely.

It seems to me to be an inherent and inbuilt safety valve which humans not only need but will not tolerate ever being denied.

Because whenever anyone or anything becomes too dominating in our world, always expect to see the ?fool? waiting in the wings with a cheeky grin and a secret to tell.