My Favorite Fools

On this first day of April (and my Uncle Bob’s birthday), here’s a rerun from a few years back:

In Shakespeare the fool often plays a pivotal role, generally during or after a tragedy when they remind us of the inevitability of human folly. My favorite fool is Mercutio from Romeo and Juliet.

Mercutio

“I talk of dreams which are the children of idle minds.”

To quote Shakespearean scholar John E. Hankins: Mercutio’s “unique blend of critical acumen, delicate fancy and obscene levity nearly stole the play from Romeo and Juliet and thus he must be killed off fairly early on.” Mercutio sees the trajectory of dreams in the cold light of day and decides to make merry of the dreamer although inside he weeps. He recognizes he can do nothing and that his words will make no sense to those who do not want to hear. Not unlike political satirists like Bill Maher or Jon Stewart.

Fool means “a silly or stupid person; a person who lacks judgment or sense.”  In the late 60s those of us who believed a world without hate and war was were often called fools. Which brings me to my second favorite fool, Paul McCartney:“The fool on the hill sees the sun going down and the eyes in his head see the world spinning round.” McCartneyOkay, we were all wide-eyed fools when his song hit the airways. Then we got hit with mortgages, children, child support, Republicans, Libertarians, Rush Limbaugh, the Octomom, Reality TV, IRA rollovers, etc. But you know what? Forty some odd years later and the baby boomers are increasingly returning to the hill to watch the sun going round.  Being McCartney’s sort of fool can keep you young at heart forever and if there’s anyone who’s proof of that, it’s Paul McCartney.

PeterSellers

“I like to watch.”

And then we have the modern day fool, personified by Peter Sellers in Being There.  A genuine idiot whose  regurgitation of whatever he hears on television propels him to national prominence.  Golly, sound familiar?

I have a special message for him:  UB, Brad Pitt called me this morning pleading to play the part of Oncle Boob.

Pitt

I see a certain resemblance between Uncle Bob and Brad Pitt, don’t you?

What do you say – yeah or nah?

The Birthday Boy!

Hurry up and give me your answer because Joel says George Clooney is on the other line!

 

12 thoughts on “My Favorite Fools

  1. Lt. Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) of Police Squad and The Naked Gun series of films. A fool who did things only an idiot could get away with, but he was lovable and meant well—but just totally clueless. And Peter Sellers strikes again, but as Inspector Clouseau. Lovable, wanting to be thought as intelligent, suave and a charmer, all of which he is not, but his heart is in the right place. Steve Martin in the movie “The Jerk” was not very bright, but loves his family and religiously sends money home. Who could not love someone so simple, but unpretentious and pure. Or as his dad say’s repeatedly, “What a good boy.”

  2. Happy birthday, Oncle Boob!! Wow, Jan, yo have a tough choice between Brad and George to play that part. I think either would do the character justice.

    Seriously, though, I love all the “fools” you mention here, especially Chance the Gardener. Such a brilliant character.

  3. Mercutio is definitely up there on my list of favorite fools as well. The whole Queen Mab speech shows how some of our dreams might be better off left repressed. To act on every whim… well we all know that became of Romeo and Juliet.

  4. Great post. Well, heck, what did you expect me to say after flashing that pic of Brad Pitt at me? 😀

    In the immortal words (um, lyrics?) of the Connie Francis song:

    Everybody’s somebody’s fool.
    Everybody’s somebody’s plaything.
    And there are no exceptions to the rule.
    Yes, everybody’s somebody’s fool.

    That’s my April Fool’s contribution. I loved your post.

    • Yeah, a bit of Brad goes a long way, doesn’t he? Love that song! Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your bit of foolery!

  5. Poor Uncle Bob – first memorialized as Uncle Boob and now this. Maybe Brad or George can make it up to him. (PS Being There is one of my favorite movies; Fool on the Hill up there in song-dom>)

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