Friday, April 30, 2010

Ain't No Hate Like Clown Hate (Your Childhood Fears Realized)

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So this rant begins as a lot of things do nowadays, with K-Pop. A few weeks ago, diva Lee Hyori released a track called “Swing” ahead of the release of her fourth album. Bear with me, this is important, I swear. Within days the video appeared.

WARNING YOU SCARY MOTHERFUCKING PUSSIES, THE FOLLOWING LINK CONTAINS A CLOWN!!!




Now despite the depth of the MV's implied storyline most of the discussion provoked was along the lines of “I fucking hate clowns. Augh, DO NOT WANT.”

So that nonsense got me wondering. Clowns aren't all that bad. In fact, they're entertainers.

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I'm inquisitive by nature, so my mind immediately started working to figure out what possible trauma could've led to such an illogical, compulsive hatred. The most prominent and commonly admitted reasons is Pennywise of “Stephen King's It”, a 1990 television miniseries.

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Unfortunately, I had responsible parents, so I managed to avoid any trauma that could've been inflicted by watching a horror series involving the murder of children. I actually didn't watch it until after I began to brainstorm for this post. As an adult Pennywise is darkly humorous, creepy and downright fucking eerie. He is a suitable boogeyman, but in the early 90s we had enough real boogeymen to be afraid of without allowing fictional ones to dominate us. (Man in the white van, anyone?)

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All in all, “It” is an enjoyable flick, a bit overlong due to it being a miniseries, but to date, no nightmares (I'm writing this blog over a month since I first thought of the idea). My conclusion: If your parents knew you were watching this back in 1990 (for reference's sake, I would've been 5) and allowed you to, they were either shitty or evil. (My money's on evil.)

Now that the prerequisite discussion is out of the way, off to journey into further supposition as to figure out the root of your stupid, stupid fears.

On the list of horrifying TV shows that was moderately okay for older children to watch back in the 90s, “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” topped it. The show's setup was a group of kids (The Midnight Society) meeting together to tell ghost stories around a campfire. The stories were then acted out for our pleasure.

Relevance:



Never saw “It” as a kid, but I saw this. It didn't create a phobia of clowns, but I did grow up to be scared of Funhouses. Honest to God.

Clown Hate

Okay, here we go, diving waist deep into the Clown Hate. Hope you brought chest high waders and a hazmat suit to traverse this shit ocean.

Operating off of my assumption that clowns are intended to be entertainers, and humorous ones at that, there's an easy way to dislike clowns. Nowadays, with all of our access to high brow comedy (yeah, I'm laughing too) clowns seem dreadfully passé. For the most part, they just seem to fail to meet the requirement of being funny, often falling into the realm of just sad, then pathetic, then “wow we should probably laugh to make this dude feel better” and finally into “holy shit it's hilarious how much his life sucks”. Now this doesn't say that there aren't talented clowns out there (btw, has anyone seen a circus lately?), just that our exposure to birthday party clowns would probably leave a bad taste in most people's mouths.

I don't ever remember watching his show, but as a kid I saw commercials for it a lot, so my early memories of what a clown looked like were this guy:

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Bozo always seemed like a pretty cool guy, he wears a bald cap and pom poms and doesn't afraid of anything. Wait, where was I?

Right, bad clowns. Bozo wasn't particularly scary, but he was kind of creepy, in that whole wow, this creepy old guy is trying far too hard to entertain children sort of way.

More Legitimate Evil Clowns

John Wayne Gacy If you don't know about this guy, you aren't truly afraid of clowns, and you don't really know much about pop culture. While he did present a serious threat as a murdering birthday party clown (and I'm willing to go on the record of saying that he's probably maybe the only one we have on record), Mr. Gacy was only a threat if you were a young teenage boy between the years of 1972 and 1978, and he's pretty dead right now.

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What? I watched Scooby Doo as a kid. Remember, that just like this one, it's just a man in a suit, and they can all be defeated by doobie smoking hippie teens and their dog too.

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Next is that fictional diabolical madman and Batman's eternal archnemesis “The Joker”. I could wax poetical on him for hours, but then I'd end up not completing this post and it's already headed past three pages. If nothing else, the man is dedicated to both comedy and evil, and he has a strange sense of honor.

“Harley Quinn” is his sidekick, lover and former psychiatrist. She is also the source of many a nerd boner.



(Don't ask me for the other parts of the episode either, just know it's called “Mad Love” and is pretty awesome).

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Hisoka, also known as straight pimping, the clown you'd never want to fuck with, and “Protect your hole or he'll take your soul” is the fifth main character in the Hunter x Hunter manga and anime series, but the man cleanly steals the show. He is of course, as we mentioned here a sadistic pedophile that is made of so much pure win and awesome that you'd probably sacrifice your son's virginity to him in a heartbeat, that is, if he doesn't murder you first because it's a day of the week that ends in “Y”.

Not Evil Fictional Clown (See I can make this even more anime-related)

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Pierrot isn't evil. I think. Anyway, he's kickass and so is his little wonder of a show/manga. See what we thought of him here, SPOILERS: We think he's pretty fucking hardcore awesome, almost as great as Hisoka, except for the whole not being a sadistic murderer bit. (Not going to swear on his not being a pedophile though).

Positives of Clowns

Now, Clowns aren't all that bad, in fact they do quite a few things for the betterment of society (also money). This is going to be in list form cause it's getting long.
  • Balloon animals (these are marvels of modern engineering)
  • Face Paint (Oh don't even act like you don't want a spiderman mask made from cheap paint)
  • Candy
  • Limited Magic Tricks
  • Slapstick Comedy (One of the few original American styles of comedy)
  • The two hosts of this awesome podcast Keith & Chemda used to work as clowns before their 'cast hit it big and they now live off of it. (Not that I'm jealous or anything).
  • Just all of this

Now, to return to my original intention of figuring out just what makes they with coulrophobia tick (Want to go deeper into it than just me thinking they're nancy boys). I know there's probably some sort of animal instinct that tells us to fear or fight that which is covered in makeup that makes them unrecognizable as a fellow human being, and the desire to wear outrageous colors, a rubber nose and giant floppy shoes isn't exactly common. You just can't, as a sane human being look at someone that dresses up as a clown and think to yourself “Wow, this person is just the poster child for sanity”, and you're probably right.

Why Clowns May Be Slightly Crazy

  • Children Suck (This is universal fact, if you've ever worked with young kids, you know they can be equal parts angelic and equal parts pure unadulterated spawn of Satan. Working a thankless job like “Children's entertainer” only exposes you to even more of their dickery.)
  • Parents suck more (Seriously, when you hire someone, please actually supervise your spawn instead of just subjecting them to the kid's evil while getting drunk/fucking your mistress in the backyard (lol euphemism)/hanging out with your pals.)
  • Degrading yourself for a paycheck isn't fun at all, or healthy. (Especially if you have the “It's just a job” mentality. If you truly love it, good on ya, hope it works out.)

Why Clown Haters are just Bedwetting Pussies (tl;dr PUSSY)

Ah, the ad hominem part of this post. I'd go into more detail, but I'm pretty sure the following is mighty straight-forward.

  • At two years old you're afraid of anyone in makeup (Your parents were shit for hiring a clown at an age where you're too young to comprehend that it's just a person in makeup, not some sort of horrifying man-beast that wants to claw your face off and eat it).
  • Stephen King's It is just a movie/miniseries/whatever, Pennywise won't summon himself or nightmares in any body of water and pull you into his deadlights. It just won't happen.

And finally, when it comes to forming this fear, I bet none of you have a documented case (in your own life) of a clown abusing you or a close relative. If you do, I'm truly sorry for your lots.

















Almost made it through this post without throwing up this pic. Coulrophobes,

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1 comments:

BOYWEC said...

After reading your post, I also thought about what makes people fear clowns? Well, other than having some mentally scarring memory involving people in make-up and big fluffy wigs, I think it has to do with how it can be anyone behind the make-up. Most perents teach their kids to fear and to stay away from strangers, and because clowns are random people dressed in crazy outfits, makes them the defition of strangers. The fear of clowns could just be a product of a person's environment and upbringing... Either that, or they are just pussies.

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