Those old service sector jobs (Ansichten eines Clowns)

At first they came for the clowns, and I said nothing:

Then McDonald’s terminated its regional Ronald McDonald program at the end of last year, though it’s vague about the reasons for the move…

One former Ronald, who believes their number was as high as 300 nationally, said he earned $64,000 in 2016, plus a $2,000 expense account, a car, and health and dental insurance, a fortune in clowning.

Now, that sort of income and security may be disappearing.

“Young people have not been excited by clowns,” says Richard “Junior” Snowberg, a World Clown Association founder and a retired professor [sic]. “They’re more excited by entertainment on screens.”

The World Clown Association has 2,400 members, about half its peak membership in the 1990s.

I believe roboclowns are not to blame, nor is it trade with China:

“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, Minn. “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.”

Though, Manuel adds, “people still love us in nursing homes.”

That is from Karen Heller at The Washington Post, via Michael Rosenwald and Mark Thorson.


Who cares about clowns?

Mood affiliated Straussian virtue signalling status seekers?

After all, don't young people still dream of running away to get under the big top?

Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus closed in 2017. There's nowhere left to run to, and the media seems very keen on attacking almost any animal-based attraction, like Sea World.

Don't be a clown - you know you just wanted to be the first poster and didn't know what else to say. Put down the device and get a life. Very sad.



"Send in the clowns".

They should pack it in and go to the London School of Economics.

The clowns can easily find high level jobs in the Trump White House.

+1. The Joker could be hired as Clown in Chief (CiC)

Given that the Obama Administration's foreign policy was written by a failed novelist whose only policy credential was a Masters in Fine Arts (Creative Writing), the Clowns would be an improvement.

The word clown has taken on an entirely new meaning, from something to bring laughter and joy to mockery and derision. For example: Donald Trump is a clown.

I am amazed at how many intelligent people try to aim a blow at Trump and end up not only hitting themselves in the face, but looking ill bred, petty and classless at the same time.

Score one for Trump I expect. Too many people are merely credentialed rather than actually decent quality.

SMFS -- You need to look at what these people are really saying. Which is:

"I voted for the drunken felon who got her ass kicked in the election, and I've spent the last 18 months being extremely bitter and angry. I've learned nothing, and still feel superior to everyone. I choose to demonstrate this by inserting Trump into literally any online conversation, because he lives rent-free in my head 24/7/365."

LOL Hillary lives in your head tho

Notice how Trump defenders don't really bother defending Trump. They simply criticize criticism of Trump.

Was the ever a time people liked clowns? Even to me as a kid attending a traditional circus they were the most irritating part of the show.

The reason for termination of these numerous red haired clowns

Is that

They could not compete with one red haired clown in the White House.

Someone else beat you by four


I am interested in this topic as a fascinating exercise in social evolution. The "I'm scared of clowns" meme was nonexistent until: (a) a few movies in which clowns were the evildoers and (b) the John Gacy story in 1978. No doubt there individuals who were scared of clowns, of course, but it wasn't a social thing. Somehow over the last 30 years it became fashionable to claim to be afraid of clowns, which of course then leads children to adopt that fear through the zeitgeist. Depending on how you feel about the frisson of fear, welfare is then diminished as the public enjoys clowns less and fewer people can make a living as clowns.

Stephen King's novel "IT" did damage too.

The topic is far from socially fascinating. It's just routine media hype.

The same media that says you should be terrified of seeing a man at a playground unless he has a child within six feet of him has had no problem blaring a headline when a criminal wears a clown costume.

I agree. it is fascinating. From my 60+ years POV, one day I woke up and -- clowns were scary. Somehow. I agree re your movies hypothesis, but then why did those movies do the number on clowns, but didn't really change the image of hockey goalies to one of psychotic murderers (despite the prevalence of fiends in movies wearing goalie masks). There must be a sociology PhD thesis out there on this. But more broadly, what makes this happen for a wide range of things? Sometimes technology (roller skates became roller blades), sometimes generational ('blue plate specials" evaporated), beats me. You could call it "A Broad Inquiry Into Changes in the Zeitgeist That Just Snuck Up On Old White Guys."

Cue any number of Grandpa Simpson/Montgomery Burns jokes.

Used to laugh at those jokes. Now I find them hurtful. Hurtful I tell you.

Maybe hockey masks are so much more common. We all probably see guys in hockey masks on TV flipping through, we probably have known some hockey players even if we don't watch the sport. The vast majority of people only ever saw clowns a few times in their life and probably didn't know anyone who was a clown.

I slightly disagree. The loathing of clowns rolled out more like a slow motion preference cascade. It was unthinkable in the past to say "I strongly dislike clowns" because of the bad signal it would send. With evil clown films and Gacy (etc) contributing to the idea that it might be OK to actually publicly express dislike for clowns, general clown loathing was inevitable. Preference cascades are kindof neat.

To sum up: Everyone hates clowns. Everyone has always hated clowns. Clowns are terrible.

I agree with this. I'm going to tack on my theory that the clown archetype (specifically the red-hair, white face, ruffled collar type clown) originally referred to Queen Elizabeth I. But the trope somehow managed to perpetuate itself through tradition decade after decade, long after everyone forgot what the whole point of it was, and the comedy was thus lost. Do note that bum type clowns (i.e. Charlie Chaplin) are still somewhat funny, just not the ruffled collar, red wig kind.

Another fine, orange haired, initially underrated political leader...

Now I know what the next clown archetype, which we will have to endure for the next several centuries, is going to look like.

I don't think it was the movies.

In the 50s and 60s, one of the most successful clowns was Bozo the Clown, who eventually became a franchise. Performers used Bozo and created many local television shows. What Bozo also did was create the idea of a "birthday" clown, a clown you would specifically hire as an entertainer for young children's parties, as opposed to a theatrical or circus clown. That idea started around the 60s and 70s, about the time when the distaste for them was starting.

I think by taking the clown and suddenly thrusting him point blank into children's faces eventually caused that trauma. The same vibrantly colored costumes used on stage become oppressive or possibly horrific when close. Exaggerated physical motions and buffoonery make sense when viewing them far away but might be dangerous close, especially to kids who enjoy the predictable.

Yet it has long been common sense that clowns are sad and angry, thanks to Pierrot, Pagliacci, and Smokey Robinson.

And don't forget Krusty

What else is there to say?

"Though, Manuel adds, “people still love us in nursing homes.”"

Manuel is 56 and the average age people enter nursing homes is 79, which for him would be in the year 2041. I've been to 2041 and there are no nursing homes then.

Speaking of clowns...

heh. You are thinking along the lines of 2035, perhaps? Maybe, but that seems too optimistic for me.

“people still love us in nursing homes.” So that's good news for several senior Democrat politicians: Pelosi, Hillary, Maxine someone-or-other, they can all look forward to spending time in the company of literal clowns.

Side thought but has anyone else wondered if the original clowns were supposed to be parodies of Queen Elizabeth I? What with the ruffled collar, red curly hair, and white face makeup, the resemblance is sort of striking. Does the clown archetype date back to Elizebethan times, and if so, how many centuries of ruffled collars do we need to endure before someone comes up with a new idea?

Joseph Grimaldi is often considered the origin of modern clowning. He was more than a century past Elizabeth I.

"There’s nothing more depressing for people than a clown they feel sorry for. It’s like a waiter coming up in a wheelchair to bring you your beer."

Heinrich Boll The Clown

Rodeo clowns may be an exception as they actually serve a purpose, to protect the contestants when the liivestock gets too ornery

I recall the spate of clown-lurking-in-the-woods reports during the 2016 election campaign, with Tim Kaine becoming the butt of some related jokes.

I know ... Tim Who?

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