Have you ever wondered why the clown gets such a bad rap, why most people simply don’t like clowns? The history of the clown is vast and unique. Clowning has been a part of society since the days of Ancient Egypt’s fifth dynasty and even further back to China in the year 1818 B.C.
One of the most famous Jesters in the world was Yu Sze, today he is remembered as a Chinese national hero for jokingly convincing the Chinese emperor Shih Huang-Ti to abandon his plans to paint the great wall of China, resulting in many lives being saved from this hard and strenuous labor.
Among the treasures that Cortez had with him when he returned back to the Pope Clement VIII were dwarf clowns, Aztec fools, and hunchback buffoons. In native America it was clowns that were believed to have powers to cure disease, they played important religious and social roles in their tribes as well. Things have truly changed along with perceptions. Do you remember the days of Ringling Brother’s and Barnum and Bailey Circus when the clown was just funny, silly and part of the act, when ten to fifteen of them would file out o f a small car and the crowd would laugh hysterically?
Clowns seem to no longer be a laughing matter, and the movie “It” did not make it any easier for the clown. Can you imagine the clown being represented with evil clown t-shirts. Would you wear and promote evil clown t-shirts or buy evil clown t-shirts for family members as gifts? There are those who would take total offense to this while others would find it hilarious. Some people have had bad childhood experiences that have left them scared for life, experiences that include some sort of a clown or jester.
Surely evil joker t-shirts would have been frowned upon in ancient times when courts employed fools for entertainment, although evil joker t-shirts would have been an interesting addition to the outfit worn by the licensed fools of Britain who wore bright coats with party colors and the infamous three teared hats with bells on the end to represent a donkey’s ears. Their job was actually to criticize and amuse their mistress or master and their guests for entertainment purposes.
There were two distinctions between jester’s and clowns or country bumpkins as they were sometimes called. The jester lived a life of privilege as he was within a noble household by decree of the Queen, while a clown was considered more of a madman of sorts who was deemed to be divinely inspired. He was called the “natural fool” and both were dismissed for their antics.
Should we all give the jester a break. Perhaps they were onto something, a lifestyle free of chains and structure that keeps the establishment of society on a leash. Perhaps this was their way of being themselves, able to criticize those in a position of royalty, and to a certain extent get away with it, if this was the case then I guess the joke is on you.