Techniques of ridicule

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.

Voltaire

voltaire study

Preparation au portrait de Voltaire (Maurice Quentin de La Tour) Musée Antoine Lecuyer, Saint-Quentin, France

The 1996 French film Ridicule makes reference to Voltaire when the character Ponceludon accuses 17th century French courtiers of thinking themselves as witty as the master; he then points out they lack the master’s compassion.

In the first video below, John Oliver makes one of the least-understood topics in the U.S. (yet one of the most important topics of the time) comprehensible.  As usual, he gets to the heart of the matter.

The French video offers role reversal, putting women in charge and treating men as women have been treated.  To view the French video, Youtube requires you to agree that you’re ok with seeing women’s breasts and seeing some crude language translated into English.

Method 1 – the John Oliver way (avuncular, easy to watch)

Method 2 – the French way (painful, in your face)

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One thought on “Techniques of ridicule

  1. Loved the French video (not biased of course!)… These crap assumptions of roles are so ingrained that it was difficult to watch and required a constant “tuning in” of who was who. Showing it this way has great impact.

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