Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Threat of the Clown

Wanted to get a great clown cartoon image for the previous post and so I, of course, googled "clown cartoon." Very telling endeavor to uncover the way the internet society views clowns. A few observations:

Out of the first 20 clowns displayed the breakdown is as follows
3 dunce clown cartoons,

4 sad clown cartoons,

5 neutral/happy clown cartoons

7 evil clown cartoons.

What the? Why so many evil clown images?
I have a friend who works at Clowns Without Borders and we got into a conversation about this the other day he said,
"When people tell me they hate clowns and I ask them why, I often find, its just a line. They're just saying that because that's the cool thing to say."
The next day I was talking to someone and they said, "I honestly hate clowns" and I said, "Oh yah, why's that?" And sure enough they said, "Oh, no not really. Actually I'm just saying that."

This image though is also very telling.

The fear of putting on the nose...The caption below says, "Sammy...For the last time...Its just a nose, not an demonic omen." If you follow through with this image, what happens? He puts on the clown nose, Krusty attacks. So often our society teaches us to grow up, stop "clowning" around. What are we really afraid of then? Being spontaneous. In many Eastern religions, the fool is the person who has let go of all worldly possessions and wanders with out attachment. Byron Katie often says something along the lines of, "What would your life be like if you lost everything that you believe is precious to you?" "Who are you then?" It's scary to imagine. I agree. And yet, there is a certain freedom to it as well.
Another noteworthy fact from my google search. It wasn't until the 39th image that a woman clown cartoon showed up. There was a fish clown before it even. And you can see below it was her womanly features that were the object of humor. Is that a horn honk or is she farting? The balloon even looks disgusted. Naively oblivious to her absurd state. Where does the clown reclaim its power? And where do we resign to be either clueless or a threat?

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