Profile on Boswick The Clown

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P.T.Widdle
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Profile on Boswick The Clown

Postby P.T.Widdle » June 30th, 2015, 8:40 pm

I'm interested in what children's magicians think about this piece, and about clowns in general. The whole, "clowns are scary" attitude is a relatively recent phenomenon, as described in the article. It seems somewhat sad and unfair to professional clowns. Children's magicians are lucky not to have a similar meme attached to them.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/20 ... clown.html

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Profile on Boswick The Clown

Postby Dustin Stinett » June 30th, 2015, 9:11 pm

I guess I'll need a definition of "a relatively recent phenomenon" from the author, since he is citing Gacy and other "modern" clown-related events. And apparently "coulrophobia" is a word coined in the 1980s. But I grew up with a couple kids who feared clowns, and that was before Gacy and way before It and the '80s.

I don't think it's a new phenomenon. It's just like everything else we've always had; it's getting more exposure in the "information age." Couple that with population growth, the small percentage of people with this fear grows as well. Just one-percent of about 300 million people (today) versus 200 million (1970) is a fairly significant number.

It might be interesting (for someone with the time) to research the literature--going back as far as possible--to see if there were any mentions of the problem for performers ("how to" tips for clowns). I say that because, unless you can find a 90-something year old clown who is still working today and can compare the generations, the experience that today's performers are having are difficult (impossible?) to compare to someone who worked in the middle or even early 20th century (or even earlier if it can be found in print). A potentially fascinating research opportunity.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Profile on Boswick The Clown

Postby Dustin Stinett » June 30th, 2015, 9:16 pm

Oh, and my son was terrified of clowns when he was a small child. Today, he has a license plate frame that reads, "Can't Sleep: Clowns Will Eat Me."

P.T.Widdle
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Re: Profile on Boswick The Clown

Postby P.T.Widdle » June 30th, 2015, 10:01 pm

There may not be 90 year-old clowns to ask, but Boswick does mention the positive attitudes of today's elderly audience members (grandparents) toward clowns. He mentions that attitude could be attributable to that generation not being exposed to the internet and its viral "scary clown" memes, popular culture ("IT", etc).

One professional working clown describes it as "designer phobia," and Boswick claims to have witnessed a visible change in people's attitudes toward clowns during his 25 years as a performer, but that he only really met a couple of people in his life that had a true phobia towards clowns.

P.T.Widdle
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Re: Profile on Boswick The Clown

Postby P.T.Widdle » July 15th, 2015, 12:54 pm


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erdnasephile
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Re: Profile on Boswick The Clown

Postby erdnasephile » July 15th, 2015, 1:13 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:Oh, and my son was terrified of clowns when he was a small child. Today, he has a license plate frame that reads, "Can't Sleep: Clowns Will Eat Me."


Ha!

Leo Garet
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Re: Profile on Boswick The Clown

Postby Leo Garet » July 15th, 2015, 2:03 pm

As well as the clown "phobia", there are many people who simply think clowns are not funny or entertaining in any way shape or form. Me for one. It wasn't always like this. Charlie Cairoli always made me chuckle when I was a kid; then one day, still a kid, he didn't.

Clowns never scared me, though. However, I think this "not funny, not entertaining" factor helps to swell the perceived "phobic" numbers.

Another factor might be that clowns and clowning seem to have changed over the years.

Apropos of nothing in particular, Kramer's phobic reaction (Seinfeld) to "Clowns" always makes me laugh.

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Spellbinder
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Re: Profile on Boswick The Clown

Postby Spellbinder » July 20th, 2015, 1:35 am

Children are not afraid of getting their faces painted, so why should they be afraid of clowns? I used to work with a face painter who would paint my clown face bit by bit between working on the kids' faces. While this was going on, I did some introductory funny stuff to entertain the kids and attract a crowd for her. When she finished with me, I took over (giving her a break) and did my clown magic show. Never had any kid cry except over broken balloons.
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