Days [ ) Laughter | Milan Kundera, 1978

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couple 1950s
couple 1950s

“You certainly remember this scene from dozens of films: a boy and a girl are running hand in hand in a beautiful spring (or summer) landscape. Running, running, running and laughing. By laughing the two runners are proclaiming to the whole world, to audiences in all the movie theaters: “We’re happy, we’re glad to be in the world, we’re in agreement with being!” It’s a silly scene, a cliche, but it expresses a basic human attitude: serious laughter, laughter “beyond joking.”

All churches, all underwear manufacturers, all generals, all political parties, are in agreement about that kind of laughter, and all of them rush to put the image of the two laughing runners on the billboards advertising their religion, their products, their ideology, their nation, their sex, their dishwashing powder.”

Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, 1978

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