Clown: (n) an entertainer who wears funny clothes, has a painted face, and makes people laugh by performing tricks and behaving in a silly way
Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
Some days ago the Nigerian social media space woke up to the news of musician Seyi Shay and the sheer dress she wore to the Channel O music awards and the barrage of abuse that was directed at her for her sheer (pardon the pun) irresponsibility. Notable among the people who took exception to her conduct was popular movie director, Charles Novia. Due to his anger he overreacted some, but like the gentleman that he is he has apologized for going over the top and there is absolutely no reason to attack him for those tweets now or flog the exchange more than is healthy for everyone concerned.
A few months ago I was reading an article on comedian Robin Williams and the travails which led to his suicide. The article reminded me of a character in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones movie series known as Ser Dontos, Ser Dontos was King Joffrey’s fool. Ser Dontos is always the one Joffrey calls when Joffrey wants to amuse himself and the entire Royal court. In other words Dontos was never called when weighty kingdom matters were to be discussed, because he is a “fool” a lower life form who is only useful as a sideshow.
Ser Dontos is the poster boy for clowns and jesters and entertainers everywhere. In every ancient king’s court, there is always a person, or a group of people whose job it is to abase themselves in order to keep the court entertained and lively. Sometimes these people put on funny makeup and look silly and clumsy and foolish, because human beings are like that Pharisee that Jesus talks about in Luke 18. We watch people who are worse than us and laugh and say: “thank God I am not like that man.” Clowns know that the quickest way to get a man entertained is to show him the antics of someone who is worse than him. This is the principle that guides entertainers in this age as well. For instance Aki and Pawpaw’s appeal is that they are shorter than they should be, like they are not complete men. Mr Ibu presents himself as a retarded, slovenly, wastrel. Those negative characteristics are part of why everyone likes him. There is also Klint Da Drunk. Drunks are regarded as part of the dregs of society, irresponsible, imbalanced, morons. So for Klint, he has to abase himself like a real drunk in order to entertain the audience. If you have time go to any stand-up comedy show, I can guarantee that every comedian you see perform is likely going to make a joke about the suffering and poverty they were mired in growing up. I could go on and on but I hope you get the point. This doesn’t only apply to comedy, because every form of entertainment is designed to make us relax and feel good. It is important we understand this so that the point I’m making becomes clearer.
Therefore coming to complain about how an entertainer dressed, like Our Movie director did and all the self styled “voices of reason” like him do, is like going to a Klint the Drunk comedy event and complaining about why the main act is behaving like a drunk. Everybody else will promptly tell him: “yes you are correct, but that is precisely why we came to see him, so quit whinging and join us, or go and find your entertainment elsewhere.” Then our crusader ends up feeling like he is the lone voice of reason in a society with warped values. No you are not, you are just a bull headed and opinionated wet blanket who thinks he knows everything. Just like nobody wants to see the court jester serious, so also nobody wants to see the entertainer like the everyday man. For an entertainer to entertain you, he must be something you the recipient are not, to even entertain you better, he needs to be something you can sneer at, like the clown in funny make up. So if he can’t be the comic he/she can be the bad guy/girl. The technological advancement of our society means society is faster paced and under more pressure, which means we are seeking more risqué forms of entertainment. In other words we are pushing our clowns further. So if you are someone who believes he/she is a fortress of morality in a sea of eroding societal values, because you feel you are god-fearing or whatever. Then I am sorry, because what you think is a “problem” is going to get even worse. Your effort will be laudable, and might change one or two minds, but it will ultimately be futile, like trying to make water flow uphill. And then our dear crusader, if you are a parent and you are complaining that clowns are not being proper role models to your children, then you have very serious problems with your parental priorities. Clowns are not meant to be society’s role models, they are meant to be its entertaining sideshows. We know you are correct, and learned and morally upright, but please can you just shut up for a few minutes and let us enjoy our entertainment in peace instead of being a morally upright pain in the ass? Thanks
Now don’t get me wrong here, I also firmly believe in the mantra “it is entertaining to watch the madman in the market, but you wouldn’t want one as your child.”, but I still feel that there are blessings in entertaining other people (of course the obvious financial reward being one of those). I feel if we are not going to praise them, we should at least not put them down too much, for doing what the rest of us would rather avoid. I have also learnt not to fret over what I cannot change. The doctor says that way I get to live longer, so there you have it.