We’re less than a fortnight into October but Halloween appears to be upon us. Across the U.S., and more recently U.K., costume clad fiends are scaring the shit out of people for no apparent reason, other than personal amusement.
It’s pretty fucking weird, to say the least.
During one of my regular Radio 4 binges I heard a story that police believe those donning clown clothes are mostly older teens and grown ups. In comparison, victims have usually been younger, or relatively old. In some instances knives were reported. Threats have even been made to specific schools.
The whole thing feels like a trans-Atlantic cult inspired by IT, springing from nowhere, seemingly orchestrated, but with no real goals or demands. Just a penchant for circus grimaces and the exploitation of base fears.
But we live in a time when the most visible decision makers have a habit of clowning, so maybe this isn’t shocking. Public figures often behave in the same way- playing on paranoia, acting like characters from a twisted comedy. Or pure horror.
Spilling from script into reality, perhaps everyday folk are well within their rights to respond with signs of equally disturbed minds. Here’s a list of recent stuff so ridiculous you’d think it came from the darkest recesses of the most vicious satirist. It doesn’t, nor is it remotely comprehensive:
*The suggestion that UK companies have a responsibility to name foreign staff. Apparently this now won’t happen, although they could be asked to ‘report on numbers’.
*Proposals to introduce a near-complete ban on abortion in Poland, including rape and incest cases, with women facing a five year jail sentence for breaking the law. If you’re interested to learn more about the country’s stance on terminations, along with that of many other nations, Women On Waves is an incredible documentary.
*The U.S. presidential debates- rarely has ‘serious politics’ looked so similar to a primary school playground. And let’s not start on the press conference Trump held with women that had accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault, after the blonde businessman was exposed for saying ‘when you’re a star’ (AKA rich) you can ‘do anything’ to women.
Or indeed the following plea for terminally ill voters to hang on in there.
*The fight between UKIP’s Mike Hookem and Stephen Woolfe, which turned out to be ‘embarrassing handbags at dawn’. Worst scrap ever, the phrase ‘not a punch was thrown’ when discussing two middle aged men charged with representing the electorate in Europe, on behalf of the same party, is hard to take seriously.
As if the picture didn’t look insane enough, there’s even talk of World War III on the horizon, which is great. The East and South China seas are hotbeds for worrying muscle flexing following Beijing’s hopeful expansion of territory round these parts. Upsetting Japan, America, and Indonesia, to name but three, all sides have been displaying military might in the region, from planes to battleships and amphibious training exercises.
Meanwhile, Syria is part-proxy war between Russia and the West, and grows more complicated, devastating, and volatile by the day. And you can add to those the Ukrainian crisis of 2014, which is still unresolved, and can be directly linked to Kiev’s relations with NATO, the U.S., and the Kremlin. This is before we come to the maniacal race for African resources; ongoing fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan; or mounting tension between India and Pakistan.
The true lunacy lies in how most of these examples, if not all, are about saving face in front of rivals, rather than necessity. A perpetual chess-like game that relies on escalation sounds particularly foolish when mankind thought it wise to master the power of mass destruction over half a century ago. But then maybe I’m just overly-cautious.
Anyone would think we didn’t have bigger priorities to deal with (see: the Human Epoch). It’s certainly crazier than bored office worker, John, 32, hitting Northampton high street dressed as Pennywise. Not that I’m advocating him, either, just trying to highlight how too many people look dangerous and stupid right now.
Photograph courtesy of Capitol Hill Blue.