The Scary Clown: A Fearful Archetype

The Scary Clown: A Fearful Archetype

For generations, people have feared clowns - and many have used that to their advantage.

A new adaptation of the Stephen King novel It has been released, and with that, a whole new generation of kids can develop a fear of clowns and balloons. But it isn't just the 1990 miniseries starring Tim Curry that sparked the common phobia of clowns – purposely scary or just normal circus ones. The concept of a creepy clown has been a staple of pop culture over decades, if not centuries. To talk about every instance and every single “evil clown” in media and culture would fill an entire book, but there are several major ones that have become icons in their own right, so we'll look at those – unless of course you happen to be afraid of clowns, but in that case, you probably didn't click on this article anyway.

Of course, no discussion on evil clowns would be complete without looking at the Clown Prince of Crime himself, the Joker. Created by Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson (though all credit went to Bob Kane, see a previous article for that story), the character was inspired by the film adaptation of The Man Who Laughs. Since his first appearances in the pre-WWII comics, the Joker's design and mannerisms have evolved to instil fear in a changing audience, though the Comics Code made him go from being a psychotic murderer to a comedic clown (of course, adding to the whole “Clown Prince” motif). Usually dressed in a purple and green suit, his face white and lips bright red, the Joker has become one of the most iconic villains in history – and when his appearance is changed to make him scary and intimidating to a new audience, oftetimes it is met with negative reactions (see Jared Leto in Suicide Squad). Even still, his brand of dark comedy-based crime and violence has in some ways influenced many of the portrayals of creepy clowns, many using evil twists on classic “clown acts”, a trait that was popularized by the Joker. It should also be noted that Heath Ledger's turn as the Joker in the 2008 film The Dark Knight created an image of fear in itself, further establishing the character as the most famous scary clown.

In reality, serial killer John Wayne Gacy had previously worked as a clown, thus giving him the nickname “the Killer Clown.” Active in the 1970s, Gacy's subsequent arrest and trial were given intense media coverage, not unlike Jeffrey Dahmer less than fifteen years later. This was uncommon at the time, with the Manson family still fresh in the minds of the public (causing a rise in interest of serial killers) and a general concern over saftey of children. When not killing, Gacy was an active member in his Chicago community, often dressing up as a clown named “Pogo” to entertain children at parties and local events. Well-known and in good regard, Gacy was the last person one would expect to be a serial killer. But of course, that's usually what happens. As many children were growing up around the news, it is very likely that aspects of the story and the idea that those funny guys down at the carnival could turn around and harm you, the makeup hiding their real selves. Gacy murdered 33 people, all males between the ages of 14 and possibly up to 32 (several bodies have yet to be identified) – and despite his years of service and entertaining, he was still severely ill. His nickname and story has become part of American history, a story still being researched and read into today.

And yes, we have to look back to the 2016 clown sightings. Because that's the kind of world we live in, where for a period of time, we had to be on the lookout for creepy clowns. Some theorized that the clowns were actually just a viral marketing scheme for Rob Zombie's 31, a film involving a gang of murderous clowns, or the then-upcoming It (which had just revealed a promotional image of Pennywise before the sightings started). However, spokesmen for both films denied these claims, and several people claimed to have been attacked or witnessed a person in a clown suit around their areas. Schools banned students from wearing clown costumes, police were brought in due to threats on schools and other public facilities, and McDonald's scaled back appearances of their mascot Ronald McDonald (right there, you know it's a real crisis). These slowly started falling in sightings, and following the threats of a “clown purge” in which these clowns would attack people on Halloween night, the clown problem was pretty much over. Of course, with the release of It, there has been a few, but it's assumed those are just people trying to jumpstart the epidemic again, to no avail. However, red balloons have been tied to sewer grates in reference to the movie, but unlike the clowns of 2016, this is obviously just a little prank to scare the kids who sneaked in to see the R-rated movie.

So why are so many afraid of clowns? Is it the pale faces, bright clothes, and the way-too-happy mannerisms? Maybe it's the fact that the person under all that makeup may not be all there, and like John Wayne Gacy, you never know what people are capable of. As I said earlier, I could go on and on about different scary clowns and what they highlight and how they bring on feelings of fear and dread, but frankly we don't have that kind of time. Perhaps the fear is just like the fear of heights or fear of large crowds. It's a common phobia that everybody who has it has a different reasoning. Some don't like people in makeup and costumes to begin with. Others were exposed to Tim Curry in the 1990 It a little too young and it scarred them for life. Thousands of hours of research and investigations have been completed by experts (no not exactly clown experts, but scientists), and they found that many children are afraid of clowns, with no real reason why. I'd argue that it is at least partially brought on by their often unhuman appearance – white faces, bright colors, etc. It is unusual and oftentimes a little jarring to see. But hey, that's just an idea. It's just something that humanity will deal with until the end of time – and it doesn't look like there will be any stopping of the evil clown characters in media until then.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros. Televison/ABC

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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