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Why fear of clowns?

How the hell has everyone become afraid of damn CLOWNS? I'm not kidding. When I was a kid, clowns were either utterly boreing or funny. I knew NO ONE who was afraid of them. Now everyone is confessing to fear of clowns. Why? Did all you people get attacked by McDonald's or something?
I was born in 1945. No food allergies. A rare case of diabetes among children here and there. No helicopter parents. All the kids, including me, came home from school, changed into jeans and a T-shirt, and played outside -- free play -- with other kids until we all got called in for dinner. Nobody died of it, though some kid broke his arm climbing trees and another did it skiing. Now everybody's scared of EVERYTHING. Has the world gotten that bad wrong? Paranoia is NOT a good way of life. I underdtand food allergies -- they are quite real, and can be truly lethal. But still. Maybe it's GMOs in all our food, though that doesn't account for the helicopter parents, whose children are denied all the experience they need to become healthy adults and make it in the big bad world beyond college. Nor for fear of clowns. What gives, people?


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 23rd, 2015 03:25 am (UTC)
I feel very fortunate that, like you, I grew up in a world without fear. I feel sorry for today's kids, who are brought up to think that every adult other than their parents is out to molest them, and everywhere they look, they are inundated with sexual imagery and obscenity. I didn't even know what sex was until I was 11, other than the word meant "are you a girl or are you a boy?". I didn't know what my parents did in their bedroom or where babies came from and I didn't care. Children aren't allowed to keep their innocence anymore, or their optimistic and hopeful view of the world they are growing into, and I think that's a real shame.
Feb. 24th, 2015 04:43 am (UTC)
I agree. I believe that part of it is due to so-called adults who want to indoctrinate/corrupt children at young ages to have certain pathological reactions to things or want experiences wayyy inappropriate to their ages because that way, corporations can make money off them and use them for their own political ends. It's becoming more and more like those African and Asian countries in which warlords kidnap boys and girls to serve their purposes, the boys to become "soldiers" at extremely young ages, the girls to become concubines and slaves. That America would go in this direction is sickening and grievous.
Feb. 23rd, 2015 08:05 am (UTC)
I think all of those things were there and real back then, but some of them (food allergies) were fatal and undiagnosed, others were there but everyone just dealt with it better (injuries), and still others were there and no one noticed because it was rare enough to ignore (kidnappers and such).

I agree that the level of neuroses in the modern world is likely not sustainable.
Feb. 24th, 2015 04:55 am (UTC)
Oh. I'm sure they were there then too, but much rarer than today. As for food allergies, people did have them, but the common ones were on the order of rashes and other relatively minor and unthreatening reactions to eating strawberries, that sort of thing. Diabetes among children really was much rarer, and of course people then didn't eat junk food, empty calories, and way too much sugar in the ghastly amounts many do today because our eating habits were completely different -- for one thing, back then, most people were no more than two generations off the farm, often only one or none, got regular exercise in the form of real, productive activity and not the gym, and ate the way their parents and grandparents and even they themselves did when most of us lived on farms. As for clowns, I have no idea. Undoubtedly some children were frightened of them, because phobias of all kinds turn up everywhere at some point, but I knew of no one who was afraid of them, and neither was I. Somehow, at some point between the late 1940s/early 1950s and around 1975, people were suddenly confessing to fear of clowns, talking about how frightening they were and the nightmares people were having about them. That's roughly the time when Stephen King's blockbuster novel It, which featured the horrific Pennywise the Clown, came out. It's not that King caused that fear, but rather that he was tapping into something in the American psyche that hadn't been there when I was born nor had appeared before at least 1955. The Cold War terrified us all, though many adults and even children covered up that terror with bravado and catcalls of "Commiesymp!" at those who showed their fear, and it may have spawned a host of subsidiary phobias that seemingly had nothing to do with it. And maybe fear of clowns was one of those phobias (a lot of pathologies in the world today can be traced back to that or were encouraged by those who, like the Communists, wanted world domination, but that's another story). But still, WHY DAMN CLOWNS, dammit?!!
Mar. 5th, 2015 06:50 am (UTC)
I have aspergers so I might be a unique case, but when I was a young kid, under 5, clowns would actually make me cry. The face paint bothered me. I never really liked clowns. Obviously I don't have that same reaction now, but, yeah, I never thought that clowns were funny.

I can agree with a lot of the sentiments in your posting though. Childhood obesity is on the rise probably because kids stay indoors all day instead of going outside and playing.
Mar. 7th, 2015 02:14 am (UTC)
Things changed between the time of my earlu childhood 1945-1955 and the decades that have passed since. The cases of childhood obesity, food allergies, autism, diabetes, psychopathy, schizophrenia, and a host of other serious conditions, some developmental and others acquired in childhood, have spiked astronomically in the last 20 years -- which, coincidentally, has been the period during which GMO foods and plants and animals (like salmon) have come onto the market. Try an organic apple sometime -- it tastes wonderful, sweet and with a firm texture. Then eat a GMO apple -- it has zero taste. Really. And its texture is like mush.

The same is true of GMO "food" in general. And GMO plants, including food crops as well as anything else, produce their own Roundup, a powerful and deadly toxic pesticide, due to the exotic genes that have been introduced into them; every part of the plant contains the pesticide.

Or, the plants are herbicide-resistant, and also crossbreed with wild weeds, so the weeds become herbicide-resistant, too, and must be sprayed with vast amounts of herbicides such as 2,4,D (which is a major ingredient in Agent Orange) to get rid of them. The GMP plants also get covered in the stuff, and their tissues soak it up, though they aren't killed by it. So those who eat those GMO crops get lots of 2,4,D in their systems -- a chemical that is known to cause genetic damage and birth defects such as lack of cerebral hemispheres in the brain or congenital heart disease or other awful conditions in humans and any other creatures that get it into their systems.

So I'm wondering if something analogous has happened to our culture since, say, the 1960s, causing fear of clowns and other phobias. In that case I wouldn't place the blame on GMO foods or encounters with Roundup, but culturally important phenomena such as certain movies and that sort of thing might be the villains.

My, how things have changed in the last fifty years, and especially in the last 20 . . .
Feb. 13th, 2018 04:38 am (UTC)
I must admit that there was a clown that scared me: Clarabelle the Clown on the Howdy Doody Show. I went on watching and enjoying the show in spite of Clarabelle, but the clown's silence coupled with his beeping his (hers?) air horn, did get to me at times.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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