Modern Politics: It’s a Clown Show

Category: It’s That Time of Year… Election Season.

I generally attempt to avoid getting into political quandaries, but a friend’s Facebook post triggered a set of impressions, so I decided to briefly touch on the topic. My friend wrote:

At this stage I have no political opinions or views to express. It’s a giant circus from where I sit. Yet it’s a failed circus. We need a new idea. I think a real traveling circus show might provide more structure and coherence as a political party. We should elect academically trained clowns for office. The Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp in Buffalo, Minnesota might be a good start for aspiring young statesmen in the midwest. Their slogan is “You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!” This is more than just a slogan to me; it’s a vision statement. This is the type of direction, leadership, and will to power attitude required to restore this once great nation back to its former glory.

Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp is a 6-day intensive clown school designed to meet the needs of people who want to learn to be “real” clowns. America needs YOU. Sign up.

Our current torrent of turbulent passions led me to think about Marshall McLuhan’s take on the impact of media on the times we live in. It was McLuhan who famously observed that mass media and communication technologies are not neutral inventions but actually change the way we are.

The last half century of presidential politics has demonstrated this vividly. The first hint of it came with the Nixon-Kennedy debates during the 1960 election. Twenty years later a “great communicator” was installed in the Oval Office, a man who grew up in Hollywood and knew how to project ideas to the masses. Of the 2016 batch of Republican hopefuls it was the media-savvy Trump who dismantled his opponents in the debates. What’s going on now feels unprecedented.

It was the impact of media in the 1960 campaign that altered the terrain. Elections today are essentially manipulations by handlers. And maybe my friend is right, the best way to prepare for office is to sign up for clown camp.

It reminds me of the heart-wrenching tone in which the Broadway musical presented its poignant hit Send in the Clowns.

What’s it all about, Alfie?

Originally published at
Illustration by the author.

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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