As Halloween gets closer, I couldn’t help but write about the ‘Creepy Clown Craze’ that has now even made it’s presence across the pond!! My experience with clowns has been 50/50. I grew-up watching a Chicago live program called ‘Bozo’s Circus’ with Bozo & Cookie Clowns. How could you not love these redheaded jesters??
On the flip-flop, I also grew-up during the 70’s hearing about the local serial killer John Wayne Gacy that dressed as ‘Pogo the Clown’ for local fundraisers. Gacy murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men, and was nicknamed the ‘Killer Clown’. Now THIS GUY was a real, creepy clown.
In High School, I was talked into going to a midnight showing of ‘IT’, by a very cute boy. I don’t think I would have gone had I not been smitten with him. The nightmares from the movie lasted longer than our relationship! Ha! Even now, after all these years, I still can’t look at a drain in the same way.
I know many folks must be coulrophobic, or the movie would have flopped. Marketing gurus from the upcoming IT 2 movie have clearly stated had the clowns not been bothering children, this would have been a great ad campaign, however they can’t claim it as theirs.
The hubbub over clowns also has Ronald McDonald keeping a low profile.
Sociologist Robert Bartholomew from the Botany College in New Zealand has studied mass hysteria for years, and said the current clown scare is a result of two things in the U.S.: social media and a fear of otherness, whether it arrives in a limo or a refugee boat.
“Social media plays a pivotal role in spreading these rumor-panics which travel around the globe in the blink of an eye,” he said. “They are part of a greater moral panic about the fear of strangers and terrorists in an increasingly urban, impersonal, and unpredictable world.”
I found another view that I agree with more… I call it ‘Mob Mentality’, however the correct term is Social Contagion: when somebody does something unusual or out of the ordinary and it affects other people’s thinking. Think Monkey see, monkey do.
Copycat clowns are likely motivated by the idea of getting attention and making it into the news. They have seen the attention other clowns are receiving and want to experience the same.
Bill Indick, a professor of psychology at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, who specializes in media psychology, agrees that attention-seeking behavior is one explanation. However, he also thinks the media is to blame.
“The media propagates it, creates it, feeds it and at a certain point, gets tired of it. The media then digests it and eliminates it. And just as quickly as it started, it’s over.”
In the end, there are many young folks making huge mistakes following this craze. Two 14-year-old girls from Fresno, California were arrested in connection with threatening to shoot up schools in Fresno – all the while making references to clowns. Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the threats were serious and deemed to be felonies.
“Their future is ruined because of something this stupid,” he told reporters.
First there were vampires, then aliens, then clowns… what will be next? Furries??
© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl