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The summer months (in the UK at least), are often called The Silly Season, because, I guess, all the serious people are on holiday. The phrase originally referred to the period when the law courts and parliament were in recess.

More recently it has been associated with frivolous stories in the media, journalists scraping the bottom of the news barrel for something, anything, to write about (now that we have 24 hour news but the same sized barrel this is no longer only a summer phenomenon, but that’s another story).

Life is serious, some say. Paradoxically, the people who say it loudest are often the silliest, most posturing and obviously self-interested ones among us. Silliness threatens them, and they don’t like it. Maybe that’s why repressive regimes often produce the best comedians; humour flourishes in schools and dictatorships as a bonding agent and an aid to survival.

So I’m wondering if, in open and free societies, silliness and humour are in decline. I hope not and – though this might seem like a frivolous post – I’m making a serious point.

We need to foster and encourage silliness precisely because it helps keep us sane, and because it threatens the system. We can all help by doing out bit each day.

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