Wisdom and sense of humour are rare but great companions. They like to go their own ways. Understanding humour is like having to explain vaginal orgasm. It’s a gift we either have or don’t have. As it is difficult to describe the shades of a spectacular sunset to a colour-blind person – not to mention the other case – it is also hard to explain something funny to somebody who just doesn’t get it. Every explanation kills the hilarious, and each explication additionally complicates and burdens a situation that humour might otherwise ease. Justification but rarely eases or resolves much. Of course, we must deeply regret any such unjust distribution of wisdom and sense of humour in the human species, as we do any instance of injustice or inequality. But we should not comfortably lament this undeniably tragic state of affairs, nor hide in the safety of world-weariness and sadness where even stupidity is – more oft than not – appreciated. It’s much better to laugh out loud. In the words of Carlo Cipolla - in his narration of the historical role of pepper in maintaining the joy of life - this is our duty, because humour is »a palliative par excellence, which relieves tensions, resolves otherwise awkward situations, facilitates relationships and our interactions with one another«.* Through humour, this year’s City of Women Festival opens a new chapter in its thirteen years of presenting the artistic endeavours of women, with the goal of ensuring a more equal position of women artists and women in general within society. We shall no longer laugh only– although deeply embarrassed and with a sense of guilt – at jokes about blondes and impotent men, but at ourselves in a profound and frank affection for each other.

Dr. Mirjam Milharčič Hladnik

President of the Association for the Promotion of Women in Culture – City of Women

*Carlo M. Cipolla: Allegro ma non troppo: the role of spices (and pepper in particular) in the economic development of the Middle Ages and the basic laws of human stupidity (Ljubljana: Studio Humanitatis, Znanstvenoraziskovalni center SAZU, 2003).