In the future The Prime Minister’s Office should commit itself, on rare occasions, to act silly and issue small Karl Johan mushrooms of copper together with humorous official letters made by the same ministry’s civil servants.
It may appear as an innocent, ridiculous, unattainable, arrogant or misplaced idea. But I take humor very seriously and would like to ask my reader to hear what I have to say here. Having worked with humor throughout my fourty-year-old life and every day trying to be funny, I have to say that there is something mysterious, unique and liberating in humor that irony can not be compared with. I am therefore pleased that my countryman Søren Kierkegaard distinguished sharply between irony and humor.
To me it’s a big step forward that our government officials in the future will commit themselves to rarely distribute these copper mushrooms and diplomas to ordinary citizens. It does not require a constitutional amendment. Nor does it does it require large financial resources. And it does not necessarily require outside help in the form of stand-ups, who often are cynics and ironics. It does not require a referendum and does not require a vote in the Parliament. This requires a well-considered decision by the Prime Minister.
In all these years since democracy was invented in Greece we have got accustomed to the idea that the state should have a human face. But it must have more than that. It must have a soul. And what is a soul without humor? What is Denmark without hygge? I could ask? What is hygge without humor?
The artists who have been paid by the state for many years to create sculptures that fit into the different spaces of the cities have failed today. The most significant sculptural artwork in Europe, the Holocaust monument in the heart of Berlin, has failed today because German neo-Nazis have now been elected to the European Parliament. Its serious and effective symbolism when you experience it by strolling through the creepy corridors between the concrete blocks has today been eroded. Well, we artists have become too arrogant.
Most people who know a little about political science knows that the Prime Minister’s Office is not the most fashionable ministry. It is considered almost to be a bit outmoded. Not as fashionable as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance. But what is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs? Why go abroad when we feel so good in Denmark? What is the Ministry of Finance? Dazzled by growth. No, the most fashionable ministry is, in my view, The Prime Minister’s Office.
Power and humor. Self Sufficiency. Where there is power there is also inequality. You may think it is nice that we have a representative democracy and accept that those who sit in the parliament have power. Well, I think so too, but there is still something wrong with it. It has evolved into a world of civil servants. There are also many professional politicians. And I must remind you that one of democracy’s midwifes Socrates clearly felt that those interested in power should not have it just because they can walk and laugh like officials and speak the right way.