“God invented mankind because he loved silly stories.” If this quote from British artist Ralph Steadman is true, the big man upstairs has to be particularly pleased with how the October 2016 chapter of our story is unfolding.
The most puzzling story of the last few weeks is the clown problem facing the United States. Videos of clowns appearing out of nowhere and chasing cars are sweeping social media. It’s a story straight out of a parody of a horror movie. Is it performance art? An actual terrorist threat? An early Halloween celebration? Or perhaps some kind of socio-political commentary? There aren’t any obvious answers, which might be the scariest part of it all.
That brings us to the other clowns in the news. No matter where you sit on the political spectrum, each candidate has had their share of mockable moments. Poor Jill Stein was not included in the first presidential debate, so she chimed in with her responses via a remote video complete with a podium of her own. Gary Johnson seems hell-bent on cashing in on months-old memes every chance he gets. But probably the most important product of the debate was the Saturday Night Live parody, which exaggerated Hillary Clinton’s thirst for power and Donald Trump’s obsession with being as politically incorrect as possible.
These events are undeniably bizarre. With everyone taking them so seriously, we have to wonder sometimes whether it’s worth it. As this week’s columns prove, there are plenty of issues worth caring about. But we also like to think that having a sense of humor about it all is the best way to stay sane amidst the silliness.