The Importance of Being a Fool

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“That, of course, is the great secret of the successful fool – that he is no fool at all” stated Isaac Asimov in his  “Guide to Shakespeare”. Shakesperian Fools were not only jesters or clowns, but they were clever peasants or commoners who commented events and could speak those truth nobody dared to say. This was a priviledge that only Fools had. Hamlet knew it, in fact his exhibited “antic disposition” allowed him to move more freely in the court of Denmark and confound his uncle and court to find evidence of the truth. In King Lear the Fool is free to ridicule the King’s actions without shocking the audience. He could do it, he was a Fool. Comedians are actually like modern Fools. Just like their forefathers, they seem to have the passport for those lands, forbidden to anyboby else, where the unacceptable is acceped and the unspeakable is spoken. But sometimes they are more than this. Few days ago Roberto Benigni, our most poular comedian, was on tv with a show on the Italian Constittution which he defined  “the most beautiful in the world”. In the first part he acted like a Fool: as expected he started with some disrespectful jokes against Berlusconi in particular and all the politicians in general, nothing new actually, but after a while the fool had turned into the poet who took us by our hands into the meaning and essence of the Italian Constitution article after article, pointing out its innovations, balance and beauty: “the most beautiful in the world ” he kept on saying trying to work on our weak national pride and ………. it worked, because 13 million people followed the show from the beginning to the end without having the impulse of zapping somewhere else. This is just because, Benigni, the fool, had succeeded in making us feel aware and proud of what we did and what we are despite our many defects. Now the question is, shouldn’t be this also someone else’s task?  Are fools those who have to define the moral code of a modern country?

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