Pranks, Tropes and Raspberries: The Dialogic Demeanour of Satire’s Creative Horizon

Culture and Dialogue 7 (1):46-60 (2019)
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This essay starts off with a modern-day court jester praising a Pope. Fo presents us with an historic moment: Luciani scandalises his Church by calling God “Mother.” With utmost seriousness, Fo appreciates the Pope’s kindness and warmth by which the artist perceives a way of scandalising the world out of complacency. In their idealised and situated presentations of the world, the sacred and the profane return the necessary to the contingent as moments of equal attention and distraction. Likewise, irony and satire mark our situated sense of the ideal by an inability to unlearn the certainties by which we are urged to construct our world. This is done by first presenting a situated pedagogical context that refuses to provide solutions presumed on measurement, certainty or finality. Secondly this begins to lay claim to the political, aesthetic and moral values that are gained through art’s ironic disposition. Thirdly, through our contingent states of being we begin to understand how education is culturally conditioned and why we need to shift it to another gear – that of unlearning through a weak pedagogy. An atheist, Fo suggests that thanks to Pope Luciani, we now could endear to the Holy Spirit as a spirito ridens, a spirit that laughs. Here one finds a kenotic sense that gives us a glimpse in how an ironic disposition owes its strength and effectiveness to a weak pedagogy. By dint of such weakness, the jester’s pedagogical disposition becomes a form of resistance, exiting the Court in order to be with the people and consequently transformed by the people.



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