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Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Study by the Department of DUH



BREAKING NEWS: Clowns are universally disliked by children because they SCARE THE BEJEEZUS OUT OF THEM. I know! How shocking are those results?!? I think that's gotta be one of the most pointless surveys of the past few decades (at least).

LONDON - Bad news for Coco and Blinko — children don't like clowns, and even older kids are scared of them.

That's the finding of a poll of youngsters by researchers from the University of Sheffield who were examining how to improve the decor of hospital children's wards.

The study, reported in the Nursing Standard magazine, found all the 250 patients aged between 4 and 16 they quizzed disliked the use of clowns, with even the older ones finding them scary.

"As adults we make assumptions about what works for children," said Penny Curtis, a senior lecturer in research at the university.

"We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable."

I for one have always been scared of them, which made me quite the skeptical/terrified circus attendee as a child. They still creep me out to this day. As do most sports mascots, but that's another matter. There's just something sinister about someone who wants to put grotesque makeup on to obliterate their features, dress like a hobo, wear outrageous shoes, honk horns at random intervals, and squirt you in the eye with a fake flowers. Don't even get me started on the clown cars!

The most realistic depiction of a clown in popular culture, or at least the one that most corresponds to my conception of them, has to be Pennywise in Stephen King's IT. The gnashing choppers, the sinister twelve-packs a day voice, the balloons and murder stuff, it all makes sense. Purists may argue that the quesoriffic TV adaptation wasn't even that frightening, but it was scary enough for this 14-year-old to never be interested in reading the undoubtedly terrifying source material.

Does anyone out there in the interwebs like clowns?

8 Comments:

  • Definitely DO NOT like clowns! Pennywise is the reason!

    By OpenID copycat62982, at 8:07 AM  

  • Kristen - yes!!!! In my own anti-clown diatribe I forgot to mention mascots...I mean, I cannot even get anywhere close to a character at Disney World without feeling uneasy, wondering exactly who or what is inside. (And Goofy seemed to be overly-enthusiastic with his hugs during a 2000 visit.)

    Luckily, when we were in WDW a couple months ago, my kids were too old to want to meet the characters, so we were able to avoid most close encounters with costumed folk. (Strangely, though, even as said children were totally uninterested, I did volunteer to get my photo taken with The Incredible's Ozone...hmmm...sometimes things defy explanation.)

    My daughter's elementary school has a mascot - a kinda Phillie Phanatic-esque creature - and it drives me nuts that I don't know who "VZ" really is. I suspect the janitor, which is creepy in and of itself.

    By Blogger Cyn, at 12:19 PM  

  • Frozone. I meant Frozone. Ozone is like...I don't know...when Al Gore dresses up in a cape and tights or something. (Oh, I would pay good money to see that, btw. I may not like people in mascot costumes, but men in tights - yes.)

    By Blogger Cyn, at 5:57 PM  

  • I got into an altercation with the Phanatic at a charity event a few years ago. He came into our tent and started throwing stuff around and being a jerk, I mean "charmingly mischievous." Kids were screaming and crying and hiding under tables, so I put years of fear and loathing aside and confronted the beast. I screamed at him to get the hell out of the tent because no one likes his antics and he's scaring the crap out of the kids.

    "Some family-friendly mascot you are!" That was my parting shot. He took off after doing some mascot thing. I was shaking as much as the kids were at the end of it, but it felt good to lay into something that I feel is unnecessary and terrifying.

    By Blogger kristen, at 6:30 AM  

  • I got into an altercation with the Phanatic at a charity event a few years ago. He came into our tent and started throwing stuff around and being a jerk, I mean "charmingly mischievous." Kids were screaming and crying and hiding under tables, so I put years of fear and loathing aside and confronted the beast. I screamed at him to get the hell out of the tent because no one likes his antics and he's scaring the crap out of the kids.

    "Some family-friendly mascot you are!" That was my parting shot. He took off after doing some mascot thing. I was shaking as much as the kids were at the end of it, but it felt good to lay into something that I feel is unnecessary and terrifying.

    By Blogger kristen, at 6:30 AM  

  • I am so glad your blog is up and running. I was a little worried there and had forgotten to ask you about it...

    And, despite my general ambivalence about clowns, the clown from It is beyond creepy...

    By Anonymous Cala, at 9:07 AM  

  • Now we're picking on the Phillie Phanatic? That ain't right!

    By OpenID Speener, at 9:48 PM  

  • This will not have effect in fact, that's exactly what I suppose.
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    By Anonymous Julian, at 10:21 PM  

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