Source – This has been a terribly sad time for clowns, those purveyors of happiness whose recorded history dates back to ancient Greece. Last year was possibly the pits.
Clowns witnessed the shuttering of venerable Ringling Bros., the largest and latest of circuses to close. The layoffs of regional Ronald McDonalds. The movie – don’t get them started – “It.”
It has been one packed clown car of woe. …
Recently, 240 entertainers assembled for the World Clown Association convention in Minnesota. In March.
Which prompts the question: Haven’t clowns suffered enough? …
“There’s no secret that clowning is taking a hit. It’s not something new,” former Ringling clown and International Clown Hall of Fame founder Greg DeSanto offered in his keynote address to the 36th annual convention, a tribute to Ringling Bros. “The kitsch thing to say is ‘I’m afraid of clowns.’ What do you think I’m going to do? Make you laugh?” …
[C]lowns were strenuously advised to abandon all whiteface and costumes in public. Stephen King, author of “It” and the murderous, sewer-dwelling Pennywise, was scorned repeatedly.
“I’ve been told that ‘You can’t come to the hospital. You’ll scare people.’ That was really heartbreaking,” says veteran Tricia “Pricilla Mooseburger” Manuel, 56, of Maple Lake, Minnesota. “It’s diminished my income. The damage is done in so many respects. There’s a whole generation that, when they think of a clown, they think of something scary.”
For as long as I can remember I’ve been guilty of clown hatred. One of my earliest memories is going to my cousin’s birthday party when we were preschoolers and my aunt giving me a party hat with a clown on it. Eventually I asked if she had anything else and she offered me a lion. And it was all I could do to not say “You had a lion this whole time and you gave me the frigging clown?” When my own kids were little, I specifically remember the fundraiser family event we went to where they had me close my eyes and led me across the park to where the clown was doing magic tricks, just to mess with me. But what I didn’t realize until this moment is how much my anti-clownism was hurting others.
They say that it’s natural for people to accept others and prejudice is learned behavior. So I guess somewhere along the line I picked up this particular brand of bigotry. It seemed harmless enough when my narrow-mindedness was directed at abstractions. Clowns whom I’d never have to look in the painted-on sad eyes. John Wayne Gacy. Bozo. The one that made me stop watching American Horror Story. Jerry Lewis in The Day the Clown Cried where he led Jewish children into Nazi gas chambers. The aforementioned Pennywise. But listening to the pain I’ve caused Priscilla Mooseburger is exactly the cold blast of seltzer water in the face I’ve needed.
So I’m proud of these noble entertainers from showing me the error of my ways. The World Clown Association has really twisted my soul into an animal shape on this one. And given my intolerance the giant shoed kick in the pants it deserves. From now on, consider me an advocate for them. I’m going to use my voice to raise awareness of clown acceptance and learn to love them as they want to be loved. In this, I hope they will accept my change of heart. And not torture me to death in the basement of an isolated abandoned house, the way I’ve always imagined it. Thank you, WCA.