One of the best news stories I've ever seen

Check this out.

For those of you who won't click (you rebels, you!) it's a story about a study done at the University of Sheffield hospital here in England (at least, I assume that's where the survey was done. The story mentions the U of Sheffield and mentions a hospital but does not actually connect the two in any real way).

Researchers surveyed 250 children, ages 4 to 16. About clowns. And what did they find?

What they found was the best quote in the article: "We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable."

I do not like clowns. I have never liked clowns. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I don't know a single person who likes clowns (okay, that's not entirely true, because I have a friend whom I very much like, and his mother is a clown. And a Vicar. Shes a religious clown, for religious gatherings and things. I think. But I am certain about the vicar and clown parts.) But aside from him--and he really has to like her, doesn't he, with her having given him life and all--I don't know anybody.

This is why Pennywise was so effective in It. Because clowns are something forced on children. They're scary, and they're made even scarier by the fact that everyone expects you to like them and be amused by them. It's not simply their horrible expressionless faces, their dull blank eyes, their features like caricatures from a nightmare.

It's that when faced with a clown you are forced to conform to what other people think you should like. Your actual self, the fundamental truth of you (how's that for a Stuart Smalley-esque phrase?) is submerged, unimportant. You WILL like that clown, damn you!

Being faced with a clown is when we realize we are not like everyone else. Watching other people laugh and smile and clap while we ourselves are either bored, terrified, or a combination, drives home our isolation in the most disturbing and profound way. We feel disassociated from humanity when we see a clown, and it's frightening and painful.

I am totally using clowns in my next book youcan'thavethemIcalledit!!!!!!


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