An Aversion to Clowns

June 2nd, 2009  |  Published in pictures and photography  |  2 Comments

The Haunted Town
Ben Hall, 2009

I sometimes wonder if Ben picked up his thing about clowns from an aborted visit to a clown show Sven was in. We never actually saw a clown perform because Ben deemed the performance space itself a hair too heavy to deal with.

Clowns didn’t come up again after that until just recently, when Ben announced that I was free to remove Pee-wee’s Big Adventure from the Roku because it had clowns and so was not acceptable viewing.

There was a period where it was fashionable to bash mimes, and where scenes of mimes being beaten or merely told off for comic effect seemed sort of common. And when I wrote a short story about two little girls who acted as avatars of rapacious capitalism and knee-jerk fashionista Marxism, I used the drug-wracked body of a heroin-addicted clown as their ideological battlefield (before he turned the tables on them both and injected them with a powerful cocktail of narcotics and hallucinogens).

That was years–decades–ago, though. I no longer think anti-mime humor is particularly funny, and we’ve had decades of degenerate, menacing or deadly clowns parading around in assorted media, so there’s no way to squeeze a frisson out of the subversion of neutered Ringling Bros. clowns. Bereft of any particular emotional reaction to mimes and largely shorn of the kind of rough, inchoate anger that fed on smudging up cheerful circus clowns, I’m left looking at Ben’s picture and trying to figure out what I make of the presence of clowns.

Don’t know yet.


  1. gl. says:

    June 9th, 2009 at 12:10 am (#)

    i really love these pictures. what is he making them in?

  2. mph says:

    June 9th, 2009 at 8:53 am (#)

    He uses KidPix. It reminds me of ColorForms, only brought into the digital age. There’s a big library of backdrops and an even bigger library of prefab objects, so he can get results easily then embellish a little with his own drawing.

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