In the age of concentrated and even absolute power, jesters were a vital counterpoint, a dose of humorous corrective, a laughing shaker-up of rigidity.
In an age of spin, propaganda and fake news, they still have a role to play. They typically come with an extra chromosome* allowing them to sniff out waffle, pretension and hypocrisy like an airport Alsatian sniffs out drugs. Furthermore, part of their foolishness lies in an impulse to debunk absurdity and puncture pomposity.
In addition, their adaptable, flexible mindset can help tease a team out of group-think or locked-in logic when what you need is fresh ideas or approaches.
All very healthy for the smooth running of society, politics and organisations.
And when you are ready to let a jester loose on your own organization – or on yourself if you’re really important – here is a ready-made job description you are welcome to use. For a budget-busting fee, we can also bring an outsider’s perspective to the selection process.
See: ‘The court jester is universal, but is he still relevant?’, Management & Organization Review, 11:3 (September 2015), pp. 559-573
* disclaimer – figurative use only – don’t sue me under some Health and Medical Claims Act