Culture Clips: Clowns Are Scared of It

A clown hiding behind a balloon.

Professional clowns are not happy about yet another cinematic remake of Stephen King’s seriously creepy 1986 horror novel It. The titular It in question here takes the form of a scary, nasty clown named Pennywise. And given the recent scary, nasty clown sightings in the real world last fall, those who still put on colorful makeup and bright-red noses for birthday parties are pretty down about yet another horrific depiction of their profession.

Mel Magazine contributor John McDermott interviewed several Los Angeles-area clowns for his story on the movie’s cultural influence. “It’s gonna be bad for clowns,” said Guilford Adams, who’s worked as a clown for 20 years. “It’s ruining our business,” said another clown, Nick Kane. McDermott summarizes, “It’s never been harder to be a clown, all of them say. Clowns were once a source of entertainment and even joy, but their depiction in the media has robbed them of their wholesomeness and transformed them into something children fear.”

Elsewhere, Salon reporter Nico Lang has a bone to pick—and, I think, a legitimate one—regarding the depiction of seniors on the big screen. The occasion for his observation is the new film Going in Style, which features three retirees (played by acting icons Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin) successfully plotting a bank heist after their lifelong employer folds and they lose their pensions.

In his article “Going in Style and old people behaving badly: Hollywood needs to stop treating people over 60 like idiots,” Lang writes, “Hollywood has a bad habit of underestimating the intelligence of people over 60, churning out movies that treat them like wrinkly buffoons who are constantly falling asleep, complaining about their bunions, or involved in wacky hijinx. The elderly may as well be a different species.”

Meanwhile, director Brett Ratner (Hercules, Rush Hour, X-Men: The Last Stand) thinks the popular movie-review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes is hurting Tinseltown badly. He told Entertainment Weekly, “It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct.”

Last week, Culture Clips reported on a Marvel comics exec David Gabriel talking about his company’s slipping comic book sales in the wake of increased diversification of characters. This week, The Federalist’s Jon Del Arroz unpacks how he believes political correctness in Marvel’s comics really is killing the brand. “Their comic books have lost their core of good storytelling, and are instead pandering to social justice warriors and offering phony diversity pushes,” he writes.

In other entertainment industry news that reflects our culture’s changing value system, MTV has announced that it’s eliminating gendered categories for its next movie and TV awards.

In Detroit, an 11-year-old boy has died three weeks after hanging himself. Tysen Benz’s suicide came in the wake of his 13-year-old girlfriend playing a gruesome prank on him by trying to convince him that she had killed herself—a hoax that the adolescent clearly believed. The boy’s mother, Katrina Goss, said in an interview, “Please monitor all of your children’s technological device usage. It is not an invasion of privacy. It is imperative to know what they are doing and to whom they are socializing with.” The Washington Post reported yesterday that the girl in the case will face charges.

Unrelated to that sad story, Facebook has announced that it will be taking new steps to stop the spread of revenge porn.

If it seems like music is getting faster these days, it’s not your imagination. In a world where people’s attention spans are shorter than ever, the tempo of today’s songs has increased, and the amount of time before someone begins singing has diminished markedly, from 23 seconds in 1986 to just five seconds in 2015, according to a new European study.

Finally, on the celebrity front this week, singer and actress Demi Lovato hopes to make an R-rated sequel to Disney’s popular Camp Rock movies. Barry Manilow has come out as gay and said he waited so long because he thought fans would be disappointed. And actress Nicole Kidman describes watching her two younger daughters with singer Keith Urban grow up is “equally beautiful and a little heartbreaking.”

Who wrote this?

Adam R. Holz is a senior associate editor for Plugged In. He also writes for Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine and has been a Boundless contributor. In his free time (which there is sometimes precious little of) Adam enjoys playing guitar and constructing LEGO kits with his son. Adam and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents, in fact, of three children, one boy and two girls.

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