Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Modern Day Fools

If you have read any Shakespearean plays in high school (and really who hasn't?) you would be familiar of a recurring character, the fool, commonly the jester.

The jester was the only character who can say some of the most outlandish things in front of the king and get away with it, because he was the fool. Ironically he was the most truthful and most aware of everything around him. We still see this character in real-world discussion today.

The likes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, for example, actually help us navigate through our corporate-sponsored news. Whether topics involving politics, religion, science, etc, they are unafraid to point out the ludicrous in a humorous way. That's not to say they make a mockery of what is being said, but they point out facts and observations that are left unsaid, and thus actually informing the public (kings).

Not to say that they can't break out of character, but they still remain convicted themselves. In a 2011 commencement speech, Stephen Colbert delivers his words of wisdom wherein he puts it eloquently:

"You will serve what you truly love. Because service is love made visible. If you love friends, you will serve your friends. If you love community, you will serve your community. If you love money, you will serve your money. And if you love only yourself, you will serve only yourself, and you will have only yourself. So ... try to love others and serve others, and hopefully find those who will love and serve you in return."

As funny as Colbert is as a political satirist/humorist, he still maintains strong convictions in the way he conducts himself. He is a self-identified Conservative and a Sunday School teacher. This is a man who is not afraid to laugh at himself with class, and although his character is a self-absorbed narcissist, you can see that his inner convictions still remain.  

Modern day fools, jesters, like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are what we need to help us engage in sensitive issues and really think about what is not being said. 

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