Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This was sent to us fools from a fellow fool in Yugoslavia, perhaps some day we will visit her or she will visit us.


Here's a bit about jesters from a chapter called "Stateless societies and the maintenance of order" by Max Gluckman (he was actually buddies with Victor Turner):

"It is probably in some such light that we should analyse the manner in which the court jester operated as a privileged arbiter of morals, given licence to gibe at king and courtiers, or lord of the manor. Jesters were usually men of low class - sometimes on the continent of Europe they were priests - who clearly moved out of their usual estate. Normally they were entitled to mock at anyone in the midst of their tales and jokes, and even in some countries play practical jokes on their betters, perhaps by spilling food on them. Seemingly those who were gibed at or maybe rebuked for faults could not protest. In Shakespeare's King Lear and other of his plays the jesters mix with their fooling acute commentaries on the foolishness and foibles of their employers, and even on their evil-doings; reminders of mortality and religious duty were set in a stream of witticisms. These dramatic representations do seem to reflect the actual situation of many of these court-jesters. If we look on the relation of jester and employer as a kind of joking relationship, it is possible to suggest that here there was a standardized pattern of fooling and smart repartee, aimed at amusing the employer, and at which he could not take offence. After all, was not it for this purpose that he employed the jester? Then if the jester mingled into these baseless gibes pointed rebukes, still cast in obscuring witty form, to draw attention to tyrannies and oppressions, any protest from the employer would show that he recognized the point of the attack, and in a sense would be admitting his fault. For it was the job of the jester to gibe. In a system where it was difficult for others to rebuke the head of a political unit, we might have here an institutionalized joker, operating at the highest point of the unit - a joker able to express feelings of outraged morality. Biographies of jesters of monarchs show that they often in this way obtained great influence..."

I hope you find this useful. I thought that the idea of court jesters (or fools) gaining influence was intriguing. It's like, in a way, being a fool and being recognized as one gives you freedom, or better - freedomS that are out of the reach of other, "normal" , ordinary people. And maybe there's some kind of link between that special kind of freedom (or freedoms) and the fact that most mythological tricksters (or jokers or fools) are also shapeshifters, free even from the boundaries of a single physical form...

Monday, April 16, 2007

"And now you shall hear from me an extemportaneous speech, unlabored, but so much the truer for all that. I should not want you to think it is made to show off my wit, as is done by the common run or orators. They, as you know so well, when they bring out a speech they have been working on for thirty whole years, and sometimes not their own at all, will swear it was written in three days, for pastime, or even that they merely dictated it. For my part, it has always been most satisfactory to speak 'whatever pops into my head.' "

-- from The Praise of Folly

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

So I am interested in a VERY IMPORTANT fool in history. The fool for love. To that end, I offer this, the lyrics to Ike and Tina Turner's hit, "Fool in Love." Creepy even without the backstory. The idea of being a 'fool for love' sanitizes a painful and familiar state. Though hopefully, most of us will avoid the physical scars.
Fool in Love, Tina Turner

There’s something on my mind
Wont somebody please, please tell me what’s wrong

You’re just a fool, you know you’re in love
You’ve got to face it to live in this world
You take the good along with the bad
Sometimes you’re happy and sometimes you’re sad
You know you love him, you can’t understand
Why he treats you like he do when he’s such a good man

He’s got me smiling when I should be ashamed
Got me laughing when my heart is in pain
Oh no, I must be a fool
Cause I do anything you ask me to

Without my man I don’t wanna live
You think I’m lying but I’m telling you like it is
He’s got my nose open and that’s no lie
And I, I’m gonna keep him satisfied

A wave of action speaks louder than words
The truest thing that I ever heard
I trust my man and all that he do
And I, and I do anything you ask me to

Two free tickets and a kiss from Ryan Walters to the first person who can tell me what "He's got my nose open and that's no lie" means. Ryan, you don't mind, do you?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Just Add Water: Make Your Own FOOL!

"The popularity of dwarfs was so great that in Europe and South America the pratice of artificially stunting children arose to keep up with the demand [of using dwarfs and hunchbacks as court jesters].... According to a miscellany of 1670, dwarfs could be created by anointing babies' spines with the grease of bats, moles, and dormice, while more palatable prescriptions used drugs such as the aptly named dwarf elder, knotgrass, and daisy juice and roots mixed with milk to stunt growth. Children were kidnapped or bought to be turned into artificial dwarfs, and it was in Italy and Spain that the pratice was most common, its perpetrators in Spain being called comprachicos, or 'child-buyers.' The practice was clearly known in England, as Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream testifies: 'Get you gone, you dwarf; / You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made; / You bead, you acorn!' "


This passage reminded me of Ryan's image of the Ship of Fools ganging up on an unsuspecting individual and making them deformed (is that how you described it?)

Yeah. Creepy.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Third Member Of The Triad

"After some time musing on the concept of Goddess/God that is common in Wiccan (and most Neo-Pagan groups) and seeing the common theme of "things come in threes" in these belief systems, I fell to wondering "Why only the God and Goddess? If all things come in threes, where is the Third Aspect that should be there?"
So what is this Third Aspect? I feel it is the Holy Fool; the Prometheus who is the Trickster, the God (neuter) that rolls the dice."

"As most things, the Fool is Personified in three basic Aspects that (of course) overlap with each other and with the God and Goddess. The first is that of the Saviour God, the Prometheus, the Culture Hero, who brings Knowledge (and -occasionally- Wisdom) to Mankind. This Aspect loves Mankind with all His Being, and only wishes Good. His Good Intentions sometimes fall short of His (or Mankind's) expectations, however."

"The second is that of the Clown, the Nerd, the Jerk, that teaches by his own mistakes (and who usually comes out ahead because of His own Innocence.) This Aspect is mostly neutral, and is how He seems to mostly manifest Himself.
But let us not forget the third, and darker, side of the Fool, best exemplified by Jack Nicholson's portrayal of The Joker in the film version of "Batman." Just as the Goddess has Her Dark side (the Crone, the Morrigan, &c) and the God has His (Odin as Death-God) so does the Fool have a terrifying Aspect (at least, from the human point of view): Chaos Personified."

"This is not an Aspect to invoke, as It does not care. Period. It is the ultimate psychopath, the ultimate Spoiled Brat, the quintessence of Ego-centric self-love. In some circles, it could be quite nicely named Ahriman, or Shaitan, or Satan, because it fits all concepts of that Middle-Eastern deity except one: It does not care if Man worships It or not. It is not in -conflict- with the God and/or Goddess, It is -not- on the kind of power-trip that the Judeo-Christian Satan is represented as having, it just -is-. It should be considered as neither "good" nor "evil," though it can personify both or either or neither! This is confusing, but with a little thought the concept will (hopefully) come clear."

-From: the Bardat Samhain, 1990 CE

full article at: