Clowns, of course, are very serious and important people.

At their simplest, they remind us of the silliness of things: that the world we have created is ridiculous.

They reassure us in this observation by appealing to our innate understanding of the absurd.

They relieve the endless tension and trauma of reality.

At a deeper level, the clown is the mirror image of the priest.

Both represent two ancient sides of our nature. Both elucidate what it means to be human.

The priest summons, celebrates and interrogates the sacred; the clown does the same with the profane.

The one is concerned with the eschatological, the other with the scatological.

The priest propounds abstinence and fasting; the clown gluttony and indulgence. The one solemnifies sex, the other carnalises.

SHAMA PRINCESS II: Photo by Aniko Lichi Szatmari, Mkch, 2019.[Model, makeup, stylist -Damali]

…….We need our clever fools, of course.

Too much solemnity is sickly. We need the carnival. We need reminders of our absurdity. The culture should be subverted.

The sacred should be disparaged. Institutions should be derided when they become sclerotic. We live in an age of posturing and zealotry and never needed our satirists and our clowns more.

But the transgressor is licensed precisely because they are not in power. The satirist ridicules the government – fairly, unfairly – and we smile because (ordinarily) they are not in charge of the hospitals, the schools, our livelihoods or the borders.

The simple pleasure of a rug hunt; “rugophilia”, Mkch 2018.

 ……The difficulty for the clown is that once truth and seriousness have been merrily shattered, they cannot be put back together and served up anew.

Or, to put it another way, the buffoon who has just entertained the audience by smashing all the plates cannot now say that he proposes to use them to serve up a banquet in honour of himself becoming a wise and honest king.

Everyone can see: the plates are all in pieces on the floor.

In dramatic terms, just as death reveals the life of the kingly archetype as noble and purposeful, so the clown is revealed as foolish and meaningless.

……..Masks change, not archetypes. The fool still holds the stage. And pitiful ambition is precisely what we are watching.


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