The Side Show

Most of us grew up with the three-ring circus presented by Barnum and Bailey or Ringling with animal, acrobat, and crazy feats demonstrated live and in real time.  People were on tightropes high above us and animals were uncaged.  We saw parades of elephants seemingly dancing to music, and then there was the side show.  It was, as its name implies a relatively small area with a separate fee to see people or animals who were a bit off the mainstream norm: bearded ladies, etc.  As Wikipedia points out:

These might be partly a freak show exhibiting “human oddities” including “born freaks” such as midgets, giants or persons with other deformities, or “made freaks” like tattooed people, fat people or “human skeletons”- extremely thin men often “married” to the fat lady, like Isaac W. Sprague). However, for variety’s sake, the acts would also include “working acts” who would perform magic tricks or daredevil stunts.

Remember, I grabbed this from Wikipedia.  Notice the language and descriptions which are no longer acceptable.  Frankly, I am surprised Wikipedia still uses the term freak and describes these individuals as human oddities.  Think about it.  We are no longer free to use language like this, or to “make fun” of any of our human variations which the site describes as human oddities.

We have had our boat in Sarasota which was the winter home for all those animals and people in the Ringling circus.  They have a fabulous museum there commemorating all this.  The animals are gone.  The side show is gone.  This is all due to public pressure, and most people today would probably defend their demise.  But, when asked by an American magazine interviewer during the 1919 tour if the circus whether it would ever be altered by progress, Ringling responded: “It never will be changed to any great extent, because men and women will always long to be young again. There is as much chance as Mother Goose or Andersen’s Fairy Tales going out of style.”

Mother Goose is now a sexist label and fairy tales are being rewritten … see Disney’s remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs along with a host of other famous attractions.  So, we now have hypersensitivity to political correctness.  Yet, at the same time, we have a side-show of our political process which grows in size and intensity every day.

Why are we so insensitive to the political incorrectness of our politics?  Why aren’t they embarrassed when they behave so poorly?  Could it be that our politicians like the political incorrectness of their own behaviors because it is the red meat they feed to their devout lapdogs to keep them distracted from the main event in their circus?

Yep … I think so.  No … I know so!

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