Clowning Around – Very Sick Humor

[Authors Note:  Upon rereading this item, I truly believe it will stand as the sickest thing I’ve written for or will write for Blind Confidential for a long time.]

I’m in a silly mood this morning so when I found a story about blind children and the Ringling Bros. Circus in my mail from Blind News, I suddenly found the inspiration for this morning’s blog entry.  A warning to those of you who find distasteful humor distasteful, you might want to ignore this entry as my feelings about clowns, elephants and other circus attractions delve deeply into the bizarre and the disgusting.  

I have a peculiar collection of feelings about the circus.  As a child, my parents brought me to see the Ringling Brothers at Madison Square Garden.  I remember a few things about that day, I got cotton candy, my mother would not let me get a circus flashlight, “they’re dangerous,” she explained, “swinging them around like that – you could put your eye out.”  We saw lots of cool animals, trapeze artists and, of course, scary, methadrine crazed  clowns.  

Over the years I went to the circus a couple other times.  An old friend from Boston got into the clown college hear in Florida and got a job with Ringling after graduation so he put a bunch of us on the guest list and we went to the old Boston Garden to watch the spectacle.  The circus sure had changed since my childhood.  My favorite act as an adult featured two incredibly beautiful African American women, clad only in tiny gold lamé bikinis performing some kind of extreme homo-erotic trapeze gymnastics.

Since losing my vision, though, I lost any interest in going to a circus of any kind.  I still suffer from a sort of clown phobia as well and assume they’re all like Krusty but angrier.  If I want a drug free, psychedelic experience, I only need to look around, Florida, as Carl Hiaasen, says, “George W. Bush may have his axis of evil but we Floridians, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, have the Axis of Weird.”  The Sunshine state isn’t home to the clown college for nothing.

Children seem drawn to circus acts and, according to an article in yesterday’s Cincinnati Enquirer a group of blind children recently got to “touch the circus.”  Seeing the headline, I had to read on.  According to the article, “the staff of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus treated six students with limited or no vision to a Touch Tour Thursday.”  I suppose more than six children with vision impairments live in the Cincinnati area so, I must assume, that these kids had either never heard of the horrors that go on in such places or had mental illnesses which drew them to the a place where enormous and dangerous animals interacted with humans.  Hadn’t they heard what happened to Roy?  Or was it Siegfried?  Didn’t anyone tell them that these large wild animals tended to attack the young and weak as they made easier prey?

The article continues by telling us that these defenseless kids were forced to “get up close and personal with Smiley the goat, Asia the Elephant and a gaggle of clowns at U.S. Bank Arena.”  Ok, they avoided the lions, tigers and, excepting the clowns, truly dangerous predators.  Did anyone, however, consider that an elephant turd is about the size of one of these little kids?  Imagine if tragedy struck and, instead of a story about a visit to the circus, the headline read, “Small Child Drowns in Mound of Elephant Dung – Investigation to Follow.”(

Proving that he has a severe vision impairment and doesn’t realize just how ridiculous he looked, a seven-year-old kid “donned a pink and blue striped coat and some extra large shoes from the circus wardrobe.”  Parents can be so cruel.

One of the instructors took one of the children’s hands and, “guided it along the elephant’s skin.  Isn’t there some kind of ancient story about blind men touching an elephant? It had something to do with different perspectives if I remember correctly.

A woman from Westwood, Ohio, “accompanied her daughter, 6, as she touched the goat’s soft coat and tried on a clown’s jacket before being treated to the Greatest Show on Earth.”  I already mentioned the fact that parents can be cruel but watching her own little daughter stroke a barnyard animal is just perverse.  What could she possibly be thinking?

As all Blind Confidential readers know, I advocate for the rights of people with vision impairments to do everything possible.  I’m actually glad to hear that the kids all seemed to enjoy themselves and commend Ringling Bros. for setting up such a tour for the children.  I do not intend that this post be taken seriously in any way, I wrote it with fun, satire, perverse (actually sick) humor in mind and don’t want anyone to think for a second that I believe any of the above.  Click in the link to the newspaper near the top of this post to read the original article which I found pretty entertaining.

Then again, I do have clown phobia so, if you plan on visiting me, do not show up in giant shoes, a big phony red nose or holding a spritzer bottle as it may drive me into a psychopathic episode or at least cause me to run upstairs and hide in our attic for a few days, eating fiberglass insulation for sustenance.

Again, thanks to Leon and the Blind News gang for inspiring another Blind Confidential item.


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I'm an accessibility advocate working on issues involving technology and people with print impairment. I'm a stoner, crackpot, hacker and all around decent fellow. I blog at this site and occasionally contribute to Skepchick. I'm a skeptic, atheist, humanist and all around left wing sort. You can follow this blog in your favorite RSS reader, and you can also view my Twitter profile (@gonz_blinko) and follow me there.

One thought on “Clowning Around – Very Sick Humor”

  1. Many years ago, I, too, as a child of about nine, went to the circus at Madison Square Garden. However, I was totally blind. I really wanted to go because my sighted friends and cousins had gone and were really excited about it. Well, I was so bored! I couldn’t wait until it was over, although my mom and a friend of ours tried to describe some of it. If there was audio description, I would try it again.

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