Political power, at least in some societies, and anyway in our society, can give itself, and has actually given itself, the possibility of conveying its effects and, even more, of finding their source, in a place that is manifestly, explicitly, and readily discredited as odious, despicable, or ridiculous.
This grotesque mechanism of power, or this grotesque cog in the mechanism of power, has a long history in the structures and political functioning of our societies. There are striking examples of it in Roman history, especially in the history of the Roman Empire, where the almost theatrical disqualification of the origin of power in, and the coupling of every effect of power with, the person of the emperor was precisely a mode, if not of governing exactly, at least of domination: a disqualification that ensured that the person who possessed maiestas, that is to say, more power than any other power was, at the same time, in his person, his character, and his physical reality, in his costume, his gestures, his body, his sexuality and his way of life, a despicable, grotesque, and ridiculous individual.
We know that ethnologists... have clearly identified the phenomenon in which the person to whom power is given is at the same time ridiculed or made abject or shown in an unfavorable light, through a number of rites and ceremonies. Is this a case of a ritual for limiting the effects of power in archaic or primitive societies? Perhaps.
However, I would say that if these rituals still exist in our societies, their function is completely different. I do not think that explicitly showing power to be abject, despicable, Ubu-esqu or simply ridiculous is a way of limiting its effects and of magically dethroning the person to whom one gives the crown.
Rather, it seems to me to be a way of giving a striking form of expression to the unavoidability, the inevitability of power, which can function in its full rigor and at the extreme point of its rationality even when in the hands of someone who is effectively discredited.