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A funny picture is worth a thousand Chinese proverbs

Clods' Letters to Mad, a compendium of the most unintentionally funny letters received by Mad magazine during the 1970s, gives a great—albeit fictional—example of the power of political ridicule, the topic of my new article in The American Spectator online. Clods' Letters' introduction tells the story of a Chinese man whose name was lost to posterity after he paraphrased the Chinese proverb, “A picture is worth a thousand words” into “A funny picture is worth a thousand Chinese proverbs.” The subject of the funny picture? The emperor.