Friday, January 15, 2010


This post over at LeeAnn’s place got me thinking about something I normally don’t think about a whole lot.


A commenter at the above-noted post got right to the point: “I fucking hate clowns,” a statement that set the Elissonian Thought-Wheels a-spinning.

Most normal, rational people I know do not care much for clowns. Their attitudes toward these greasepainted buffoons range from a vague, mild sense of unease or discomfort to active, vitriolic loathing... but nary a one will see a clown and think, “I like that!” Or even, “I find this fellow with the greasepaint makeup, rubber proboscis, and flamboyantly colored Dynel wig amusing!

Chilipepper Clown
Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Even youngsters - the Target Demographic for clown-antics - rarely seem to like clowns. Most kids are terrified of ’em. And you can’t blame Stephen King, whose Pennywise the Clown embodied generation upon generation of childish coulrophobia in his 1986 novel It. He didn’t create that fear; he merely exploited it. Trotting out the Evil Clown in the service of popular entertainment was a way of acknowledging the essential truth of the stereotype.

When you see an army of clowns exiting a Volkswagen, do you laugh? Or do you think to yourself, “Damn, I wish I had thought to lock that car... and set it on fire. Now it’s too late.”

I like Robin Williams. He’s a brilliant comedian and a talented, multifaceted actor. But whenever I see a picture of the character he plays in Patch Adams (a doctor who wears a rubber clown nose in order to amuse the terminally ill patients under his care), I don’t think “Ewwww, excessively mawkish and sentimental.” I think, “Fuck! A clown nose!” and I want to kick him until he bleeds from the eyeballs.

Look: Clowns serve a purpose. Not to entertain, for almost nobody finds them entertaining. Imagine, though, that you are an employer, and you wish to screen prospective and/or current employees in order to avoid unfortunate situations, such at the Fort Hood, Texas massacre... or the recent shootings at a Penske rental location in Kennesaw, Georgia. In short, you want to know whether your candidate is fucked up in the head.

All you have to do is administer a short psychological test, a test consisting of a single question:

“Do you like clowns?”

If the answer is yes, then you know that that person is fucked up in the head. Q.E.D.

Evil Clown
©1997 Georgia Maher.

Update: It must be Evil Clown Month on Madison Avenue. Check it out...

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