babies hate clowns
January 26, 2005 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Coulrophobia (fear of clowns) has been around for eons, but there are also people who just plain hate clowns. Perhaps the hatred is a reaction against the rise of clowns in popular culture. Not only have the clowns branched out from their comedy roots, but they have helped to inspire music styles as well as dance movements. Or perhaps this hatred is just an extension of the phobia and a means of coping. Many clowns have embraced their negative image, which has led to a relatively new species of clown - the Evil Clown. Not to be confused with actual clown criminals or the whole clown pr0n phenomena (SFW except text), but rather the clowns who entertain as villains, monsters, and of course the evil clown musicians. Where did the love go?
posted by p3t3 (36 comments total)
My first FPP. Bring on the bitching :)
posted by p3t3 at 12:55 PM on January 26, 2005

I was freaked out for weeks when I saw "It". Pennywise fucked me up.
posted by mullingitover at 12:59 PM on January 26, 2005

"Can't sleep, clown'll eat me"
posted by Dr_Octavius at 1:01 PM on January 26, 2005


Doc Oct beat me to it.
posted by loquacious at 1:10 PM on January 26, 2005

The Big Bang Cirkus [NSFW] is the only clown troop worth watching.
posted by cmonkey at 1:14 PM on January 26, 2005

This is why I hate clowns.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:15 PM on January 26, 2005

Is it just me, or is it really, really easy to avoid encountering a clown in one's daily life? I can't think of a single instance in which I've ever come face to face with a clown at any time in the last 20 years (watching "It" aside).
posted by chuq at 1:16 PM on January 26, 2005

I dated an actual clown once. Therein lies MY distaste.
posted by konolia at 1:17 PM on January 26, 2005

John Wayne Gacy wasn't just Pogo the Clown, he did clown paintings too, some of which ended up as macabre "collector's items," others of which have been bought and burned by a concerned samaritan. This one is disturbing, but I can't find an image of perhaps the most poignant one, an oil painting of a crucified clown done by Gacy shortly before his execution.

Gacy alone is enough to scare people off of clowns, heh.
posted by Shane at 1:20 PM on January 26, 2005

I met a clown at the circus when I was about 10. Must admit, they are a bit scary when you're small and they're right next to you looking down with that big fake smile..
posted by p3t3 at 1:20 PM on January 26, 2005

Don't forget Frenchy, from Evil Clown Comics.
posted by rocket88 at 1:22 PM on January 26, 2005

The Fellini movie The Clowns is actually my favorite movie of all time, however, I appear to be the only person in the world to like it as much as I do. It was apparently made for TV, and features Fellini himself as a documentarian searching for traces of early clowns. No one understands the spectacle, absurdity, tragedy and pathos of clowns like Fellini, IMO.

Also, thinking about clowns reminded me of Eric Idle's book "On the Road to Mars," which features a robot who philosophizes about humor and clowns, concluding that there are two kinds: the White Face and the Red Nose.

In the circus, the White Face is the controlling clown with the deathly pale masklike face who never takes a pie; the Red Nose is the subversive clown with the yellow and red makeup who takes all the pies and the pratfalls and the buckets of water and the banana skins. The White Face represents the mind, reminding humanity of the constant mocking presences of death; the Red Nose represents the body, reminding mankind of its constant embarrassing vulgarities.''
posted by jasper411 at 1:26 PM on January 26, 2005

I heard that historically clowns evolved from demons. Something along the lines of demon->trickster->jester->clown. There was this zine Craphound that did an issue sort of about that some years ago.
posted by nathanos at 1:38 PM on January 26, 2005

"Fuck you, clown!"
posted by mr.marx at 1:49 PM on January 26, 2005

I saw the Fellini movie YEARS ago with my best friend. He indeed had a phobia about clowns. I loved the movie while he sat there white knuckling the arm rests of the movie seat (the way I do in airplanes during turbulence). To each his own.
posted by MotherTucker at 1:51 PM on January 26, 2005

Cory Doctorow's Craphound?

Wikipedia and E2 (Including Webster 1913 edition) don't mention any etymological demon-jester-clown links, but it makes enough sense to me that I went searching for it.

Anyone have an account to OED online?
posted by loquacious at 1:54 PM on January 26, 2005

Mimes, on the other hand, are a different story. Irritating, mincing, follow you around and get people to laugh at you, little monsters.

With their invisible prisons and precious little climbing up the ladder. *inserts brain pick into mime head*
posted by MotherTucker at 1:55 PM on January 26, 2005

Am I the only one whose first thought was that a fear of Ann Coulter was perfectly normal?
posted by John Smallberries at 2:00 PM on January 26, 2005

The "Fuck you, Clown!" Story
posted by loquacious at 2:04 PM on January 26, 2005

To me, clowns aren't funny. In fact, they're kinda scary. I've wondered where this started, and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus and a clown killed my dad. -- Jack Handey
posted by jcruelty at 2:08 PM on January 26, 2005

The only clown I like is Hans Schnier. The rest of them scare the crap out of me.
posted by smich at 2:11 PM on January 26, 2005

Thank you loquacious, I did just wonder.

I always hated Andy Kaufman. Well- despised, more than hated. If you're going to be pointless, you should at least be funny.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:17 PM on January 26, 2005

This world is run by clowns who can't wait for it to end.

