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Letters to the Editor

Tue., Dec. 1, 2009

Modern-day tricksters

I always thought coulrophobia (fear of clowns) was rather silly. After all, Ronald McDonald isn’t out there to scare the kiddies, but to entice them in.

And how about Lucy, Red Skelton, Carol Burnett and the Little Tramp? And clowns piling out of a little VW Beetle?

And then I did some reading.

Clowns are the modern-day versions of the court jester, or the king’s fool. They wore tights and pointy hats with bells.

They had two functions. One was to entertain the court when required, with song and dance, juggling, acrobatics, pranks, poetry, etc.

The other function was to embody some of the less desirable characteristics of human nature, thus giving the king an opportunity to teach, to punish the fool for his suggestions and behavior.

The modern-day clowns I listed above inherited that first function, entertainment, but not the second. But there is a group that inherited both. Entertainers definitely, but also tricksters, using any means to garner attention.

Truth is confused with lies and exaggeration – anything to gather them in and prosper from doing so.

Friends, as modern exemplars of the rogue tricksters, I give you the clowns, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Enjoy!

Ann Echegoyen


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