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How dangerous was it to be a jester? - Beatrice K. Otto

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Contrary to common belief, jesters weren’t just a medieval European phenomenon but flourished in other times and cultures. The first reliably recorded jester is thought to be You Shi, of 7th century BCE China. Jesters had unique relationships to power: they could be viewed as objects of mockery or as entertainers and trusted companions. Beatrice K. Otto digs into history's most infamous jokers.

The role of the court jester who served a master (or mistress) in a position of power (king, queen, emperor...) died out in different parts of the world at different times. Looking at our world today, with its challenges and complexities, do you think people in power (presidents, government ministers, CEOs, etc.) need anyone to play this jesterish role—mocking them, or using humor or simple candor to tell them the truth? If so, why? And who?

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Beatrice K. Otto
  • Director Yael Reisfeld
  • Narrator Alexandra Panzer
  • Music Jan Willem De With
  • Sound Designer Jan Willem De With
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Produced by Anna Bechtol, Sazia Afrin
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Script Producer Cella Wright
  • Script Editor Molly Bryson
  • Fact-Checker Charles Wallace

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