Reductio ad absurdum

Reductio ad absurdum

Bakhtin sums up a form of humour sometimes deployed by jesters seeking to enlighten the ruler.  Rather than remonstrating to change behaviour, they would agree wholeheartedly with the crackpot proposal being put forward.  By running with an idea to an absurd degree,...
Two types of seriousness

Two types of seriousness

Seriousness may not seem a suitable subject for a website on fools and jesters. However, it is a grave error to consider that what is funny can’t be serious and what is serious can’t be funny (an error occasionally manifest in the notion that writing is...
How far back can we go?

How far back can we go?

The first specific reference we have (so far) to what might be a jester concerns a dwarf or a pygmy in ancient Egypt during the reign of Neferkere (Pepi II, r. from c. 2278 BCE). An official wrote to the Pharaoh mentioning a dancing dwarf he had found, and Pepi II...

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