Monday, March 5, 2012

Oh the nightmares!

Well, the image here is a lot smaller than I'd have liked, but you can always click on it to see it in better detail and larger and stuff.

My point is this: WHY, gentle reader, do CLOWNS make us all do that skitchy Heebie Jeebie dance? Why do we, in our modern age of wonder, so dislike clowns? Ask me, I even hate the word "CLOWN". Geck. It just hangs there. You know? Leering at you. Daring you to say it again. ugh. No thanks.

However, today's dissertation will delve into my loathe of clowns and likely a lot of yours too - I'm going to discuss my theory on why it is clowns just bug the hell out of all of us these days. To wit: Coulrophobia.

My thesis starts here. In the olden days. When kings had "fools" come in and do tricks and acrobatics and tell jokes to kindof pass the time and distract them from the horrible boredom of unimaginable wealth.

Then operas got written about these noble fools who had the cajones (and permission) to kindof make fun of social injustice and political dumassery right to the faces of the dumbasses themselves. Plays and books and lots of great stuff got written about these [men].

Then something happened. Clowns started making fun of things, not to bring attention to them for the benefit of the privileged; but rather to pile on to existing jokes about the poor, the minorities, the deformed, ... and ultimately to grind salt into the wounds of the underserved.

That's what gets me, I think. You go from the Italian Pagliacci straight to Steven King's IT and it's not hard to understand why we don't want those colorful, sneering marionettes in our bedrooms anymore.

Look at my own childhood go-to: Blinky the Clown. He's a hobo-type, right? With the bad clothes, the red nose, the face paint suggesting he doesn't shave right, the mouth that might be misconstrued as somehow racially unflattering, and the red hair. Seems to me (and he was just as friendly as could be, by the way, and I loved him) that the "laugh" that's intended here is about making fun of homeless people. Red nose? Drunk people.

And that's just not funny these days. People who walk around in horribly sized, horribly mismatched clothes, and have grizzly medical conditions stemming from substance abuse, well that's just sad now. We don't LAUGH at those people (short of people of walmart), we offer them social services and medical attention. We try to help the hoarders and un-cat the cat ladies. Sure, the archetypes ARE kindof funny still because they're still unusual... but the balloon-y sikly pants and the red hair and the red nose... that's just not going to get the message across anymore.

And then what are you left with? You're left with a grown-ass man in too much face paint, mugging at you in a costume that suggests some kind of motive that you just can't grasp. Cue the alarm bells. You know? You're left with a boisterous woman making balloon animals and being perfectly wonderful except for how she's also wearing all kinds of stuff that masks who she really is. I'm creeped out by ANYONE who is covered up that much. Orange and green hair or no.

Spinning ties or not, I don't care to hug strangers and that's what you're supposed to do with clowns. You're supposed to laugh at them.

and that's just... mean.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe our societal fear of clowns comes from someplace else; some other well of evil. But for me, even though I ADORED Blinky's fun club, Clowns are just downright wrong and there's just no place for them anymore.

It doesn't make SENSE to laugh at someone because they're homeless, fat, Irish, or disabled.

Not anymore.
And can I have a little quiet Halleluja! on that note? Friggin' finally.

So yeah. Be proud that clowns bug you. Be glad that even though your husband used to do birthday parties in face paint... he doesn't anymore but still tells great third-grader jokes about elephants with red toenails. Allow yourself a bit of pride that on a cellular level, your whole body recognizes that clowns just don't fit anymore.

Because they don't. And that's actually really GREAT news!

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