I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to attend a festival

Bakhtin’s carnival, surely the most productive concept in this book, is not only not an impediment to revolutionary change, it is revolution itself. Carnival must not be confused with mere holiday or, least of all, with self-serving festivals fostered by governments, secular or theocratic.

This goes with the theme of reinterpreting the Medieval Age. We don’t have a very flattering idea of that time do we? Bakhtin makes the case that historiographically their carnivals and laughter are forgotten, and that the church wasn’t as beyond reproach as is usually thought.

Humor from different times. I’m probably going to do a post on Gogol eventually too. I want the cathedral in a coffin and I believe it can only be laughed to death.

You don’t usually imagine something like this when you think of the middle ages do you

clowns and fools, constant participants in these festivals, mimicked serious rituals

I bet you won’t facetiously mimic a ritual considered serious today. “Because I’m not a fool!”

The carnival

built a second world and a second life outside officialdom, a world in which all medieval people participated more or less

The festivities lasted three months a year. So imagine a “real summer”. And keep imagining, because you’re not getting it. Who’s the fool now? Everyone, everyone decides to live in this prison together.

Bakhtin says people were reborn during the festival season. They were able to have purely human relations. It seemed to have been a suspension of bureaucratic seriousness.

we are especially interested in the language which mocks and insults the deity

Is that who you are when no one is around? Are you a mocking sort of person? Again, with ketman I can never know. Maybe in some of your private reactions to the world you are a foolish jester. Medieval times weren’t that many generations ago, I can’t imagine our genetics have changed that much since then.

Bakhtin wrote about this in the context of the Frenchman Rabelais in Russia while under the rule of Stalin. So he can be seen as the literary critic version of Shostakovich.

Is he really talking about the “medievals” here?

The very contents of medieval ideology–asceticism, somber providentialism, sin, atonement, suffering, as well as the character of the feudal regime, with its oppression and intimidation–all these elements determined this tone of icy petrified seriousness.

He said during feasts especially the “Law” was suspended and laughter had its own legality unto itself. This makes me wonder not for the first time about what people today talk about behind closed doors. Are they PC even at the dinner table? “There is no dinner table, I have a TV tray and the propaganda-shows make me laugh!” Sad sad sad.

Are you capable of making a joke about the Sublime Monument to be Worshiped?

festive folk laughter presents an element of victory not only over supernatural awe, over the sacred, over death; it also means the defeat of power, of earthly kings, of the earthly upper classes, of all that oppresses and restricts

Are you capable of mimicking a serious ritual or are you too in awe at its sublimity? Relax, learn to have some fun. It’s freeing to be a bird and air at the same time.

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