WHERE mass demonstrations failed and insurrection found wanting many a regime was brought crashing to the ground by ridicule.
The royal houses of Britain could shrug off criticism by the bucketful but what the ruling elite fear most is ridicule.
Making fun of the Soviet system was sure to get the joker a one-way ticket to the Gulag. A famous skit depicted two comedians wondering what to do with a portrait of Stalin.
One suggested hanging it whilst his foil suggested it might be best if he was put up against the wall. The Soviets were unlikely to be amused at the skit that takes place in a school classroom.
Carefully, it is explained to the pupils that their country is the motherland and their father is Josef Stalin. “Now, children, what would you like to be when you grow up,” asked the school’s inspector.
‘An orphan,’ was heard from the back of the classroom.
One is reminded of the small party of babushkas being shown for the first time the wonders of modern broadcasting.
During a guided tour of Radio Moscow the elderly tourists were awestruck as they entered the broadcasting studio. Patiently, their guide showed her guests a microphone.
She then explained that when you spoke into the device you could speak to the entire world. An elderly lady pleaded: “Oh, please, I would love to say something to the world; may I, please?”
The shocked guide told the impertinent grandmother that only state approved presenters could use this device. “Just one word, one little word,” the elderly babushka begged. Relenting, the guide replied; “Alright but just one little word, mind you.”
Reassured, the elderly woman drew closer to the microphone and pressing the button screamed, “Help!”
First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev proudly showed his elderly mother around his palatial dacha. With its fleet of limousines and his flunkies as entourage, the latest Soviet leader showed his mother the grand gardens and the luxurious trappings that come with high office.
“But, Nikita,” she whispered. “What will you do if the Communists come back?”
The joke goes that the tourist visiting Moscow complains that he hadn’t expected a dumpling with his soup. The waiter smiles, “It’s not a dumpling, sir, it is a microphone.”
We laughed when we heard the gag, ‘they have television in the Soviet Union but there it watches you.’
Today, our every email is stored as is every telephone conversation. Social media are the combine harvesters of illicit information.
Perhaps we see ourselves and our situation in similar light but let’s not mock. Presenters of Western media are far more reprehensible.
They parrot propaganda when all they need fear is the loss of their job.