I think it no accident that the greatest politicians have always had a strong sense of humor – Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and now, perhaps, Barbara Emery, should she go through with her plan to run for mayor of the 67,000 residents of Rock Hill, South Carolina. This transplanted New Yorker says she is not just another political clown. Debra is a professional. She told the Rock Hill Herald, “I am a clown, but I'm also a serious businesswoman,” so it seems possible she might be be open to using the following line on her yard signs, which I offer to her, free of charge; “All politicians are clowns. Why not try a professional?”.
Debra's has a dual persona, “Pickles Da Clown” (above), and “Pickles Da Pirate Clown”, (only available for boy's parties – this is, after all, South Carolina, and obsessed with traditional gender roles). Having never seen her “act” it is difficult for me to say if her sense of humor extends much beyond, “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants”. But according to the manager of the Golden Corral restaurant in nearby Charlotte, N.C., Debra is “The best balloon twister...I have ever seen!” Now I would guess the average restaurant manager has limited experience with balloon twisters, so the compliment must be taken with a shot of seltzer water. However, I suspect trying to get a rezoning ordinance through a dysfunctional city council (or a congress) must be very similar to trying to bent a rubber tube (particularly one ribbed or lubricated) into a wiener dog or a giraffe.
Now, everybody hopes the next pie they get in the kisser, will at least be a fresh one. And greater Rock Hill might benefit from a fresh face to be impacted with a confection. The current mayor is Doug Echols, who has held the office for the past 16 years. And his last challenger, Big Dan Warren, was a member of Doug's First Presbyterian church. Evidently, in Rock Hill, pew are called, but most come from the same pew. Don't any of the Baptists in Rock Hill want to be mayor? Or, maybe even a Catholic? In a monochrome crowd like this, how could a clown be anything but a fresh face, even when coated with grease paint. Unfortunately, Pickles turns out was as much a political clown as Donald Trump, when she missed the August deadline to file papers to run. She told a local radio station, "My popularity got a huge boost. I am booked literally all over the place". Then she added, "Hey, I had the guts to want to be mayor, and to say that I was a clown." Donald seems to be having a negative impact on our entire culture.
In truth there is little you can say about a clown that cannot also be said about a politician. Heinrich Heine, the 19th century German poet, pointed out that “When the heroes go off the stage, the clowns come on,” which seems to me to be apt stage directions straight out Barnum and Bailey. And consider the political implications of Adam Slinky’s observation, “If there are twelve clowns in a ring, you can jump in the middle and start reciting Shakespeare. But to the audience, you'll just be the thirteenth clown.” Barack Obama might agree with that statement. And it brings to mind the experience of Kenny the Clown, who might once have been mayor of San Francisco, and/or Alameda, California..
His 'straight' name was Kenneth Khan, and his back up careers were as a social worker and a substitute teacher. But the call of the prat fall was always strong for Kenny (above). Then, in 2006, Kenny ran for mayor of Alarmeda, across the bay from the Golden Gate. His own mother said he did not stand a chance of winning, and she was right. Kenny received only 7% of the vote, and the support of just 1,300 registered voters. On the encouraging side, the fact that he was a clown did not seem to have lowered his vote total, nor did his arrest for juggling flaming torches while skateboarding. So the following year, when Kenny decided to qualify as a candidate for mayor of Frisco by moving onto a friend's couch inside city limits, the sitting mayor's chief-of-staff had to take him seriously, saying ““I don’t know what’s better -- the fact that he can juggle fire or can smear his opponent from a skateboard, but it sounds like he’s going to fit right in.”
And Kenny did, even overcoming his own families' claustrophobia (fear of clowns). His sister Sylvia called his candidacy “a mockery of our system”, and she did not mean that in a good way. She told the press, “I really have no interest in talking about this and would not like to be contacted to talk about him ever again.” But Kenny persevered with his dyslectic campaign. “People ask me, ‘Do we really want to elect a clown for mayor of the city?’ I say, ‘That’s an excellent question.’” Kenny was determined to collect the 10,000 signatures he needed to appear on the ballot. “Everybody said it couldn’t be done,” he optimistically told the press. “Not only do I think I can, I will. I’m going to.” Unfortunately, Kenny did not. And he won only 3 votes as a write-in candidate. But if you look carefully, you might see a faint ray of sanity – ah, hope – a few thousand miles away on the North Sea coast of England, in the tiny Yorkshire fishing village of Whitey
Parenthetically, Whitey’s previous fame rested on it being the spot Bran Stoker chose to wash ashore the villain in his novel “Dracula” (he first found the name while rooting about in the Transylvania history section of the Whitey Public Library). But today, there can be little doubt the place has become famous for one of its elected representatives, Simon Parkes, Labor Party. And while it is true that Simon is only one of the 19 councilors representing the 13,000 citizens of Whitey, and he is just another politician who has admitted to having an extramarital affair, Simon Parkes is the only politician on earth (that I know of), who has admitted to having fathered a child in an extraterrestrial extramarital affair.
Simon calls his hot green alien, Cat Queen. She is 9 feet tall, has eight fingers and a big green head and wears a monk's robe. He spends hours every day, drawing her image, like Indiana power lineman Roy Neary in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". But Simon's description of their quarterly trysts are told with discretion. "What will happen is that we will hold hands, and I will say ‘I'm ready’ and then the technology I don't understand will take us up to a craft orbiting the earth.” Simon calls the product of their....whatever it is – I am tempted to say, delusion – Zarka. That is, evidently a “Mantid” male name, since Simon describes their hybrid offspring as a boy, a label which strikes me as both optimistic and depressing.
Simon (on the left, above) admits that his earthly wife (and mother of his three earth children) is “very unhappy, clearly” about his extraterrestrial passion play, “but it is not on a human level, so I don't see it as wrong,” he says. Simon assures his constituents that his alien sex romps have not interfered with his elected duties. “I am not taken during meetings. These creatures...don't have an agenda,” But do they have maternity leave? Simon insists, “When I was elected I'd already gone public...Nobody has asked me to resign because this is a private matter...I'm more interested in fixing someone's leaking roof or potholes.” But in typical British understatement, he added, “People don't want me to talk about aliens.” And by “people” I assume Simon means earthlings, such as his wife. And that brings us to the ray of hope.
With all do respect to Councilman Parkes, he does not qualify as a political clown. “Pickles da” and “Kenney the”and "The Donald" are political clowns, and they know its an act. While Simon Parkes, like Louie Gomert and Ted Cruz from Texas or Michele Bachman and even John Boehner, seem unaware the spot of light illuminating their performance is controlled by IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Employees, and not God Almighty.
Or, to put it another way, a real political clown will stick out their tongue at you if you dare to disagree, while a real clown keeps their tongue planted firmly in your own cheek.
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