The purpose of a farce is laughter.
But when Bob Geldof describes the latest G8 summit as a farce [BBC News, June 8th 2007], he is not laughing. Nor was Danny Schechter when he described Live 8 as a farce [AlterNet, July 6th 2005].
To describe G8 or Live 8 as farce is an act of mockery, not one of despair. Bill Freind traces this tradition back to Marx; he suggests that "one of the best ways to critique global capitalism is through the satire, parody and outright derision that Marx employs in the Eighteenth Brumaire" [Bad Subjects, October 1999].
- Hegel writes: "all facts and personages of great importance in world history occur twice"
- Marx adds: "the first time as tragedy, the second as farce"
What would justify applying the label "farce" to both G8 and Live 8 is that they are arguably not real historical events. Like the reign of Louis Napoleon, which inspired Marx's most exuberantly humorous writing, they are merely parodies of earlier events, events which have already been consigned to what Trotsky called the "dustbin of history". G8 summits represent a fantasy-football version of the meetings between world leaders during the Second World War (Cairo, Tehran, Yalta, Potsdam), while Live 8 purported to be a reenactment of Live Aid.
In other words, entertainment value only.