No laughing matter: UCSD Professor of Social Pseudosciences Kate Pontifi says that while Musical Fruit’s appearance does indicate that coulrophobia is no longer as socially acceptable as it once was, “the days of Pennywise from Stephen King’s It and the Killer Klowns from Outer Space (top left and right) are by no means ancient history. American Horror Story’s Twisty the Clown may have been a tragic figure, but he was also a deranged murderer. And the animated series Archer recently outfitted a gang of violent thieves in evil clown masks, and made them incompetent to boot. To see these kinds of casually demonizing portrayals in shows noted for their generally accepting atmospheres just shows how far we have to go as a society in our opinion and treatment of clowns.”

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