Too Much Joy said it in 1989, with doubtless no idea how much truer it would be today.
posted by soyjoy at 2:26 PM on January 26, 2005

loquacious: I've got the OED while I'm at work, but I can't figure out what you're trying to look up. Lemme know and I'll do it.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:40 PM on January 26, 2005

The tragic clown from the Sims is why I hate clowns. (I tried to find a good image, but failed to.)

Also: Thank god we have these guys to keep all this clown crap from getting any worse!
posted by kimota at 2:44 PM on January 26, 2005

mudpuppie: If you would, check the backstory and references on clown, (Clown (?), n. [Cf. Icel. klunni a clumsy, boorish fellow, North Fries. klnne clown, dial. Sw. klunn log, Dan. klunt log block, and E. clump, n.] - Webster 1913) and see what OED has to say about the etymology of it.

Maybe it has something about the demon/imp/trickster mythology. There's something I remember, well, something I remember learning but now can't remember about the whole demon/clown thing. My intuition is pointing towards something Latin/Roman, with tie-ins with numerous festivals like Carnival and Mardi Gras and such.
posted by loquacious at 3:12 PM on January 26, 2005

About a year ago I thought I'd try and cash in on the whole evil clown thing by writing a blog "written from the point of view of an evil clown". Of course, boredom got the better of me, and my hopes of getting that elusive Metafilter FPP post drifted away.

Of course, now I'm thinking... If only I'd carried it on.
And I'm also thinking... MUST NOT SELF LINK
posted by seanyboy at 3:32 PM on January 26, 2005

The evil clown horror film, Clownhouse, is an extremely rare DVD and videotape, because its director Victor Salva was prosecuted for molesting the 12-year-old child actor who starred in the film. The child actor eventually sued to have the videotape and DVD suppressed, which explains why the item is so rare and expensive.
posted by jonp72 at 3:41 PM on January 26, 2005

Then, of course, there's Creepy Clown

"If all your friends were named Cliff would you jump off them." - Hugh Neutron
posted by waltb555 at 3:43 PM on January 26, 2005

And let's not forget "Killer Klowns From Outer Space". Not only a crazy movie but it also has one of the greatest theme songs ever.

"If all your friends were named Cliff would you jump off them." - Hugh Neutron
posted by waltb555 at 3:48 PM on January 26, 2005

From OED:

[Appears in Eng. in second half of 16th c. as cloyne or cloine, and clowne. The phonetic relation between these is difficult to understand; the former is esp. obscure: possibly a dialect form. By Dunbar, the word (if indeed the same) is written cloun; but it rimes with tone, Joun, meaning tune, June, both having in Sc. the sound (Y or ø), which would imply (klYn). Words identical or closely related appear in several of the cognate langs. and dialects: e.g. NFris. (Moringer dial.) ‘klönne (or klünne) ‘clumsy lout, lumpish fellow’ (Bendsen):OFris. type *klunda wk. masc. Cf. NFris. insular dial. Amrum klünj (pl. klünjar) ‘clod, clot, lump’ = Sylt klünd ‘clog, wooden mall’:OFris. type *klund str. masc. Also mod.Icel. klunni:*kluni ‘clumsy boorish fellow’ (Vigf.), ‘en klods, ubehændig person’ (Jonson), compared with Sw. dial. klunn, kluns (Rietz) ‘clump, clog, log’, and Da. dial. klunds = klods ‘block, log, stump’, also ‘clown’. In Dutch also, Sewell (1766) has kleun fem. (marked as a ‘low word’) ‘a hoidon or lusty bouncing girl’, kloen n. with same sense; and he explains Eng. clown as ‘een plompe boer, kinkel, kloen’. Bilderdijk Verklarende Geslachtlijst (1832) says that kloen applied to a man signifies een lompert, ‘clown’ in English, and so is it with klont, kluit, and kluts or klots, all meaning primarily ‘clod, clot, lump’. So far as concerns the sense-development, then, it is clear that we have here a word meaning originally ‘clod, clot, lump’, which like these words themselves (see CLOD 5, CLOT 4), has been applied in various langs. to a clumsy boor, a lout. Of an OE. type, corresp. to the Fris., or to the Du. words, we have no trace, no more than of the occurrence in Eng. of the primitive sense ‘clod’; and it is probable that in Eng. the word is of later introduction from some Low German source.]
posted by mudpuppie at 3:51 PM on January 26, 2005

loquacious - It was Sean Tejaratchi's Craphound
I kind of mentioned it in jest, its not actually anything to to with etymology or history. It is actually a book of funny pictures. He said something in the introduction about finding the clown-demon link while he was collecting material and researching. Not much of a source, I know.
posted by nathanos at 4:20 PM on January 26, 2005

Why I hate clowns. Yes, it's a self-link, but it explains it. I hate those painted faced bastards.
posted by SuzySmith at 10:34 PM on January 26, 2005

Coulrophobia (fear of clowns) has been around for eons, but there are also people who just plain hate clowns.

Doesn't ****phobia == hatred of **** ?
posted by Ayn Marx at 6:58 AM on January 27, 2005

Well, no, it means fear of, which isn't the same as hatred.
posted by soyjoy at 7:42 AM on January 27, 2005

Clowns are supposed to make you feel scared and angry. That's their point.

'Owever one of the best things that can happen to you in your life is to stand talking to a friend and be lucky enough to see a clown approaching over your friends shoulder, you can then (with a shudder of pleasure) point and say "Hey, who's THAT fucking clown...". It's like winning the lottery a thousand times over.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:02 AM on January 27, 2005

« Older Celebrating 100 years of Einstein's influence on...   |   Pimped-out Nintendo DS Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments