Published April 27, 2019
A term that needs no introduction, but perhaps definition. “Clown World”, carries itself as serious only to its unassuming denizens. Clown World is not discernible from the inside, but from the outside. Clown World is only such to the observer, but to the patron seems an appropriate place in which to gamble the smallest semblance of identity. Recognizing Clown World is an accomplishment in itself. The sheer mental instability offered on a platter to those who invest social stock into Clown World is enough to make one wring his brain of its contents, should he decide to dive into the deep end of it. Ultimately, Clown World is a conceit. It’s a way of freeze drying the insanity of an irrational, always-online and instantaneous world we can no longer escape. Yes, it is a genuine construction of disparate lunacy, people and platforms, but it is also a shameless cope. Acknowledging Clown World implies one has welcomed a practical personal philosophy into his life, as opposed to a straight black pill. Consequently, there are some basic rules about the Town of the Clown to discuss.
The first rule necessary to understanding the theatrics implicit in Honkville is that only those on the outside know what it is. Forgive me for saying one must be sufficiently woke to know they are the butt of a cosmic joke, but the fact remains. Recognizing the existence of a world where subjects are mandated to wear tie-dyed afros will likely make most people turn away from it by default. Provided one is not subsumed in Maddow takes or reading the Mueller report to his children before lights out, he probably has a chance. Those who remain in high-contrast makeup should be ceaselessly ridiculed. At best, the insults jolt them into a state of consciousness. At worst, they become the observer’s punchline instead. These people exist to propagate the delusion of significance in Clown World. They do not have the agency to evaluate the impact of their participation, or its personal impact on their lives. Whether it is most appropriate to characterize this as contemptible or pathetic is up to the observer, but observation is the most essential rule in understanding Clown World, and calling it such is a concession that people willingly perpetuate their own mass disassociation to an extent appropriate of that title. If one does not laugh, then he must cry. So, we laugh.
Rule number two is the most lethal: the joke is always on the patron. There are no exceptions to this rule. The surefire way to know a hapless sap just got dressed down in a poke-a-dot onesie, squeaky shoes, and a pocketful of deflated balloons is realizing he just put himself on the losing side of a situation with nothing to gain in the first place. Believe it or not, this is going to be the vast majority of the interactions anyone has available to them at any one time, and it is the exact reason Clown World metastasizes the way it does on social media. The immediacy of interaction social media offers one makes him spectacularly prone to the probability of self-sabotage. If anyone has ever felt the nagging urge to retreat from the omnipresent woes of the millions of souls Twitter expects to extract tears for, they are feeling a natural defense mechanism beckoning them to fall back while they still have a chance. Social media has always been a grief circus. It endeavors on behalf of its brainless architects to categorize and advertise tragedy in exchange for the virtue it extricates from its clueless patrons. Social media exists to qualify the feelings of the masses it manipulates in order to reinforce itself as a series of vanity platforms. This is how meaning is created in Clown World, and why social media is so necessary to its function and so responsible for its proliferation. Clown World is a zero sum game. No one gets anything for caring, anything for participating, or anything from acknowledging it, except grief. The problem with grief is that it is such because it is incommunicable, and yet communication is the expectation of social media. This paradox enhances the ineffable void one is prone to experience when Clown World begins to take hold.
This extrapolation about social media leads naturally into rule three: the media, corporate and social, is the foundation of Clown World. Media is especially nefarious because it creates context and determines discourse. Media creates a schema for Clown World to operate in. Clown World would have no tangible representation without media. Instead, it would manifest as any number of disconnected and unrelated events that happen without sense or purpose, and would seem no more odd than any number of phenomena humans think less of than breathing. A concentrated flow of information is necessary to create a material form for Clown World, and offers the context and appropriate discourse by which to participate in it. The result of this is the arbitrary sense of importance bestowed on those tricked into playing the game, none of them realizing they earn nothing for the attempt and exist purely to signal boost the same junk information that roped them in. In Clown World, one’s actions and speech are designed in much the same way they are when someone sets up someone else for a joke, that is to say the response to the bait is predictable and at someone’s expense. Every Twitter moment, every nightly news story or headline, is ultimately designed to evoke a particular response. There is actually no difference between what the CIA did to media in Operation Mockingbird and what media does to the patron. The patron exists to be the eternal fool, endlessly manipulated for cheap laughs as a prop for someone else’s joke. The question worth asking for anyone sufficiently interested in maintaining their status as an observer of Clown World as opposed to a patron is whether or not the response they were designed to have is for anyone’s benefit besides the clown’s.
Granted, there are countermeasures to these things. The first is to understand that virtually all the information one is likely to consume from a respected news source is a PsyOp. This is especially true on social media. Patrons are bombarded with a steady series of selective information meant to influence their minute-to-minute interactions with thousands of people at a time. This is a capability American intelligence agencies could only dream of in the early years of the Cold War. Imagine the world living through another Cold War with social media. Imagine if the Internet had existed during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The easiest way to avoid the horrors of Clown World is to recuse oneself from its control of information. The general rule is to disengage from media to whatever degree one sees fit. Willful ignorance is key. No longer a patron, but a cautious observer.
Perspective plays a role here, too. If Clown World is a conceit meant to inspire laughs in the face of terminal stupidity, then thuggery is the prescription written along with it. If an observer is not willing to simply walk through life largely despondent to those things that do not affect him personally, he will soon find himself in ruination at the behest of Clown World. The observer should constantly reassess the things that inspire rage in his heart and ask himself how they affect his life beyond that. He should reassess all things he willingly subjects himself to so as to ascertain their respective relevance to his life. If despair truly does grip him, then he should at least maintain observation. He should not be so downtrodden that he cannot recognize opportunity as it passes him by. Finally, the observer should seek out a partner. This partner does not need to be romantic, but needs to accompany the observer with the explicit pact of cooperative thuggery in mind. Aside a genuine partner, the degrees by which life cools when witnessing the most egregious offenses of Clown World can allow one to maintain composure when it otherwise would not be possible. The only gift Clown World affords the observer should be his understanding of the necessity of reciprocal thuggery between himself and another, and it is with this person that Clown World becomes irrefutably funny.