5 APRIL 1963, Page 10

Pardon Toilers in the British satire industry in search of

badly needed new ideas might do worse than consult the German satirical monthly Pardon. Its March number, featuring President de Gaulle, shows once again (if it needed showing) hoW much more fiercely adult this kind of thing is on the Continent. The pages devoted to demon- strating that de Gaulle is no Hitler are a denun- ciation which, I should imagine, would cause as much unease as • amusement in the French embassy in Bonn. 'Two basic differences,' reads one caption, 'Hitler took Napoleon for the greatest Frenchman. De Gaulle on the con- trary takes de Gaulle for the greatest Frenchn-.an. Hitler underestimated the thirty-second President of the USA. De Gaulle on the con- trary underestimates the thirty-fifth President of the USA.' The proof seems conclusive, and even more so that of the superior brutality of Par- don. I suppose that the difference in seriousness from our own satirists is partly due to the fact that we have no bien-pensant upper or middle class in the continental manner. Here we are deplorably prone to laugh at satire of ourselves, thereby making the fortune of satirists, but also degrading them into entertainers.