Someone asked me the secret of being such a prolific writer, and I replied (in jest, natch), “I sit and think about what I’m going to write for 3 months before I write it.” Sometimes, not always. But usually I don’t work fast enough to write about trends while the trends are still relevant. I think my Pokemon Go comic was the last time I managed to be timely and topical in a comic. I don’t know how Matt Parker and Trey Stone do it week after week. Today I had this idea about creepy clowns, and it got enough traction as a Facebook status that I dared try it in this space instead of copping out and posting a photograph of my comic book.
I have a similar theory about zombies and the dehumanization of strangers in a society that’s too large and impersonal, where strangers are dangerous and individual lives have no meaning. We’re all completely jaded, many without compassion, most having learned to mistrust and possibly fear those who are the least bit different.
Even if it is a hoax or an urban legend or a guerrilla marketing tactic, there’s a reason it resonates in the collective consciousness, and I think it’s safe to say that some people are taking advantage of that fear for their own weird, personal reasons: to get attention and stay anonymous at the same time, I guess, or else because they’re violent freaks, or just want to be. The Man got a robocall from the Boy’s school explaining that there had been no threat at the school, but given that the student’s safety and comfort were paramount, anyone who showed up dressed or made up like a creepy clown would be suspended.
All of which seems totally normal in a world where kids regularly practice their active shooter drills because they know it’s entirely possible that a violent freak will shoot up their school.