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Letter from the Editor –The fears of a clown

clown in a local parade
Send away the clowns? Well, maybe next year.

Hollywood, MD – As Halloween and Election Day both approach, one cannot help but reflect on 2016 so far and lament what a lousy year this has been for clowns. Yes, the beloved crazies with their rainbow faces, silly grins, frizzy hair, bad clothes and lapel flowers that gently and mischievously shoot water into the faces of innocent people have lately been the subject of police advisories and panicky reactions from America’s authority figures.

How did this happen? Why are major retailers clearing their shelves and clothes racks of clown costumes, masks and clown props? Why are schools sending home notes to parents stating that children will not be allowed to dress as clowns for school-sanctioned Halloween parties? These are clowns, not terrorists! It’s like we're living in a Bizarro World where what is supposed to be funny has become serious.

Recently, the New York Times—no, not the New York Post, the New York Times—published a few articles dealing with the “creepy clown” controversy.  Apparently, this issue has been festering since the early 1980s and is just now becoming huge.
“Clowns are now everywhere and they are commanding our attention,” wrote University of Georgia professor Shira Chess, who explained anecdotal accounts of bad clowns are being shared on social media. “The clown panic is a manifestation—or has been built out—of what we are truly afraid of. In other words, the question, ‘Are the clowns real?’ is beside the point. The question we should be asking ourselves is, ‘What are we really afraid of?’ ”

Here’s another theory for you—somebody is trying to kill off the centuries-old tradition of the circus. This entertainment genre is dying anyway. This is going to finish it off for good. Protesters show up when the circus rolls into town, deriding circus officials for keeping elephants, lions and tigers in captivity and performing amazing stunts for the audience’s entertainment. At least one circus has phased out the elephants—where are they supposed to go now? So now the protesters can broaden their horizons and take offense to the presence of clowns as well. Watch out, trapeze artists, the PC crowd may be coming after you next!

So now that clowns have become undesirable we will have to get our laughs from glib political pundits, radio announcers, scatological standup comics, barbers, ministers and school teachers—as if those last three groups don’t have enough work on their hands already.

The phased-out clowns will be missed, just you wait and see. I predict all of them will leave big shoes to fill.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the management and staff of The BayNet.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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