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There’s been an “epidemic of clown sightings” in the USA this past week, and we’re not talking about the Trump rallies, although both are bizarre. The craze of crazies has spread to the dis-United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, although the police in Gladstone “were unable to locate anyone fitting the description” of a reported sighting.
There is a word for a fear of clowns – coulrophobia – which is not listed (yet?) in the World Health Organisation’s ICD-10 nor in the DSM-5 categorisation of disorders of the American Psychiatric Association.
Perhaps it should be because the fear is real. Young children are “very reactive to a familiar body type with an unfamiliar face … and that much clown behaviour is ‘transgressive’ (anti-social behavior) can create feelings of unease which carry through to adulthood.”
Clown history can be traced back nearly 5,000 years. Every regime needs fools to puncture pomposity, and that is the role of clowns, a more recent manifestation associated with circuses.
In our current world of ‘selfies’, of smug self-satisfaction spread through (anti)social media, Jakartass believes that the gaze into the inner depths of our psyches can only be a good thing. Confronting our own fears helps us look outwards and to see those real evils in the world beyond our immediate horizons.
We need fools and asses.
But stop and think a moment: behind that painted smile, grimace or leer…