Terry from Derry: Send in the Clowns
By Terry Boyle
Clowns are fascinating. Despite the recent upsurge of despicable clowns who aim to frighten rather than amuse, the genre of the funny man or woman is of great value.
For example, Shakespeare’s funny men were smart. Some have even speculated that his jokesters were Irish. Given their wicked sense of wry humour, I would believe it. Those men were experts in levity and satire.
Their acid wit could strip away the hyperbole in a phrase. The bard’s entertainers knew how to deliver a joke with a jab. Whether it was about sex, death or power, there was no taboo subject for the clown. They are able to address subjects we would normally avoid because they are able to make us laugh at ourselves.
The jester, despite his skating on thin ice, is tolerated by the king more than anyone else simply because the funny man speaks the truth. In a world full of sycophants, we need someone to unmask the truth, no matter how painful.
The scary clown, such as that of Stephen King’s ‘IT”, is rooted in our fear of the strange. There are some funny people who put the laughter on the other side of our faces.
The dangerous clowns are those who are in power. It’s a scary world when incompetent buffoons govern our country. Such people instill fear; they destroy good will and make us fearful about who we are and where we live; their incompetency threatens our very existence.
Donald Trump is one such clown. His actions, though laughable, are dangerous. His twittering thoughts, the signs of a deranged mind, are insidious. Those ideas are designed to play on our fears and force us to become dependent on his capricious leadership.
Clowns entertain, they subvert, and we love them for it. The clown delights us with their wit. We love the absurdity of custard pie, the whizzing bow tie and the big foot-in-mouth shoes. Even the darkest clowns of Samuel Beckett can make us laugh until we cry. Trump is a mutant clown of hazardous proportions. He makes our bellies ache, but not in a good way.
How can we like a man who despises the poor, ridicules the disenfranchised, and who is loved by people who are willing to abandon their consciences in order to get what they want? The recent reaction to the editorial in Christianity Todaysays it all.
When someone is lambasted for expressing their opinion, then we need to worry about what sort of government we have created. If freedom of speech is taken from us, then we’ve allowed ourselves to become slaves to a despot’s whims.
Are Fundamentalists No Fun and All Mental
Donald Trump maybe the patron saint of fundamentalists, but, to use a definition of fundamentalism that a friend once shared, fundamentalists are no fun and all mental. Fundamentalists, of any religion, do not engage with complex issues with any real integrity, rather they like to simplify things to suit a convenient agenda under an umbrella of pseudo-righteousness. Trump speaks their language when he reduces everything to propaganda and baseless opinion. He lies, creates fake news, and it’s lapped up as though it is the truth.
His clownish actions are not laughed at, as they should be; instead, his idiotic ways are venerated by a Republican Party who has lost its moral compass. His presidency is the result of a joke backfiring on us.
It’s one thing to be frustrated by Washington, but it’s another thing to be made fun of by a man who uses his power to inflate his own ego. Now, the joke is on us.
When a grown man makes fun of a teenager who is trying to improve the world, should we laugh? When a president scoffs at those who suffer, is it funny? While Trump ignores the chaos he’s creates, we should not.
Whether we like it or not, our world is fast becoming a wasteland because of men like Donald Trump. Heaven is refusing to accept the chemical waste we throw at it and soon our world will begin to implode on itself. This presidency has stretched us beyond the borders of sanity.
The clown in the White House spits in the hand of God while making a deal with the Devil. He is not alone in this wanton abandonment of good conscience. The senate Republicans, in wishing to acquit Trump of his impeachment, have judged truth and justice to be obsolete.
There is no fair trial if there is no fair representation of the charges that lay at Trump’s feet. Democracy, in congress, has become a scapegoat for senators who have washed their hands of the truth. Instead, these politicians prefer to pray with their wallets, while smothering the voice of reason inside themselves, and, as such, make a joke of government.
The world we live in is sadly missing clowns. Washington did need someone to wake them up. However, if the vote in 2016 was meant to shake up those in power it went sadly wrong.
Our elections have been manipulated by outside forces, we stupidly placed a reality show celebrity in a powerful place and it’s no joke. Now, when we’re in a time when it’s hard to know what is true and what is not, we need clowns. We need those who can help us regain our sanity. Those who can enable us to laugh at those who try to control us through their own selfish greed.
It’s time for us to speak out against the senselessness and defend what we had, before it’s gone for good. Democracy is at risk of becoming redundant as we pave the way for dictatorship. It’s time to send in the clowns.
*Terry is a retired professor from Loyola University, Chicago. He writes and reviews plays, while also teaching modern Irish and English drama. Moving from Derry, N. Ireland to Chicago in 2004, he retired to the warmer climes of California and continues to enjoy is work with the Irish American community. He can be reached: tb*****@lu*.edu