Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Nasty Clown

Well!  2017!  This has been quite the year! And who would have thought a clown succeeded to change it all.  A nasty clown. The image occurred to me when squinting at the ubiquitous mephitic-mouthed buffoon on the television. What I saw was a diabolical rendition of a comic entertainer of Low German origin. But this particular clown is playing more than the giddy goat. What I see is a vicious-looking hatchet.

The thing about entertainment is that it's ephemeral.  Eventually it's over no matter how stirring or boring the interlude.  The object of the production - like most amusement - is applause.  The hope is that the performance will have a long run but that of course depends entirely on how well it is received.  This particular presentation is projected to be facing some stiff headwinds. Its promoters are beginning to bale and they're issuing some prophetic warnings as they depart.

There is a crescendo of doom. Paradoxically a clown act is always unpredictable, that's part of the appeal. One never knows what to expect! However running a plausible leadership platform doesn't normally champion such whimsical tactics. This business is far more than mere entertainment. And spending one's time putting out fires is tarsome at best.

One must be careful not to confuse the audience with the performer. Nor should one misinterpret the applause for essential approbation.  Even a clown act can have its serious side, its scathing irony, dark humour, sarcasm and hidden meaning. The jester can be the conduit of pithy substance or the voice of others. It has often been asserted by pundits that the followers of this particular act are less than desirable because they are so-called "deplorables", uneducated, unemployed and bigoted (whether because of race or religion).  Even if that were true (though to my knowledge it is a mistaken analysis) it is more important to understand the possible motives behind their support. My acquaintance with misguided behaviour is that it is motivated not by what appears in the result but what is unseen in its formation, just like the manipulations of a puppet. Without dissolving into gushing Pollyanna psychology I consider the credibility of a complaint should not be adjudged by its demonstrable objection; that's akin to assessing a child's grievance by the nature of his rant.

The good that has flowed from this zany twerp is that he has highlighted the need to separate entertainment from reality and the desirability to promote objectives which are in keeping with an evolving society.  We're not going back to the good 'ole days of the 1950s.  Even the granddaughter of Christian Evangelist Billy Graham has weighed into the fray to the discredit of the act, sounding what has become an intelligent and meaningful view palatable to a broad stroke of society.  Meanwhile there are vast numbers of people who have been mobilized to uplift others from the swamp of seedy demonization to the laudable heights of inclusion and support.

That the leader of the most powerful nation in the world is almost universally depicted as a nasty clown is nothing short of astonishing (and no doubt equally embarrassing for many of its citizens). The fragile balance of democracy is no longer in doubt.  The lofty ambitions of the revolutionists in 1776 are at risk of disappearing.  It has been said that, the "colonial revolutionaries were reluctant rebels".

"With the possible (and doubtful) exception of Samuel Adams," Rakove writes, "none of these who took leading roles in the struggle actively set out to foment rebellion or found a republic. They became revolutionaries despite themselves." In his newest book, he argues that the American Revolution may never have happened without the miscalculations of the British governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson. Those miscalculations sparked the Boston Tea Party, which in turn galvanized a disparate collection of colonial leaders. "Once Americans start talking about what they want to do, they do reach a high degree of consensus," Rakove tells NPR's Guy Raz. "Everyone understands that unanimity in this crisis is more important than any one position."

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