Insane Clown Hysteria Sweeps Politics And Queer Pop Culture

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If you share a computer with your partner, don’t you hate it when it’s finally your turn to surf the Net and all you see is news about clowns? We all know this is a fact, especially after the 2016 election. Clowns, jesters and fools on all the news cycles.

On Halloween night 2016, this writer was chauffeuring a family friend home. Upon return, a group of teens in rubber clown masks surrounded the car while wielding baseball bats in a cosplay homage to dystopia films like The Warriors or Escape From New York. It is no small coincidence that one week later a very bad clown hombre finagled an Electoral College victory to become the 45th President of the United States. During this election event, there was a collective panic attack among roughly half the U.S. population.

Warriors Movie PosterCultural phenomena reflect collective psychology, so when the dreaded presidential campaign barreled through the summer of 2016, there simultaneously occurred a slew of creepy clown sightings, most notably in the Carolinas. Humans who decided to don clown attire and frighten their neighbors seem to have been emboldened by the sociopathic example set by the then-candidate asshole who would eventually be POTUS.

And it’s still happening. Recently in rural Maine, Corey Berry, age 31, tried to ride the clown wave by slipping an evil clown mask over his head, duct-taping a machete to his amputated arm, and scaring his fellow community members. CHOICES! To be fair, police reported that Berry—who without the mask resembles a young Dennis Hopper—was intoxicated.

Clown fear has long been a conversation topic and comedy device. However, the uncertainty of this era—Will I wake up safe and sound? Will I be deported? Will a clown break into my home and murder my family?—has given way to both logical and illogical fears that obviously stem from having Bozo as our nation’s leader. How can we calm down? Can we examine the state of affairs from another perspective? The spinning of spooky tales is our age-old coping mechanism, maybe the reason horror flicks are such a sure box-office bet. 

Luckily, there are a few clown vehicles being made for the small and big screen, just in time for Halloween. In the upcoming season of American Horror Story: Cult, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are putting clowns front and center, in episodes with such titles as “Election Night,” “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” “Neighbors From the Hell” and “11/9,” the latter presumably a post-election lament. 

Although Stephen King’s It was first a TV mini-series (with world treasure Tim Curry as Pennywise the child-killing clown), it has been adapted with much hype into a feature film for a September 2017 release. Bill Skarsgard (Stellan’s son and Alexander’s brother) fills the clown shoes of Pennywise in this production directed by Andrés Muschietti. As with many stories by Stephen King (a frequent anti-Trump tweeter), It is set in the author’s home state of Maine. Perhaps King is acquainted with aforementioned drunk amputee clown Corey Berry.

Because folks are clown obsessed and the real estate market is hot, the Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada, is for sale. Yes, this lodging of nightmares, clown imagery everywhere, is up for grabs. Owner Bob Perchetti is selling the property for a bargain at $900,000, on the condition his beloved clowns stay put. He states: “Oh, I’m going to miss the clowns. I’m going to come back. I’m going to come back and visit my clowns.”

And yesterday, one of our fave Drag Race winners, Bob the Drag Queen released a video that opens with a little girl approaching her and asking, “Are you a clown?” Things go south quickly as the vaping queen scares the bejeezus out of the toddler.

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