One recent morning, one of my regular email subscriptions brought me this:
English Word of the Day from Oxford Dictionaries
Your word for today is: coulrophobia - extreme or irrational fear of clowns
I don’t fear clowns, but I certainly don’t like them. When I saw the word entry, it reminded me that I’d posted about clowns before. I’ll have a comment or two after, but meanwhile - in August of 2013, I posted:
Did you see this article from Smithsonian on That first picture could send you screaming off into the night. Smithsonian didn’t have to tell me that clowns are scary – I’ve been a non-fan, shall we say, all of my life. I kinda liked Emmett Kelley’s Weary Willy when I saw him at the circus when I was a little kid. Was he the clown that swept the spotlight into the corner of the ring and then ‘under the rug’? (Yes, he was, I looked it up!) But it’s all a blur.
And I never did like Clarabelle or Bozo. My sister got to go on the Howdy Doody Show – she won a pair of ice skates – but I didn’t care for that show. I got to go on Buster’s Buddies – no clowns – and I won a Toni Doll. Remember those? Anyway, I knew there had to be an innate reason for my not liking those big red-mouthed clowns. I’ll be darned if I can find a current on-line reference to it, but years ago I read that the wide red mouth evolved from the Renaissance practice of slitting the clown’s mouth to make a wide grin. Gruesome!
I do remember thinking the bit where clowns got stuffed in the tiny car was really stupid. Who knows why – it just struck a sour note in me. But the rest of the circus – I loved it! I loved the elephants and the big cats, the high wire acts and the acrobats, and remember the man who balanced on just one finger? Neat stuff. I haven’t been to the circus in eons – the memories will suffice.Clowns themselves evolved from the motley-dressed court jesters of the Middle Ages who could answer back to anyone, even the king, and were given a wide range of freedoms enjoyed by no others, and were often the impetus for change. I am a fan of Never mind sending in the clowns, send in the jesters – they’re no fools, and this world could use quite a few of them. who has written a wonderful series of mysteries around a jester and The Fools Guild – Thirteenth Night is the first in the series.
Back to today – August 2018. I had to laugh at the last sentence of that post – “send in the jesters.” Well, two years ago the great American electorate sent in no jester: they sent in a clown. Funny thing though, he doesn’t make me laugh. He makes me cringe. He gives me a case of coulrophobia.
Ha! I went to find a picture of our president as a clown - there was quite a selection. And there I found this:
A circus is just what we've got.