When Pop Culture Isn’t Popular (day 9)

Today I went to the circus. I struggled with the thought of being there. I have my personal feelings and fears about animals as entertainment. But, I was there for a reason and was going to make the best of it. I watched clowns who did not beat each other with a giant mallet – encouraging. I saw jugglers, unicyclists, a roper – a little vaudeville-like, but talented people and entertaining none-the-less. The tigers appeared with a seemingly lethargic display of tricks. Even when one was not moving to his mark on command, the trainer merely repeated the gesture directing him to the pedestal. I never saw a person or training stick ever touch one of the big cats. That helped me relax a little bit.

There were some basic aerial acrobatics, but no trapeze or tight-rope walkers. There were a some dogs that jumped over a couple of hurdles, but no ponies, no bareback rider, no stilt walkers, no teeter-totter tricks.  There were no tumbling acts, no death-globe, no seltzer water spray bottles or water buckets filled with torn paper.  It wasn’t like the circus I remembered. It wasn’t bad….just different. Very different.

There was, of course, that clown that got into all sorts of trouble. He didn’t have big shoes, there was no squirting flower in his lapel and he wore no clown makeup. He had a TALL Mohawk and wore a military-style jacket. When I first saw him walking around, I didn’t even know he was part of the circus. I just thought it was an interesting choice of attire for someone to wear when coming to see the show. But he was there with his slapstick comedy – amusing for the kids. There was a moment where he swung on a large weight to Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” playing in the background. Not what I would have chosen for a children’s show, but there was nothing obscene about the funny stunt.

Then the trampoline came out. A gymnast came and bounced around a bit. A few twists, a couple tucks…..then the clown joined him. Annnndddd……we’re back to slapstick. This clown couldn’t get up on the trampoline, then got a foot stuck, then his head. I’m sure some children giggled somewhere (not the ones near me, though). At one point he ran at the trampoline to jump up and then “fell” onto the side support bar with one leg on each side.   OUCH!!!   Okay,….maybe I’m too old, maybe I’m too female….but, WHY is this funny? Many of the children there were very young and don’t even get the joke! From there I became increasingly disappointed in the act. There was light-up bra worn by the clown, superman underwear exposed as he undressed and twerking. Yes….twerking at the circus. Isn’t this supposed to be for kids??? There were inappropriate songs played, thankfully they did not play the words for the most questionable parts. But, I was very sad for what has become ‘entertaining’ in our world.

“Wrecking Ball,” “Hot in Here” and questionable uses of a big foam finger are part of pop culture. But, doesn’t that mean popular? Popular with whom?! And, why?! Full disclosure – I have not listened to either of these songs completely, nor do I intend to. I have read the lyrics or seen parts of videos. I didn’t care for them. And, yes, I saw the award show with the finger and the twerking and…..why?? Just why?? I used to enjoy taking my son to ball games and getting him a foam finger from all the different parks we visited. I’m not sure that will ever be quite the same for me. I understand the need for the circus to pull from pop culture to stay relevant. I applaud their attempt at being current. But, I think their choices were horribly misguided.

Beyond my animal rights feelings, I could not recommend this event to anyone with children. It’s a circus…..it’s sad that I have to say it’s not appropriate for kids.

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