Monday, March 28, 2011

Scrollwork's School for Fools Now Open

Jester Kitty by tasteslikepurple

Would you turn to a fool for advice? Would you willingly come off as a fool to serve a purpose?

Got a question, ask an expert—how it’s usually done. But when you’re ready to handle the truth, take a hint from rulers of old: Go ask a fool. Even more revolutionary: be the fool for someone.

You can count on experts for conventional wisdom, buzzwords included. Backed with polls, charts, testimonials and bullet points. But rarely will an expert go out on a limb. She will not put her credibility on the line. (Her retweets might plunge.)

If you take her advice and fail, it must be your fault. How can the expert be wrong? She has her own domain name, for heaven’s sake.

A fool, now there’s a different animal. A fool has nothing to lose, because everyone already dismisses her as such. No one sidles up to a fool to network. No one aspires to become a fool. “What’s your major?” “Pro Fooling.”

A fool isn’t in it for the prestige. A fool doesn’t care if you subscribe to the A-List PowerFool group. No fool would bother starting one. Fools are loners; the known exception being partner fools in Elizabethan times named Lucretia the Tumbler and Jane the Fool. (We appreciate that Jane had a no-nonsense approach to branding.)

How does a fool come by her career? Some fools were “naturals” by way of slow-mo minds or deformities. Some fools were trained entertainers.

Consider the court jester. Her job description read, “Make a fool of yourself.” Being that already, I don’t suppose a fool ever suffered a crisis of inauthenticity on the job. Her purpose, ostensibly, was to distract from the dreary, especially on days when the castle was damp and the porridge tasted like slurry. But she was more than just the class clown, and she knew it.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be the fool." 
~William Shakespeare

As an equal-opportunity poker of fun, the fool could get away with risky behavior. Namely, magnifying faults in the mighty and collapsing puffed-up egos like failed souffl√©. She had the protection of the throne because only the fool could be trusted to tell the truth. It’s one of the ways fools added value to the court.



  1. There was definitely some foolish wisdom to be found here. Take that as a compliment if you're unsure.

    I actually have a bit of a problem with the whole "expert" concept. I believe that all humans possess the power of observation - not something to be taken lightly.

    There are some fields where experts are merited (I don't want a jester performing surgery on me).

  2. Thanks for the compliment! I'm honored to have you over for tea.

    True, everyone possesses the power of observation. A pity that not everyone is consistently mindful to use it. A greater pity that not everyone is courageous enough to voice an observation.

    When I wrote for newspapers during the dark ages, I got really tired of having to interview and quote some expert to finish my articles with a flourish. I wanted to be an expert at something; it took me forever to figure out at what. And then I discovered I am much better at being the fool (not "a" fool, THE fool.)