Why is anti-Americanism so popular lately

Horror clowns: Maliciously brutal grimaces


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Anyone who, after the attacks by so-called horror clowns, expected that citizens, politicians and the media would demand legal consequences but otherwise go back to business was mistaken. On the contrary, the attacks were reported as if they were a hitherto unknown, threatening, but somehow inevitable natural phenomenon. Major daily newspapers, news magazines and magazines from the world above Focus until star published overviews of "where the horror clowns strike in Germany" in star illustrated with a graphic on which the centers of previous attacks from the Ruhr area via Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania to Baden-W├╝rttemberg were marked like earthquake-prone areas. After all, people have to be prepared for what can happen to them if they leave the house in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As unanimous as the public, who responded to every trend with reliable promptness, was that something utterly bad was happening here, one immediately knew two things: The attacks are not ordinary crimes, the perpetrators are being prosecuted and their causes are being investigated must, but about an anthropological challenge, against which one has to arm oneself all the better because it resembles a contagious disease.

The political epidemiologist of the S├╝ddeutsche Zeitung knew to report that the "bad clowns" had "spread like an epidemic, from North America to Great Britain to Germany" and added for those who had not yet grasped the anti-American punch line: "Like most hammered trends, the phenomenon comes from the USA, the country where a political clown with a red head and a ridiculous hairstyle seriously wants to become president. "

Clowning is an honorable craft

The fact that the last US presidential candidate has more entertainment value than the professionally disgraceful Chancellor does not occur to anyone who considers clowns to be superfluous or harmful anyway. "Attracting attention and doing complete nonsense has always been in the job description of clowns," explains the Southgerman newspaper and thinks that that alone is offensive. "They knock around the head of another clown with squeaky rubber truncheons. They throw cakes at each other. They sit on chairs that collapse under them. That should be funny, but whether something like that makes you laugh or it's annoying as a spectator thinks is a matter of taste. "

Plastic flowers spattering water and chairs collapsing in a funny way would not only be able to improve the working atmosphere in some open-plan offices - but political epidemiologists cannot admit that any more than the fact that clowning, like magic, is an honorable craft that takes years of work must be learned before others can be delighted with it. Just as the rise of trained clowns to child and family entertainers is largely due to the American culture industry, it was also America that produced the demonic iconography of the clown as a child fright hiding behind a harmless mask.

Both belong together. To disguise yourself and behind the mask to be able to cross boundaries, which would be frowned upon in everyday life, to become someone else and to be allowed to experience this change as part of your own self - this possibility always contained the promise of self-transcendence and the danger of self-loss at the same time . Children are particularly sensitive to the attractions of this promise as well as to its abysses. Because, as Walter Benjamin once put it for the bourgeois world, they are more "mixed with the characters" than the adults, because they do not yet confront themselves as a rigid identity with the supposedly independent outside world. Integrating the fears associated with the character of the clown into the character and turning them into pleasure is one of the skills that every good clown has to learn.

Archetype of ambiguity

Stephen King's novel, published in 1986 and adapted for television four years later, became emblematic of the clown's ambivalence Itwhat the Southgerman newspaper the razor-sharp conclusion draws that King contributed "significantly to the damage to the image of the clowns".

In King's book, one of the most impressive adult children's books ever written, the evil clown Pennywise, who lives in the sewer and is always able to take the form of what his prospective victims are most afraid of, figures as the archetype of the ambiguity of bourgeois childhood fantasies . He embodies the temptation to leave the boring everyday life in the midst of uniform suburban streets and the threat to individuality, security and happiness that those suburban streets promise at the same time. The children's confrontation with Pennywise thus becomes the code for processing the injuries and disappointments that everyone who wants to grow up at some point must succeed.