Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"Every joke is a tiny revolution"

The Peninsula, an English news site based in Qatar, has some interesting musing on the power of satire, and specifically why people in power hate it so much. Noting the attempted shutdown of the Belarus satire site a few weeks ago ("the surest sign of a doomed regime"), editor Ben Macintyre of the Times Online notes:

"Satire is the mark of a healthy democracy, the pricking of pomposity that reminds our leaders that they are not self-anointed. "Every joke is a tiny revolution," thought George Orwell. "Whatever destroys dignity, and brings down the mighty from their seats, preferably with a bump, is funny." Every politician craves gravitas, but the more extreme the politics, the more crucial dignity becomes, for laughter leaves the emperor with no clothes. This is equally true for terrorists. Osama bin Laden has become a staple of playground humour. Within hours of 9/11 and 7/7, the jokes, tasteless and defiant, began to emerge, the natural response to the oppression of terror, a tiny revolution against fear."

Watch carefully who in D.C. has a sense of humor, and who does not.
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