Follow by Email

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Clowns Are Coming

Many years ago, I wrote about my love of clowns. I am in a distinct minority. Today, due to John Wayne Gacy and Stephen King, clowns are seen as sinister people with murderous intent. My generation grew up with clowns on TV, from Emmett Kelly to Clarabelle to the Town Clown to Bozo. Now clowns are anathema to children. The other day one of my students came up to me and said, "The clowns are coming."

Apparently, this is a thing. It it is not true that clowns killed 23 people in Canada, or that it is okay to kill clowns on sight, or the sale of clown masks has been banned. But I would think it unwise to go as a clown this Halloween.

What is true is a photo project may have started all this. The photo to the left is from a project by a couple who took pictures of a man in a clown suit in various places around Wasco, California. They went viral, and copycats started (there is particularly eerie security footage of a clown banging on a drum on someone's porch in Florida). I can find no evidence that anyone has been hurt, but rumors and hoaxes are rampant. Here in Las Vegas, the facts are murky, but apparently someone dressed as a clown rang a doorbell and ran, and now all the kids think the clown apocalypse is happening. Our principal, a man who takes no bullshit, said if he saw a clown on school property there would be "clown pieces."

While I'm fascinated by clowns, particularly as they seem to be referred to as a species rather than an occupation, it is not hard to understand their creepiness. They are associated with children, though children really don't like them (this has got to have hammered the party clown business). Thus there is a suggestion of pedophilia. It's kind of like a single man buying a mini-van. Psychologists explain that the fear of clowns stems from them being in disguise, thus there is an element of distrust--just what are they hiding (James Stewart, in The Greatest Show on Earth, was a clown to hide from the law).

This is a very interesting social phenomenon--most of these sightings have been of people simply standing around in a clown outfit. There are rumors of some of them chasing cars (and I've seen videos of some clowns getting the shit kicked out of them) but what they are doing is not illegal. But it is so damaging to the collective psyche of many people, including children, that it seems like a crime wave.

So for you honest, hard-working, balloon-folding clowns, I sympathize. It's not going to get better: a remake of It is on the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment