I will be attending the R.A.W. (Research Art Writing) conference at the University of Texas, Dallas on February 24-25, 2017. My paper will address the “Scary Clown” phenomenon of autumn 2016 in the United States, and its relationship to the political climate surrounding the presidential election. If you’re in the area, come show your support for teratology and the scholars who dedicate themselves to this important field. More information can be found at the event’s website: http://www.utdgsaraw.com
Paper Title: Clowning Around: The Monstrosity of Politics, Terror, and the Scary Clown Phenomenon of Fall 2016
Abstract: During the last phase of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a phenomenon of “Scary Clowns” in which individuals terrorized their communities by dressing up as clowns spread across the country. It’s significant that these individuals chose clowns, rather than masked hockey players, to torment their fellow citizens. When placed within the narrative of the Other, the “Scary Clown” phenomenon can be viewed as an expression of deep resentment towards a problematic democracy in which individuals feel too much change is happening too fast. The physical danger of terrorism, the financial threat of immigrants, and the cultural peril of diversity subverted the rules of an Anglo Patriarchal democracy established two hundred years ago. With such rules undone, overwhelmed individuals donned the visage of an entity beyond rules whose existence is dedicated to mockery and subversion. Clowns are masked individuals without a concrete identity, and who are out of place in society which puts them in a unique situation to act beyond social norms. This paper provides a brief historical account of clowns and the “Scary Clown” phenomenon, addresses political climate in which the phenomenon occurred, and suggests the significance of such aggression towards American society.