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The wise fool

By Dave Snowden  ·  April 1, 2012  ·  Musings

Back in 1977 I was in the SCM office (of which I was then Student President), then located in a near commune in Wick Court near Bristol.  Someone walked across the field to pick up the Guardian and we found one of the best All Fool's Day ever, namely the fictional island of San Serif, pictured.  The BBC's famous Panorama report on the Spaghetti harvest is probably the most outstanding journalistic spoof, and still brings a tear to the eye, but the Sans Serif was up there.   A few people were taken in back in 1977.  We were after all fighting against the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, oppression in the Philippines and elsewhere so it was an easy mistake to make.  I escaped thanks to my managing an old treadle print machine at school and being in charge of our new offset litho press so the terms were all to familiar in a different context.

The mistake a lot of people make, is to assume that foolishness is well foolish.  With a birthday such as mine you become immune to the jokes and sensitised the early stages of a con.  But its worth remembering that in King Lear the only one who speaks truth is the fool, and that was the role in Mediaeval times.  In the modern era, for a year British Airways continued the tradition, appointing a fool who could enter any meeting and challenge, as long as they wore the ritual hat.  Creating space for dissent is the role of fools, and wise men listen.

Full list of Guardian All Fools Day

Ikea chipping in

MacWorld being clever