Clown culture nothing to laugh at for some

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Jarrod Chermely, Staff Writer

The revival of Stephen King’s It may be receiving critical acclaim, and over $120 million in its opening weekend. However it isn’t all smiles for members of the Thunder Bay Clown Club in Ontario.

A highly anticipated film based on a Stephen King novel, It opened in Canadian theatres on Thursday. Outside Thunder Bay’s Silver City Theatre in Ontario were a group of “friendly” clowns handing out pamphlets denouncing the negative stigma It puts on real-life clowns.

Dianne McNicol, who performs as Dottie the Clown, told Vice: “We feel that this has done great harm in the business of clowning and for clowns … You need to remember that clowns are people too,” she said.

The new movie is hardly the only time that clowns have encountered bad publicity lately.

In 2016 there was a creepy clown “epidemic” where people dressed up as clowns to roam the streets at night with knives and other weapons, terrifying anyone who saw them. While most were harmless, there were a few that had more menacing ideas. In Sweden a man was actually stabbed by one of these creepy clowns.

This clown prank seems to be reviving as some people have been tying red balloons to sewer grates, which has become highly recognizable from the It trailers

Meanwhile, back in Thunder Bay, Dan “Daffy” Baxter, president of the Canadian clown club, said in a press release that “our purpose is to provide theatergoers with leaflets about the differences between professional clowns and clowns depicted as monsters and villains in film and media.”

Stephen King in a tweet claimed that clowns were mad at him, but he feels this anger is misplaced and that it isn’t his fault because “kids have always been afraid of clowns.”

The clown phenomenon is a topic of conversation at Baldwin as well.

Special education teacher Cassie Bartus, said she hates clowns.

While it’s something she knows is irrational, she doesn’t think it’s something she can ever change. One of her primary reasons for this fear is that she read the novel that the movie is based on in college and “couldn’t sleep for days,” she said.

While she is extremely fearful of clowns, she said she plans to see the movie with her friends.

However, not everyone at Baldwin fears clowns.

Michaela Cavataio, a senior and features editor for the Purbalite, said she “never understood why people thought they were scary.” This is because Cavataio’s parents attended clown school and were professional clowns. Cavataio said she thinks it’s funny people are afraid of them because they’re “just a person with makeup.”

McNicol, meanwhile, told Vice that she has been hearing the term “scary clown” being uttered by many children since the trailers for It have come out. She blames “lipstick clowns” for this. These are clowns that have no training and just throw on a costume, she said. McNicol explained that real clowns have a code of conduct, follow an ethical code, and obey a clown constitution.

McNicol said many of her American clown friends have lost business and don’t get hired for events anymore. However, it seems the Thunder Bay Clown Club, which primarily does charity events, has been spared from such a hit.

All in all, the new It movie is pretty good in many aspects. Be sure to enjoy it with the plight of real clowns in mind.

 

Photo from Internet.