Song Of The Day 10/5/2016: Charles Mingus feat. Jean Shepherd – “The Clown”

Clowns. Now we got clowns. Everybody dealing with these clowns. Clown sightings in South Carolina. Clown sightings in North Carolina. Clown sightings in Wisconsin. A bunch of clowns arrested in Alabama, where a local police chief is cracking down on "clown-related activity" because he considers it equal to a terrorist threat. Now we got clowns in Washington State. A clown at an AM/PM in Lynnwood. Somebody in Everett sending a note to the local news station that actually reads, "Everyone in Everett be safe. There are a few clowns out tonight." And they mean real clowns, the kind with greasepaint, not the clown at the bar who had six whiskey sours and kept trying to pick up you up with that line "Are you from Jamaica? 'Cuz Jamaican me crazy!" No. Not a clown in the pathetic, allegorical, a-life-wasted sense. The clowns we are talking about have balloons.

Look. This is the end of the line for clowns. The end of a long, sordid, unfortunate epic about the death of innocence. But not just that: how their social position and esteem have devalued since the mid-20th century. Their brand of slapstick humor has been out of vogue for decades. Their somewhat limited comedy palette meant they couldn't have a hit album like Richard Pryor or Cheech & Chong. Their makeup depleted the ozone layer, and besides the drag queens were getting all the best makeup before they even had a chance. And now with the 2016 election they're redundant, because we get clown coverage on all the 24-hour news cycles thanks to this guy with the orange hair and the flesh-like circles around his eyes. So no wonder clowns are hanging out at suburban convenience stores. There are no more outlets for them. They're exiles in a comic landscape they used to have in the palm of their goddamn hands. Until they take the makeup off that is, then they're just Glen the Sandwich Artist. But the rest of the time, they're exiles. 

So if you see one of these literal clowns, try to look at him or her with more than just the scared eyes of a fear-monger. Look into their eyes, the conduit to their souls. See if you can spot the early glistening of a tear. The years of rejection etched upon the canvas of their faces. The clamoring disappointment only their giant ears can hear. Just try and, you know, relate a little. Don't judge them. See if you can locate the clown within, and...

I'm sorry, that's a terrible idea. Forget it. Bop his nose and see if you can get away with his beer money.

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