It Is Good To Be Laughed At; It's Better Than To Be Ignored
from the wisdom dept
Aaron DeOliveira points us to a wonderful "letters of note" entry concerning UK prime minister Harold Macmillan's 1962 response to the news that his then Postmaster General, Reginald Bevins, had declared that he was "going to do something about" the new late-night political satire show That Was The Week That Was. Despite being a regular target of the show, Macmillan sent Bevins the following letter telling him to not do anything about the show, and (effectively) to chill out and enjoy being laughed at:
Broadcasting (Gen)Those last two lines are wonderful: "It is a good thing to be laughed at. It is better than to be ignored." Of course, you could claim that statement was somewhat derivative of Mahatma Gandhi's famous quote: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Either way, it seems pretty accurate, and highlights something that so many people miss. All too often we hear of people -- politicians, companies, celebrities, etc. -- trying to stifle criticism or satire, rather than recognizing that there are much worse things in the world: such as being completely irrelevant.
Post Master General
I hope you will not repeat not take any action about "That was the week that was" without consulting me.
It is a good thing to be laughed at.
It is better than to be ignored.