THE HUMOROUS STYLE IN POLITICAL COMMUNICATION

Lubomir Stoykov
Prof. D. Sc. Lubomir Stoykov
– – Editor-in-Chief of
“Fashion Lifestyle Magazine”

It is obsolete that there is no place for jokes and happy moments in political communication. Humor melts the ice of over-seriousness and mistrust, contributes to overcoming protocol constraints, and contributes to better communication. Satire, irony and sarcasm, on the other hand, significantly soften direct blows and confrontations and limit damage by placing barriers in front of striking insults and indifference. Laughter and a smile create a friendly atmosphere, a good climate for meetings and high-level conversations. Along with everything else, the smiling politician is well received by his colleagues, journalists and the people he communicates with - directly or with the help of the media. Communicating with him is more pleasant and interesting. It is more attractive, desirable and easily admitted. Laughter is the key to both the most massive gates and the most inaccessible fortresses. The electorate initially has a positive attitude towards those political leaders whose humorous style is perfect. Wanted and desired are statesmen and diplomats who have a sense of humor, know how to joke and tolerate jokes with them.

Contrary to the stereotypical image of frowning kings and queens, Elizabeth II has a well-known sense of humor. She is a long-standing example in many ways, incl. and in her ability to accept and comment on various situations in everyday life and in official cases with a smile and ingenious remarks. At the end of Kate Middleton's first pregnancy in 2013, the queen joked that she gave her a maximum of eight more days to give birth, throwing in the line "It depends on whether I go on vacation!".

It is well known that Elizabeth II likes to joke with herself and especially with her age. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a speech on the Queen's 90th birthday and said that 12 Canadian prime ministers had changed during her reign, Elizabeth II replied ironically, "Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for making me feel so old!” This greatly embarrassed Trudeau, and he hurried to post a eulogy for her on Twitter.

Citing her credit for marking the 200th anniversary of the United States, US President George W. Bush made a slip of the tongue and instead of saying "in 1976," he said "in 1776," but then corrected himself. However, the Queen did not miss the opportunity to recall how he sent her in the 17th century, beginning his toast to Bush with the remark: "When I was here in 1776 ...". During an interview in connection with the shooting of a documentary about Her Royal Highness, a loud noise was heard from a flying helicopter. Dissatisfied with this fact, she noted: "Why is it flying over us when we are having a conversation? This helicopter makes as much noise as President Trump or President Obama!"

Are there dangerous jokes in political communication that should not be allowed? In principle, there should be no walls, barriers or prohibitions for humor. Still, it should not be forgotten that a successful political leader is the tuning fork of public opinion, people's beliefs and attitudes. If he is really devoid of humor and his jokes are flat and incomprehensible, it is better for him to refrain from trying to be original and witty - especially during crises, disasters and mass suffering. Otherwise, such jokes can only meet denial, overthrow and contempt. The phrase attributed to Queen Marie-Antoinette "When they have no bread, let them eat pasta!" Is well known in this respect.

In more recent times, proverbs have become proverbial that do not lead to a healthy laughter effect, but have both insidious and dangerous effects, whose boomerang mercilessly hits their author. For example, Ronald Reagan's decision to joke in his traditional radio address to the nation in 1984 during the rehearsal, i.e., when it is not yet on the air, it turns out to be a big problem in international relations.

In fact, the microphone was already on, and Reagan only thought no one could hear him say the frightening words: "My fellow Americans, I am pleased to inform you that today I signed a decree outlawing Russia forever. In five minutes, we will start bombing them.” These words of the American president terrify the listeners and cause great tension among the Russian authorities. The case is a textbook and indicative of the consequences of unmeasured jokes in front of the microphone.

I would advise political leaders to read and tell jokes about politicians more often, as there is a lot of truth in them, and to learn the lesson for themselves. I would advise them one more thing: when preparing their speeches, not to forget about laughter and not to be afraid to make fun of themselves, because one of the most serious shortcomings in the mentality of politics is to take it too seriously and imagine that is ingenious, unique and unrepeatable.

Unfortunately, wit, a sense of humor and the ability to grasp comedy in the political everyday life are in huge deficit in the public rhetoric of politicians. This deficit can be overcome with greater self-discipline, self-criticism and humor. Broad-minded politicians are not only not afraid to joke and have fun with others, but they do the same with themselves, telling jokes about themselves - anecdotes that are not always gentle and kind. But in this way, they gain approval - precisely with this broad thinking, with their tolerance for all satirical genres, incl. and to the cartoon and pamphlet.


Read: 5 times                                                  © Fashion Lifestyle Magazine, issue 115, November 2021

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