“kucinich is wise to play the fool” September 21, 2007Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, politics.
The mockery extends from highbrow — a New Yorker cartoon depicting Kucinich winning the Mars primary — to lowbrow: jokes about his height, ears, veganism and so on. The words “snicker” and “Kucinich” together return 50,000 hits from Google, including a website or two tracking the mockery.
And perhaps the Kucinich supporters have a point. Perhaps Kucinich is the Fool, the classic character of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” who often speaks the most profound and wittiest lines. After Lear has given up the kingdom, the Fool makes Lear look the fool: “Now thou art an O without a figure: I am better than thou art now; I am a fool, thou art nothing.”
Stephen Fallon, a professor of literature at the University of Notre Dame, said the fool was a necessity of Renaissance-era drama because someone had to tell the king hard truths without fear of reprisal. The fool’s ridiculousness and batty appearance insulated him from kingly violence.
Alleen Nilsen, an English professor at Arizona State University who specializes in the study of humor, said Kucinich and his backers should recognize his persona as an advantage because he can throw out ideas, such as starting a “Department of Peace,” without fear, just as a courtier might make a flirty joke to his date and be insulated from embarrassment because it’s “just a joke.”
ironically, this very article goes on to marginalize and caricature him. still makes some interesting points though.