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Clown Points

Dreamed 2013/3/17 by Wayan

Dreams can mull over more than events and feelings from one's day. Sometimes they explore philosophical ideas. Just not always... comfortably. Cover of 'The Diviners' by Libba Bray.


My friend Mark calls. He's worried about his cousin. "She lost her traditional faith, got depressed, sees no point to life." To me that's not depression--biochemical--but existential, justified grief. Without Christianity, all she knows is materialism: shop til you drop. I argue "Neither of us, nor any of our friends who's happy, really buys either of those worldviews--religious dogma or scientific nihilism. We're both mystics trusting experience and experiments over experts--whether theologians or scientists. We tested the world and found it magic. She could too. Tell her that. You know no one ELSE will."

His call make me realize how frustrated I am with Anglo culture's utter denial of any alternative to these two authoritarian worldviews. I think both dogmas lead to despair. I've been reading Chris Ware's Building--an intellectually and artistically crisp portrait of empty, sad lives. Why? Ware rejects anything spiritual or even paranormal as mere superstition or fundamentalist nonsense. So his characters, who can't buy traditional religion, all end up alone in Bleakville. Shop, then die. Nothing tragic--character flaws don't bring them down. The world does. The world as he sees it.

I also just read Libba Bray's The Diviners. During Prohibition, Evie, a small-town shit-disturber, gets banished to New York City, poooor girl! She's a psychometric, sensing objects' histories. Bray, nominally a fantasist, gives Evie a modest, realistic ESP talent much like mine or my sisters'--easy to identify with. I looked forward to watching Evie figure out she's a natural reporter or detective. But the author won't let Evie just find herself a life--Bray drags in a gratuitous gothic-horror plot. Let your wild talents outa the closet, and you uncork the Devil! Under the skin, not far from Chris Ware.

How the witch-hunts still haunt us!


I bike to the Red Vic in the Haight-Ashbury to sing in the lobby with my friends Hallie and Mike. No one joins us but we try a dozen improvs. Songs out of nothing. Do-it-yourselfism. Fun.

As fun as having your own spiritual experiences, rather than following some prophet's word.


Watch "1790" on TV: a Swedish doctor in love with a married woman. The star, interviewed, talks of how the era's morals differed. Harsh on adultery, but relatively open-minded on drugs, prostitution... but child abuse too. Again I find myself thinking "Their worldview shaped ethics. God's commandments defined sin. They didn't judge by results--by real harm done. But I do."


Clowns. Creepy clowns. Ambitious creepy clowns, who want to become Grand Masters. That takes a full 96 Clown Points, and only a handful in the world have made it--even a single point's not easy. It sounds vaguely like chess rankings or Freemasonry--intricate guyish hierarchies based on arcane knowledge no one else cares about. But...

The Clown Guild--apprenticeship, patronage, point system, hierarchy--has uglier roots than chess tourneys or Freemason ranks. Originally, all clowns were gay pedophiles, taking and training apprentices who they used as sextoys--think Shakespearean players, legally required to be all-male. In the last century, new venues like vaudeville, radio, clubs and TV all softened the exploitation, since a kid could leave and still learn comedy outside the Guild... but High Clowndom still reflects that medieval hierarchy when it was a monopoly--the Catholic Church of comedy. And like the priesthood, rife with rape.

The current grand masters are reformist, but not the guy I'm stuck watching--a bearded mid-level clown (46 clown points) scheming to win his last two points to make Master Clown (48--halfway to Grand).

I don't know if he's straight or gay, but he certainly knows how to screw his underlings.

Pyramid of abusive clowns. Nightmare sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
But I gotta remember: he's not just some individual creep ready and willing to hurt kids. He's a last inheritor of a venerable tradition in the mainstream of Old World values. Which we now reject as monstrous.

Don't we?


And here we are, in late capitalism. Justified, right-thinking and enlightened. We don't mutilate kids' genitals. We just blind their third eyes! "Amass money and status-points--ignore your own dreams and intuitions." For generations, fundamentalists seared the third eye shut with the fire of Hell. But rationalists do it too--with mockery. Meditation, dreamwork, premonitions, hunches... burn away all that superstitious junk!

Leaving us just the mall. And then you clowns wonder why you're depressed?

Child clowns squashed in a pyramid. Nightmare sketch by Wayan.

Day: depression & grief - Christianity - science & religion vs dreamwork & intuition - social attitudes toward ESP - writers - Bray, Libba - repression
Dream: alternate worlds - circus & stage - hierarchy & ambition - numbers & pyramids - mentors - kids - pedophilia & sexploitation - ethics - pencil dreamart

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